Should We Make a Title Insurance Claim Over a Boundary Dispute? How?

Title insurance companies should help resolve disputes about fundamental ownership issues like property lines.

By , Attorney Yale Law School
Updated 10/09/2023

Imagine you live in a quiet rural town, with lots of land, surrounded by streams and stone walls. Then your neighbors, with whom you've otherwise had good relations, hired an attorney to send you a letter claiming that their property line is closer to your house than you thought. Maybe they even include a copy of a surveyed plan that backs up their assertion. But at your property closing, you might have gotten a surveyed plan showing that you are correct about the boundary location! Is this the type of problem your title insurance company might deal with? If so, how do you file a claim with them? We'll provide guidance here.

First, Review Your Title Insurance Policy Regarding Coverage for Boundary Line Disputes

It's worth taking a look at your title insurance policy. It might contain an exception for boundary disputes, in which case your carrier won't provide any help here.

If not, however, your neighbor's claim is the kind of issue that title insurance should cover. Title to your property is about what you own, for example, what are the dimensions of your property, and how you own it, for example, whether your ownership is subject to an easement entitling your neighbor to cross your land. A boundary dispute is more than a simple disagreement about, say, the height of a fence; it challenges the very dimensions of what you own and is thus the kind of claim against which title insurance should serve as protection.

Contact Your Title Insurance Company Sooner Rather Than Later

Because title problems tend to be technical and require highly specialized competence to understand and resolve, it often makes financial sense to bring a title company into the picture early, rather than try to litigate a title-related problem or otherwise try to resolve it yourself.

There should be no additional cost to you, since you've already paid the one-time premium.

How to File a Claim With the Title Insurance Carrier

Fortunately, although title issues can seem esoteric and abstract, filing a claim with a title insurance company is usually straightforward. National title insurance firms have printed forms available for property owners and for lenders; the same forms are usually available online as well.

In any event, your claim should include your name, together with contact information, the legal description of your property (included in the deed), any perimeter or other surveys of the property, and a summary of the title issue. Include as much supporting documentation as you can muster, for example, a copy of the title insurance policy itself. If the title issue has been raised by someone else, for example, your abutter, and has now reached the point of litigation, make sure you include a copy of the complaint and other court filings with your documentation.

Claims can ordinarily be filed by telephone, by mail, or online, depending on your title insurer.

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