Recently, we received a call from Phillip and Hailey. Their Etobicoke home was sold without their permission.
The couple has been working overseas, and their home was left vacant. Last Christmas, they decided to lease it and make some additional income instead of leaving it empty. They hired a property manager, and the house was leased on February 1 and unexpectedly contracted for sale, closing on February 28.
Phillip sensed a problem when the property manager asked him to pay arrears owed on the property. He asked the property manager to collect them from the tenant. The property manager was shocked to discover that the house wasn’t occupied by the tenant they had contracted but by another person. To his surprise, the new “owner” had also renovated the property.
Phillip and Hailey had become victims of vendor impersonation fraud. The house they had purchased in 2013 for $665,000 sold for $1,700,000 in 2022, and fraudsters had walked away with $1.4 million. Previously fraudsters went after homes that were unencumbered, but not anymore. Phillips and Hailey had a secured line of credit balance on the property that did not deter the fraudsters.
Phillip worries that his 200% inflationary coverage limitation under his title insurance policy needs to be more ($665,000 x 200% = $1,330,000). He is underinsured by almost $400,000. He contacted his lawyer to check if he had made a mistake in underinsuring him, but he learned that wasn’t the case. Today, Chicago Title offers the Increased Policy Amount endorsement for this reason.
The meteoric rise in housing prices has made home equity a prime target for fraudsters. These fraudsters try to siphon this built-up equity by impersonating the true homeowner. They arrange for a mortgage to be placed on the title and disappear with the funds. With the Increased Policy Amount endorsement, you can protect your clients against loss from such fraudulent activities. This additional endorsement provides coverage for the property’s full market value at the time of the claim, less any improvements.
It is available for homeowners and purchasers to provide current market value in case of a valid claim. Phillip was disappointed he could not purchase it in 2013 but appreciated knowing the peace of mind is available for purchasers today.
It’s a reasonable 10% of the title insurance premium in a purchase transaction. In today’s market, existing homeowners may feel underinsured, and the Increased Policy Amount endorsement is also available for 20% (minimum of $75) of the title insurance premium.
Click on the link to allow your client to benefit from this additional residential property coverage. Learn more.
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