STG Home Owner's Title (HOT) Policy 1996

This form should not be used if a comparable ALTA version is available. If a comparable ALTA version is available, the most current version of the ALTA form available in each state should be used, unless approved by a Stewart underwriter.

HOT

HOME OWNER'S TITLE POLICY

ISSUED BY

STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY

OWNER'S COVERAGE

This Policy applies only if the land is one-to-four family residential property or a condominium unit. This Policy is title insurance. It is not an opinion or report of your title. It is a contract of indemnity. We (Stewart Title Guaranty Company) insure you against actual loss resulting from:

Any Covered Title Risks - up to the Policy Amount and Any costs, attorneys' fees and expenses we have to pay under this Policy. We must approve the attorney before the attorney begins to work. You have the right to disapprove our choice of attorney for reasonable cause.

COVERED TITLE RISKS

This Policy covers the following title risks (Covered Title Risks) subject to the Exceptions and Exclusions, if they affect your title to the land on the Policy Date. We do not promise that there are no Covered Title Risks. We do insure you if there are Covered Title Risks. The Covered Title Risks are:

1. Someone else owns an interest in your title.

2. There is a lien on your title such as:

a mortgage or deed of trust

a judgment, tax, or special assessment, or

a charge by a homeowner's or condominium association that is due and payable.

3. There are liens on your title for labor and material furnished before the Policy Date. However, we will not cover liens for labor and material that you agreed to pay for.

4. Others have rights in your title arising out of leases, contracts or options.

5. Use of an easement or servitude on your land for the purposes granted or reserved damages your existing improvements, other than a boundary wall or fence.

6. You cannot sell, lease, or mortgage your title because it is unmarketable.

7. You are forced by court order to remove your existing improvements, other than a boundary wall or fence, because:

They extend onto adjoining land or onto any easement

They violate a restriction

They violate an existing zoning law.

8. If your use of the land for residential one-to-four family dwelling purposes in affected or impaired by reason of any lease, grant, exception or reservation of minerals or mineral rights or if your existing improvements are damaged by the future exercise of any right to use the surface of the land for extraction or development of the minerals or mineral rights. This policy does not insure against loss resulting from subsidence.

This Policy also covers the following title risk:

You do not have any legal right of access to and from the land.

OUR DUTY TO DEFEND AGAINST COURT CASES

We will defend your title in the part or parts of a court case involving a Covered Title Risk not excepted or excluded. We will pay the costs, attorneys' fees, and expenses that we incur in that defense. We will not pay for the parts of a case not involving a Covered Title Risk. You may disapprove our choice of attorney for reasonable cause.

We can end this duty to defend your title by exercising any of our options listed in Item 4 of the Conditions.
Signed under seal for the Company, but this Policy is to be valid only when it bears an authorized countersignature.

EXCLUSIONS

In addition to the Exceptions in Schedule B, we do not insure you against loss, costs, attorney's fees, and expenses resulting from these Exclusions:

 1. We do not cover loss caused by the exercise of governmental police power or the enforcement or violation of any law or government regulation, except a notice of lien recorded in the public records at Date of Policy and not released, satisfied, or rendered unenforceable. This includes building and zoning ordinances and laws and regulations concerning:

a. Land use

b. Improvements on the land

c. Land division

d. Environmental protection

This exclusion does not limit the coverage in Covered Title Risk 7.

 2. We do not cover the right to take the land by condemning it, unless:

a. a notice of exercise of the right to take fee simple appears in the public records on the Policy Date, or

b. the taking by condemnation of fee simple happened before the Policy Date and is binding on you if you bought the land without knowing of the taking.

 3. We do not cover title risks:

a. that are created, allowed, or agreed to by you.

b. that are known to you, but not to us on the Policy Date,

c. that result in no loss to you, or

d. that first affect your title after the Policy Date.

4. We do not cover the effect of failure to pay value for your title.

5. We do not cover lack of a right:

a. to any land outside the area specifically described and referred to in Item 3 of Schedule A,

b. in streets, alleys, or waterways that touch your land.

This exclusion does not limit the access coverage in the Covered Title Risks.

 6. We do not cover claims concerning the physical condition of your land or of the access to your land.

CONDITIONS

1. DEFINITIONS

a. Actual Loss. This is the difference between the value of your land without the Covered Title Risk and the value of your land with the Covered title Risk. These values are the respective values at the time you first know of the Covered title Risk.

b. Government Regulation. Any federal, state, or local law, constitutional provision, regulation, ordinance, or guideline.

c. Land. The land or condominium unit described in Schedule A and any improvements on the land that are real property.

d. Knowledge or known. Actual knowledge, not constructive knowledge or notice that may be imputed to an insured by the public records.

e. Public Records. Those records required by state law and maintained by public officials in the county where the property is located that give legal notice of matters affecting your title.

 f. Title. The ownership interest in the land, as shown in Schedule A.

 g. We, us or our. The title insurance company. This is Stewart Title Guaranty Company.

h. You, your. The insured.

2. CONTINUATION OF COVERAGE

We insure you as long as you:

a. own your Title,

b. own a mortgage from anyone who buys your title, or

c. are liable for any Title warranties you make.

We insure anyone who receives your title because of your death. We insure a valid trust you transfer the title to, if you, your spouse, your relatives and/or their spouses are the only beneficiaries of the trust. We do not insure your transferee or assignee.

3. YOUR DUTIES IF YOU MAKE A CLAIM

You must follow this process to make a claim:

a. You Must Give Us Notice of Your Claim

If anyone claims a right against your insured title, you must notify us promptly in writing. Send written notice to P.O. Box 2029, Houston, Texas 77252. Please include the Policy number shown in Schedule A, and the county where the land is.

 Our obligation to you is reduced or ended if:

(1) you fail to give prompt notice, and

(2) your failure affects our ability to dispose of or to defend you against the claim.

 Our obligation is reduced only to the extent that your failure affects our ability to dispose of or to defend you against the claim.

b. You Must Give Us Proof of Your Loss if We Request it.

 You must send to us, if we request, your signed sworn, proof of loss within 91 days of our request on a standard form supplied by us. The statement must have the following information to the best of your knowledge:

(1) the covered Title Risks which resulted in your loss,

(2) the dollar amount of your loss,
 
(3) the method you used to compute the amount of your loss, and

(4) other information we reasonably request.

c. You Must Provide Papers We Request.

We may require you to show us your records, checks, letters, contracts, and other papers that relate to your claim of loss. We may make copies of these papers. If you tell us this information is confidential, we will not disclose it to anyone else unless we reasonably believe the disclosure is necessary to administer the claim or unless the law requires us to disclose.

d. You Must Answer Questions Under Oath.

We may require you to answer questions under oath.

e. Effect of Failure to Cooperate.

Our obligation to you reduces or ends if you fail or refuse to:

(1) (a) provide a statement of loss,

(b) answer our questions under oath, or

(c) show us the papers we request, and

(2) your failure or refusal affects our ability to dispose of or to defend you against the claim.

4. OUR CHOICES WHEN YOU NOTIFY US OF A CLAIM

 After we receive your claim notice or in any other way learn of a matter for which we are liable, we can choose to do one or more of the following:

(a) Pay the claim against your title.

(b) Negotiate a settlement.

(c) Prosecute or defend a court case related to the claim.

(d) Pay you the amount required by the Policy.

(e) Cancel this Policy by paying the Policy Amount, then in force, and only those costs, attorneys' fees and expenses incurred up to that time that we are obligated to pay.

(f) Institute legal proceedings to clear title to the land.

(g) Indemnify you pursuant to the terms of the Policy.

(h) Issue a new Policy without making exception to the Covered Title Risk. If another insurer issues the new Policy to your purchaser, lender or other transferee without making exception to the Covered Title Risk, we may indemnify the other insurer.

(i) Secure a release of the Covered Title Risk.

We have no liability for delays or consequential damages because of our choice.

5. HANDLING A CLAIM OR COURT CASE

You must cooperate with us in handling any claim or court case and give us all relevant information. We must repay you only for those settlement costs, attorneys' fees and expenses that we approve in advance. When we defend or sue to clear your title, we have a right to choose the attorney. You have the right to disapprove our choice of attorney for reasonable cause. We can appeal any decision to the highest court. We do not have to pay your claim until your case is finally decided. We do not agree that the matter is a covered title Risk by defending.

6. LIMITATIONS OF OUR LIABILITY

Our liability is limited by the following:

a. We will pay up to your Actual Loss or the Policy Amount in force when you discover the claim - whichever is less.

b. If we use reasonable diligence to pursue our choice under Section 4 or take other action under this Policy after receiving notice of the covered claim against your title, we will have no further liability for the claim. If you cannot use your land because of a claim involving a Covered title Risk, you may rent reasonable substitute land. We will repay you for your actual rent until:

the cause of the claim is removed, or

we settle or pay your claim.

c. All payment we make under this Policy - except for costs, attorneys' fees and expenses - will be subtracted from your Policy Amount.

d. We may pay a mortgage holder instead of paying you. The amount paid to a mortgage holder is considered a payment to you under your Policy and will be subtracted from your Policy Amount.

e. If you do anything to affect any right of recovery or defense you may have, we can subtract from our liability the amount by which you reduced the value of that right or defense.

f. Our Policy Amount increases by the increase in the value of your title after Policy Date, unaffected by subsequent improvements to the land, as long as the Policy is in effect. Our Policy Amount will not exceed 150% of the Policy Amount stated in Schedule A.

7. TRANSFER OF YOUR RIGHTS

When we settle a claim, we have all the rights you had against any person or property related to the claim. You must transfer these rights to us when we ask, and you must not do anything to affect these rights. You must let us use your name in enforcing these rights. We will not be liable to you if we do not pursue these rights or if we do not recover any amount that might be recoverable. With the money we recover from enforcing these rights, we will pay whatever part of your loss we have not paid. We have a right to keep what is left.

8. ARBITRATION

If it is permitted under state or federal law, you or we may demand arbitration. The arbitration will be binding on both you and us. The arbitration must decide any matter in dispute between you and us.

The arbitration award may:

a. include attorneys' fees if allowed by state law,

and/or

b. be entered as a judgment in the proper court.

The arbitration shall be under the Title Insurance Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association. You may choose current Rules or Rules in existence of Policy Date. The law used in the arbitration is the law of the place where the property is located. You can get a copy of the Rules from.

9. ENTIRE CONTRACT PROVISION

This Policy and any endorsements we attach are the entire contract between you and us. Any claim you make against us must be under this Policy and is subject to its terms. We do not search or examine the title for you. This policy is not a report or examination of the title. We have no liability for negligence arising out of any search or examination of the title.

10. ATTORNEYS FEES

In the event of any litigation between you and us, the court shall award reasonable attorney's fees and costs to the prevailing party. We shall have no obligation to pay any of your attorney's fees pursuant to the litigation or claim unless and until the court shall award same to you as a prevailing party. This Section does not waive the other provisions of these Conditions.

SCHEDULE A

Policy Number:

File Number:

Policy Date:

Policy Amount:

Premium:

1. Name of Insured:

2. We insure your interest in the land covered by this Policy is fee simple.

3. Legal Description of Land:

SCHEDULE B

EXCEPTIONS

We do not cover loss, costs, attorney's fees and expenses resulting from:

1. Those taxes, charges and assessments which become due and payable subsequent to Date of Policy or which do not appear in the public records.

2. Any covenants, conditions and restrictions, whether or not appearing in the public records. This policy insures you against loss if there is a lien on your title because of a charge by a homeowner's or condominium association that is due and payable at Date of Policy or if you are forced by court order to remove your existing improvements, other than a boundary wall or fence, because they violate covenant, condition or restriction.

3. Any easement or servitude, whether or not appearing in the public records. This policy insures you against loss if use of an easement or servitude on your land for the purposes granted or reserved damages your existing improvements, other than a boundary wall or fence, or if you are forced by court order to remove your existing improvements, other than a boundary wall or fence, because they extend onto any easement or servitude.

4. Any lease, grant, exception or reservation of minerals or mineral rights, whether or not appearing in the public records. This policy insures you against loss if your use of the land for residential one-to-four family dwelling purposes is affected or impaired by reason of any lease, grant, exception or reservation of minerals or mineral rights or if your existing improvements are damaged by the future exercise of any right to use the surface of the land for extraction or development of the minerals or mineral rights. This policy does not insure against loss resulting from subsidence.

5. Any discrepancies, conflicts, or shortages in area or boundary lines, or any encroachments or protrusions or overlapping of improvements, whether or not appearing in the public records. This policy insures you against loss if use of an easement or servitude on your land for the purposes granted or reserved damages your existing improvements other than a boundary wall or fence, or if you are forced by court order to remove your existing improvements, other than a boundary wall or fence, because they extend onto adjoining land or onto any easement or servitude.

ADDENDUM TO HOME OWNER'S TITLE (HOT) POLICY

[File Number: _______________] Addendum to Policy Number: __________

SCHEDULE B (Continued)

IN ADDITION TO THE MATTERS SET FORTH ON SCHEDULE B OF THE POLICY TO WHICH THIS ADDENDUM IS ATTACHED, THIS POLICY DOES NOT INSURE AGAINST LOSS OR DAMAGE BY REASON OF THE FOLLOWING:

For issuing guidelines on this form, see Guidelines