Whats the Difference between Title Opinion and Title Insurance

When it comes time to choose between a Title Insurance and Title Opinion, there’s one right choice – at least according to Clay Healey, president of AIC Title Service. Which one? Healey says the difference comes down to having someone on your side versus having someone who you’re fighting.

A title opinion is written by a law firm and basically is a lawyer’s opinion as to who owns the aircraft. A title opinion works great unless ownership is challenged, for example, by a tax lien. Clay jokes, “Did you ever know one lawyer who would admit he was wrong?” Clay says he hasn’t, and therein lies the problem with a title opinion. Clay says you’ll be battling the lawyer who will dig in to maintain the accuracy of his original opinion.

On the other hand, when you secure title insurance, that insurance company is on your side. The title insurance company will work to prove you’re right which Clay sees as a tremendous, yet simple advantage. He says, “With an opinion, there’s a fight against you with lawyers. With title insurance, the insurance company will fight on your behalf.

According to Clay, some banks still require a title opinion, but he adds, “Many banks are living in an archaic time and really haven’t stepped into the right way of doing business.” He equates it to how property was previously sold. He says, “In the early 1900s, most land was transferred by lawyers until title companies began to spring up in the 1960s and 1970s. Title companies provide a faster turnover of land and turned into the preferred process of selling and buying land.” He says the same thing is happening in aviation.

When you’re buying an aircraft, choosing a title opinion or title insurance is an important decision. Educate yourself on the difference so you make the choice that’s right for your particular situation.

Want to know more about title insurance? Visit AOPA’s partner, AIC Title Service's website which is chockfull of information written in plain language in a pilot-friendly manner.