Title insurance protects against the loss of your property when the title of your property is in question. Your property may have exchanged hands several times before your purchase and some time in the past there may have been an issue that did not present itself before your purchase. There could be unpaid real estate taxes or other liens against your property that you are not responsible for. Title insurance covers you from any legal claims and fees associated with this property.
Title insurance is required if you need a mortgage. All mortgage lenders require protection for the amount of the loan. Once you have paid the premium , your title insurance is good for the length of the loan.
Title insurance protects the lender, but doesn't protect your equity in your property. You will need an owners policy for the full value of the home. This can be added on to the lender policy for a small fee.
You should buy title insurance as soon as you and the seller sign a contract and earnest money is exchanged. There are a number of steps that must be taken to know all about the title, so it's better to get started as early as possible.
Absolutely. You may chose your own title insurance company.