Consumer Frequently Asked Questions
Oneida Indian Land Claim Dispute
What is the Oneida Indian land claim dispute about?
Answer: The Federal government and the Oneida Indian Tribes have filed a lawsuit against Oneida and Madison counties alleging that property belonging to the tribes was illegally transferred to New York State under various treaties enacted during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The suit alleges that the treaties are invalid because they violated federal law. The suit was recently amended to expand the amount of land affected to more than 250,000 acres, comprising approximately 25% of Oneida County and 65% of Madison County. About 20,000 individual property owners live in the affected area.
Will my existing title insurance policy cover any possible losses resulting from the Oneida Indian land claim?
Answer: Yes, existing title insurance policies will protect you from any possible claims that result from the land claim dispute.
What type of coverage is included in a Title Insurance Policy?
Answer: Title insurance policies insure any financial loss resulting from a defect in title to a piece of real property, which existed at the time the policy is taken out. Defects in title usually arise from liens and other encumbrances that are placed on the property.
What is the difference between a "mortgage" title policy and an "owners" title policy?
Answer: A mortgage policy only covers the financial interest of the bank or the mortgage company. An owners policy covers the financial interest of the property owner.
Will the mortgage policy of title insurance protect me against losses resulting from the Indian land claim?
Answer: No. A mortgage policy is purchased to protect the lender. The lender would be covered, depending upon the policy amount or outstanding principle balance on the mortgage. However, this coverage would not extend to the owner. If you have purchased an owners policy in addition to the mortgage policy at the time you purchased your property, then you will be covered for the Oneida Indian land claim.
I am buying a new home. Will I be able to purchase an owners policy of title insurance insuring against the Oneida Indian land claim?
Answer: Yes, you will be able to purchase a standard owners title insurance policy with coverage that includes any possible claims resulting from the Oneida Indian land claim.
Will a newly purchased mortgage policy of title insurance cover the Oneida Indian land claim?
Answer: Yes, newly issued mortgage policies will also cover the insured bank or mortgage company for any possible claims resulting from the Oneida Indian land claim.
I am refinancing my home, can I purchase a mortgage policy of title insurance?
Answer: Yes, a loan policy is purchased to protect the lender. However, a loan policy will not protect your interest to the property. If you had purchased an owners policy at the time you purchased your property, then you will be covered to the full extent of your policy.
I am currently a homeowner who purchased my property many years ago and never purchased an owners policy, can I purchase an owners policy now?
Answer: Generally, title insurance companies do not issue new policies after the title has been transferred to the current owner. The reason is that companies want to avoid the possibility of insuring defects in title which the present owner may have discovered or actually created having nothing whatsoever to do with the Oneida Indian land claim dispute. However, as a result of the unique circumstances resulting from the Oneida Indian land claim, the Department is discussing this with the title industry.