Title insurance policies specifically insure a legal right of access to the insured property unless an exception to coverage is made in the commitment or policy. The “lack of right of access” covered by the ALTA policy exists when the owner may. be prevented by legal means (such as an action for trespass or injunction) from entering his property. Therefore, the issuing agent must always verify that the subject property has a legal right of access that is clearly established of record.
Physical access so that the property may be reached by ordinary passenger vehicles is not insured, but any physical impediment to access shown on the survey provided must be shown as an exception.
Clearly establishing a legal right of access has become increasingly important because access affects marketability. Additionally, many lenders and investors are requesting specific coverage for easements which provide access to the insured property. Also, a substantial number of policyholders’ claims involve access.
When a subdivision plat has been recorded in conformity with applicable laws, the lots in the subdivision have legal access over the roads depicted on the plat. In many cases the roads need not be accepted for dedication by the city or county or previously opened to
create such legal right of access. The examiner must determine that the entire subdivision has legal access to outside public roads.
If the subject property has frontage on an established public road, other than limited access highways, access may be insured.
Dedication of the public road or street must be determined in accordance with local law,custom and practice.
There is no right of access to limited access highways (Interstate system, turnpikes and local expressways) or the access ramps for a stated distance from the main traffic lanes.