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13 Jan 24

UCC Lien Insurance: Is Special Coverage Worth It?

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Last Updated on: 17th January 2024, 04:51 am

UCC Lien Insurance: Is Special Coverage Worth It?

Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien insurance is a type of policy that protects lenders against losses related to secured loans. It covers things like errors in filing paperwork that could cause you to lose your secured position. But is this special coverage really necessary? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a UCC Lien?

When a lender loans money for a big purchase like a house or car, they often ask for collateral – something valuable that they can take if the loan isn’t repaid. To make sure their right to this collateral is protected, lenders file a UCC lien. This is basically a public notice that they have a secured interest in the property.

For example, if you take out a mortgage, the lender files a lien on your house. If you stop making payments, they have the right to foreclose and take ownership. Liens give lenders security that they can get their money back if borrowers default.

Why Get Insurance?

Lenders can make mistakes filing liens that accidentally leave them unsecured. They might:
– Submit paperwork with errors
– Miss deadlines for renewing liens
– Fail to file in the right jurisdiction

If another creditor finds these errors, they could get the first position – meaning they get paid first if the borrower defaults. The original lender would lose their secured status.

UCC insurance protects lenders if they mess up the paperwork. The policy pays them for losses up to the insured amount. This guarantees they can recover the loan, despite any filing mistakes.

What Does Coverage Cost?

Premiums vary between insurers and depend on factors like:
– Loan volume – lenders with more loans pay more
– Industry – policies for auto loans cost less than commercial real estate
– Deductible – higher deductibles mean lower premiums

On average, UCC insurance costs about $5 per $1,000 of insured loans annually. So insuring a $100 million portfolio would cost around $500,000 a year.

Is it Worth the Price?

Filing errors that lead to losses are rare, but mistakes do happen. For large lenders, one loss could equal or exceed the cost of insurance. But smaller operations may decide coverage is unnecessary.

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To decide if UCC insurance makes sense, lenders should consider:
Their filing process – Do you have controls to prevent errors? Do you double-check paperwork and renewals?
Loan volume – Insuring more loans means more chance for mistakes and higher premiums.
Risk tolerance – How much of your portfolio could you self-insure if errors occurred?
Cost vs. benefit – Compare premiums to potential uninsured losses.

An imperfect filing process or high volume may make insurance worthwhile. But lenders with solid controls may decide to self-insure.

What About Borrowers?

For consumers taking out secured loans, lenders’ insurance doesn’t affect you directly. You’d still have to repay as agreed, even if the lender had errors in their paperwork.

But it does give you some extra security. You likely wouldn’t know if mistakes left your lender unsecured against default. Their insurance guarantees they can recover what you owe, preventing problems like:
– Sudden loan sales if the lender couldn’t collect
– Disruptions to promised loan terms
– Unexpected demands for extra collateral

So while UCC insurance is more for lenders’ benefit, it does add an extra layer of stability and predictability for borrowers.

The Bottom Line

UCC policies provide valuable protection for lenders, but smaller operations may find the cost outweighs the relatively minor risk. Review your portfolio, processes, and risk tolerance to decide if coverage makes sense.

For borrowers, lenders’ insurance can prevent unexpected changes if filing mistakes occur. So securing coverage is generally a good sign it plans to hold and service your loan long term.

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