Waterfront Property and Wetlands

Waterfront Property and Wetlands: Underwriting Guidelines

We must remember that we can only insure matters as reflected in the public land records and only to the extent allowed to by the laws controlling ownership of land bordering water. A survey may not be able to track a legal description along a water boundary as it may have changed. The description along the water may have been inaccurate to begin with. Ownership issues and easements as they pertain to bulkheads, piers, fill, and dry land created by accretion or reliction may not be reflected in the land records and may not be insurable interests.  


The following Schedule B exceptions are used when insuring different types of waterfront or wetlands property. Their purpose is to avoid insuring risks. This list is not exhaustive, but covers basic situations only. Situations can be encountered which require modification of these exceptions or different exceptions altogether. Some states use promulgated forms that already exclude the rights or interests that may arise because of water-related issues.  Since wetlands present extra-hazardous title risks, Agents National Title underwriting counsel must approve reports, commitments, or policies covering wetlands before they are issued.


Property abutting any body of water

Property abutting an ocean, gulf, bay, tidal river, swamp, or estuary

Property on or containing a stream or river

Beaches and shore areas

Swamps, bogs, and marshes