Washington Post shows no love for title insurance

The Washington Post ran an article in last Sunday's paper called Easing the Pain of Closing Costs. Considering closing costs pertain largely to the title insurance and escrow services, I was a little surprised to see just three sentences about choosing the right title company.

Find cheaper title insurance. Title insurance protects against challenges to your ownership, with separate coverage for your lender and for you. But as much as 80 percent of the premium goes to paying commission to a title agent. Shop around for title insurance.

I wanted to throw in my two cents in the comments section at the WaPo website but the comments section has been closed! So since I already went the trouble of cobbling some thoughts together, I'll leave them here:

Where's the love for title insurance? Three sentences is all?!

If somewhere down the road a title defect comes to light, title insurance is all a home buyer has to protect his/her real estate investment. In DC, the most common title defect is a result of fraud.

Lenders require home buyers to purchase a lender's title insurance policy, while an owner's policy is optional. So there is an opportunity to save some money there.

You can choose between standard coverage or enhanced coverage, too. Some title companies may downplay the standard option, but in many cases a standard policy is sufficient. And it's cheaper.

The main thing for home buyers to know if they have the right to choose: Home buyers choose the policy, and they can choose what title company handles the settlement. So don't let a mortgage lender or real estate agent steer you toward a title company without doing a little cost comparison of title companies on your own. Lots of companies offer online quotes. Some title companies (like Federal Title) offer extra savings just for ordering services directly from them online.

This video is a good introduction to the overall process.

... Anyway, the article represents title insurance unfairly. Yes, it can cost thousands of dollars on top of the sale price of your home (around 3-6 percent extra depending on where you live), but the peace of mind is worth it in the long run.

Here's a final thought: If closing costs are outside your budget, consider offering the seller more money for the home in exchange for him/her covering settlement and escrow fees.

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