About Title Insurance in Pennsylvania

If you're refinancing or buying a home in Pennsylvania, this article will give you PA-specific information to help you better understand and shop for title insurance for your home purchase or refinance. To compare title insurance cost options, use our PA title company comparison tool.

Products and Services

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What title insurance products do consumers usually purchase in PA?

Home Purchase

For purchase transactions, most consumers purchase two policies:

  • ALTA Owner’s Policy (insurance for the buyer/owner of the property)
  • ALTA Loan Policy (insurance for the lender when financing is involved)

Refinance

For refinance transactions, most consumers purchase one policy:

  • ALTA Loan Policy (insurance for the lender when financing is involved)
ALTA refers to the American Land Title Association, an organization that provides coverage standards for the title insurance industry.

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What products and/or services are included with payment of the title insurance premium?

The title insurance premium usually covers the cost of the following products and services:

  • Title Insurance Policies (Owner’s and/or Loan policy)
  • Title Services (the actual work of researching the title, clearing exceptions from title, and issuing the policy)
  • Settlement/Escrow Services

Title Insurance Providers

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Who offers title insurance?

Title insurance is primarily offered by licensed title insurance companies directly, or through licensed title insurance agents that work in conjunction with one or more title insurance companies.

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Who are the licensed title insurers?

For a complete list of title insurers operating in PA, enter your transaction details here on Tridster to get a list of title insurers along with cost options in seconds.

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Who selects the title insurance company?

Home Purchase

For purchase transactions, it is customary for the buyer to choose the title provider. The buyer’s realtor may suggest a title provider, but it is ultimately the buyer’s right to choose. It is worth noting that most elements of a real estate transaction are negotiable, so who chooses the title provider and pays for title insurance and related services can be negotiated.

Refinance

For refinance transactions, the borrower selects the title provider. The mortgage company may suggest a title provider, but it is the borrower’s right to choose.

Pricing

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Does pricing vary from one title insurer to another?

Yes. Title Insurers are free to set their own rates, and some insurers set rates that vary significantly from others.

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Pennsylvania is a “rating bureau” state... what is that?

Some states allow title insurers to work together and file a single set of rates through a private consortium called a rating bureau. Pennsylvania is one such state, and its rating bureau is called the Title Insurance Rating Bureau of Pennsylvania (“TIRBOP”).

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What does buying title insurance in a “rating bureau” state mean for me as a consumer?

The member title insurers of a rating bureau all agree to offer the same price, and in effect do not compete for your business based on price. This means less price options for you. Currently, 16 of 19 title insurers licensed in PA are members of TIRBOP.

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How much of a price difference is there among the various title insurers?

The price difference can be quite significant. At Tridster, we examined the rates filed with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department for 18 licensed title insurers in PA, and found that the variance in cost between the lowest cost option and median cost option ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the particular transaction details.

Take a look at our rate calculator to see what kinds of costs you can expect for your individual transaction.

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Does pricing vary from one part of the state to another?

Generally, title insurance prices do not vary from one part of the state to another. Title insurers could choose to vary pricing within the state, but do not do so currently.

Regulation

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Are title insurance providers regulated in Pennsylvania?

All title insurers and title agents must be licensed by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. Independent attorneys who provide title search and settlement services (but not the actual title insurance) are not required to be licensed by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

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Is title insurance pricing set by the state regulator?

No. Pricing is determined by the insurers. However, all insurers must file their rates with and obtain approval from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. Independent attorneys who provide title search and settlement services (but not the actual title insurance) are exempt from this filing requirement.

Pennsylvania State Consumer Resources

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department offers helpful resources to consumers shopping for insurance. We have provided links to a few of those resources below that you may find useful as you evaluate different insurance providers and their products: