Consumer Issues To Consider

 

Price of Insurance

 

Title insurance in Texas appears expensive compared to other states and relative to the services and insurance provided.  There are different theories about why this is.  Some argue it is because of the state prohibition on price competition. Title insurers claim additional services are covered by the premium in Texas.  Lending laws here also add complexity to the closing. 

 

Another factor, however, is marketing expenses toward real estate agents.  Most consumers close the property purchase at a title company recommended by their real estate agent.  Title companies therefore incur sizable marketing expenses enticing real estate agents to recommend them.  These expenses are then included in the rate set by the insurance commissioner.  OPIC believes most of these expenses should be excluded from title rates in a non-competitive market.

 

Add-On Fees

 

Title agents frequently include add-on fees at the real estate closing.  These are in addition to the already expensive title premium.  OPIC believes these fees are sometimes duplicative, excessive, or inappropriate.  Consumers should always question them. 

 

Such fees can be a legal gray area because title agents frequently handle the escrow function of real estate transactions.  Escrow fees are not regulated while title fees are.  As a result, it can be unclear which part of the transaction these fees involve.  Confronted with these fees at the closing, consumers may find disputing them is inconvenient or unfeasible.  If a fee seems unfair, or unreasonable, you can file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance.  TDI can determine if the fees are appropriate.