Pennsylvania Title Insurance

Are you planning to purchase or refinance a home in Pennsylvania? 

Get the facts about title insurance and the settlement process.

Pennsylvania Title Insurance

What is Pennsylvania Title Insurance?

For most Americans, purchasing a home is the largest financial investment they will make in their lifetime. Title insurance protects that investment should anyone or anything challenge their ownership interest in the property.

What does title insurance protect against?

Just like a vehicle, a property’s ownership is represented by a title. Before property can be transferred from seller to buyer, the title must be free and clear of any issues or defects. A title company will search public records to uncover issues like old mortgages, unpaid property taxes, municipal liens, bankruptcies or outstanding judgments against the previous owner(s). But errors or omissions in public records, forgeries, or undisclosed heirs could pose a problem down the road for the new owner- and their mortgage lender. And that’s why title insurance exists.

Title Insurance protects the lender’s security interest in the property and, if the buyer purchases an owner’s policy, covers the new owner for both monetary damages and/or the cost of a legal defense if ownership rights are ever challenged.

Is title insurance a requirement in Pennsylvania?

If you take out a mortgage loan in PA, your lender will require a title insurance policy for their protection. As the borrower, you are encouraged - but not obligated - to purchase an owner’s title policy. Keep in mind that because title policies are issued simultaneously in Pennsylvania, the lender policy will carry the majority of the cost, so the incremental cost for the added protection of an owner’s policy relatively low.

Who is supposed to order the Pennsylvania title insurance policy?

For a purchase or refinance in Pennsylvania, the buyer/borrower is entitled to shop around and select their title insurance provider. The lender and/or real estate brokerage can offer a recommendation, or promote the in-house title agency, but the buyer is under no obligation to use them. The buyer selects the title company, and authorizes them to order a title search on the property, issue the title insurance policies and conduct the closing.

When does the PA title insurance policy need to be ordered?

Once you have a signed agreement of sale, it’s time to order title insurance.

What does the settlement process involve?

Your title agent will guide you through the process, and prepare you and your transaction for the big day:

  • Search the property's title history for defects and assure that any existing liens, judgements, and property/school taxes are paid in full
  • Schedule your closing and send out notices to all parties involved
  • In collaboration with your lender, prepare, review and explain your final documents
  • Make sure deposits are received and credited
  • Prepare the deed and title to your new property
  • Attend closing and disburse proceeds
  • Record your deed and/or mortgage with the local municipality
  • Issue electronic copies of signed loan documents
  • Issue Pennsylvania title insurance policies

Because your Pennsylvania title insurance and settlement services go hand in hand, the cost for these services is included with the purchase of your title insurance. The quote you receive for your title insurance should be all inclusive and reflect these services and any related charges.

How long does the closing process take?

As a general rule, Pennsylvania buyers should plan a date 30-90 days in advance.

How much does PA title insurance cost?

Most people have heard or have just assumed that title insurance costs the same everywhere, but this is NOT the case. Although your title insurance premium is fixed (filed with and approved by the state of Pennsylvania), service and administration costs will vary according to your provider.

The one-time title insurance premium is calculated based on the transaction details. For a purchase, the cost of the Lender Policy is based on the loan amount, and the Owner’s Policy is based on the purchase price. Most lenders will also require additional coverage or policy endorsements along with a closing services letter. There are charges for these additional items.

For a refinance, any previous Owner’s Policy would remain in effect, so only a new lender policy would be required. The cost for the Lender Policy is calculated based on the loan amount.

Along with the title insurance premium and endorsements, a PA title insurance company may also charge an administrative fee for services such as preparing, notarizing and mailing documents, incoming/outgoing wire fees or a fee for conducting the closing. Additionally, your lender or agent may also charge an admin fee to prepare your transaction. These expenses will vary by provider and are negotiable.

About ALT Title Services in Pennsylvania

ALT Title is an independent title insurance and settlement services company. Our local company has been serving Pennsylvania home buyers for 19 years. Our staff has over 75 years of combined experience and has closed over 18,000 transactions, savings our clients upwards of $7.5 million in out of pocket costs.

Buyers can save up to $700 or more at the closing table when they choose ALT Title. No closing fee, no document prep fees, no courier or wire fees. And rather than pay their lender, real estate brokerage or other title company an admin fee to process your transaction, ALT would be happy to process your transaction at no additional charge.

We have a Pennsylvania real estate attorney on staff who is available for consultation should an issue arise.

Get an instant title insurance quote for your purchase or refinance in Pennsylvania using our title insurance calculator.

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We are proud to offer Title Insurance Services in the following counties in Pennsylvania: Allegheny County, Berks County, Bucks, Carbon County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County, Northampton County, Philadelphia County, Washington County.

We also help RE agents, brokers, mortgage lenders, and private sellers to close on their transactions. If you need conveyancing services in Pennsylvania, please get in touch at (215) 699-1200.