The U.S. title-insurance industry faces increasing pressure from regulators to justify the fees charged to consumers for ensuring they have clear ownership of their homes.
For most people, title insurance is just another mysterious fee they must pay when they buy a home or refinance a mortgage. Unlike some of those fees, though, title charges aren’t negligible. They range from several hundred to several thousand dollars—and last year totaled more than $10 billion for the title industry. Lenders insist on the insurance to protect them against the possibility that a taxing authority, another creditor or a disgruntled heir may have a claim to the property, among other risks.