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An Overview of Title Insurance: An Interview with Jack Rattikin III, President and CEO of Rattikin Title Company

By Jack Rattikin III

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Rattikin Title Company is one of the largest independent title insurance agents in Texas. Founded in 1944 with its corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, Rattikin Title has a large, professional team with convenient office locations in Tarrant County to serve our commercial and residential client base.

In general, what is Title insurance supposed to provide for homeowners?

Title insurance is a very unique insurance policy that protects you and your lender if someone challenges the title to your property because of unknown title issues when you bought the property. Unlike other policies, title insurance protects the owner from past errors related to ownership history rather than future risks such as fire, flood or other physical damages. Title insurance doesn't guarantee you will never have a problem, but it does give you the assurance and peace of mind that the title company will be there to address a problem if there is one.

What is the difference between an owner's policy and a loan policy?

An owner's title policy protects the purchaser of the property, while the loan policy offers protection to the lender or mortgage-holder. When purchased in conjunction with an owner's policy, the cost of a loan policy is usually offered at a discounted rate.

Who is responsible for payment of the owner's policy and loan policy?

Although negotiable, it is customary for the property seller to pay for the owner's policy. It is usually the borrower/buyer who pays for the loan policy. You may have the option to purchase additional endorsements with your policy.

What are some common title claim defects/concerns that may rise from my title policy?

A thorough title search can help uncover any title defects tied to your property. Some of the common title concerns often covered by an owner's policy of title insurance includes: errors in public records, unknown liens, illegal deeds, missing heirs, undiscovered easements, boundary/survey disputes, undisclosed heirs and forgery. When you buy property, make sure you're protecting that investment with title insurance.

How long is a Title Policy in effect and do I pay an Annual Premium?

Unlike other types of insurance, the premium for your title policy is paid only once, at closing, and your policy remains in effect as long as you own the property.

What items are included in the title insurance premium rate in Texas?

Texas has an "all-inclusive" premium rate. This means that in addition to the risk covered by the title insurance company, the rate also includes the title search, examination, closing and funding the transaction, and issuance of the title policy.

What are some factors that influence the rate charged for my title insurance policy?

In Texas, the Department of Insurance is the state agency charged with oversight of title insurance. Premium rates are established by the commissioner of the Texas Department of Insurance through a public hearing process, and all title agents and companies are required to charge the same rate. The rate is based on the amount of coverage provided by the policy.

May I choose the title agent or the insurer that underwrites my title policy?

Yes. One of the few choices you have is which title company to use. You are not required to use a title company selected by the builder, real estate agent or mortgage lender.

Where can I find more information about title insurance in Texas?

The Texas Department of Insurance (http://www.tdi.texas.gov) has a variety of resources and links to help you learn not only about title insurance in Texas, but also other useful information valuable to you as a homeowner.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

When it's time to close on your property, ask your real estate professional to call Rattikin Title, a well-known and highly respected Fort Worth title company since 1944. Go to www.RattikinTitle.com for not only a complete listing of our Fort Worth title insurance offices, but also the services we provide and many other valuable resources to help you prepare for closing on your property

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