How do Surety Bonds work? [Are they the same as insurance?]
When getting a license, drafting up a contract or replacing a missing vehicle title, you may need to fulfill a Surety Bond requirement. But, what does having a bond mean and how does this type of policy differ from regular insurance?
Put simply, a Surety Bond is a mix of insurance and a line of credit. This type of policy is a contract between 3 parties.
The Obligee – This is the entity (typically the state) requiring the principal (you) to get a Surety Bond.
The Principal – The party responsible for securing a bond to submit to the obligee.
The Surety – The surety company that issues the bond to the principal.
Unlike traditional insurance, the Surety Bond serves as protection for your clients, not for you. In the event you fail to uphold your end of a contract or perform your duties unethically, a claim can be made against your bond.
The surety company will investigate any claims made against your bond. If a claim is found to be valid, they will payout up to the full bond amount to the claimant. As the principal of the bond, it is your duty to make the surety whole again if the claimant receives money for a valid claim.
The obligee enforces the Surety Bond requirement to ensure the principal performs their job duties ethically and honestly. Also, by requiring a Surety Bond, the obligee faces less risk of being financially liable for the principal’s actions.
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Which type of bond to get [And what amount is needed]
We have found the best way to determine the type of bond and bond amount one needs is to confirm with the obligee. The entity requiring you to be bonded should be able to provide you with a copy of the bond form. This ensures we quote and issue you the correct bond type to fulfill your requirement with the obligee.
There are thousands of different types of Surety Bonds available.
Below are the most common types of Surety Bond we issue for our clients.
Did you buy a car from someone, but never got the title?
Maybe you did receive a title from the seller but misplaced it before registering your vehicle.
Fortunately, most states allow the option to get a bonded title for vehicles with missing titles.
A Surety Bond will do you no good if your vehicle isn’t eligible for a bonded title. We recommend contacting your local DMV to verify your vehicle’s eligibility before buying a Surety Bond.
Our Certificate of Lost Title Bonds start at $100 and do not need to be renewed after expiration.
Please note, this bond type is unable to be canceled or refunded.
Many states require contractors to obtain a Surety Bond before they can receive their license. This requirement is to ensure you fulfill your project agreements with your clients and you don’t perform inferior work.
We strongly recommend requesting a copy of the bond form from the obligee before requesting a quote. This is due to many cities and counties having their own individual form. We want to be sure we use the correct form when quoting and issuing your bond.
These types of bonds serve as your guarantee to properly complete a project on time and on budget. A few different types of bonds fall under this category.
- Bid Bonds
- Maintenance Bonds
- Payment Bonds
- Performance Bonds
- Warranty Bonds
Have you been ordered by the court to get a Surety Bond?
We issue both Judicial Bonds and Fiduciary Bonds. Let us know the type of court bond you need to get a quote.
- Attachment Bond
- Discharge of Mechanic’s Lien Bond
- Indemnity to Sheriff Bond
- Injunction Bond
- Replevin Bond
- Guardianship Bond
- Probate Bond
- Trustee Bond
Fidelity Bonds operate differently than a true Surety Bond product. Some of the fidelity policies are in place to protect the principal. When requesting a quote, make sure the type of Fidelity Bond you choose meets your business needs.
Business Service Bond / Janitorial Bond – Protects your clients in the event your employee steals from them.
Employee Dishonesty Bond / Commercial Crime Fidelity Bond – Protects you and your business when an employee steals from you.
ERISA Bond – The U.S. Department of Labor requires administrators of employee benefit and pension plans to secure an ERISA Bond in an amount of at least 10% of the total plan funds or $1,000, whichever is more.
Freight brokers and freight carriers must purchase a $75,000 Freight Broker Surety Bond to receive their license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). We offer this bond starting as low as $938.
Many states require mortgage loan originators and loan officers to secure a Surety Bond before receiving their license or permit. If you are unsure of your mortgage license requirements, we recommend the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) website as a great resource.
A surety Bond is part of most state dealer license requirements. The necessary bond amount varies depending on the state and type of vehicles you’re selling. In most states, selling vehicles without a license is illegal.
Notary Publics in some states are required to have a Surety Bond. Many of our Notary Bonds start at $50 for a 4-year term and include errors & omissions (E&O) coverage.
Travel agents operating in the following states must purchase a Surety Bond prior to receiving their license.
How much does a Surety Bond cost?
The majority of our Surety Bonds start as low as $100. However, when creating a quote for your bond, the risk associated with your bond is considered. The size of your bond (bond amount) is factored into your cost. so, a higher premium is to be expected with a larger bond amount.
Some bond types require a credit check prior to the applicant receiving a formal quote. If this is the case for your bond, please note we only perform a soft pull when reviewing a credit score. Fortunately, a soft pull doesn’t adversely affect a credit score. Expect to pay between 1-5% of the bond amount, if approved with good credit.
Have bad credit? [We can help!]
Having bad credit doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get approved for a Surety Bond. In fact, many bond types don’t even require a credit check.
If you need a bond requiring a credit check but have bad credit, we can work with our surety partners to seek approval for your bond application. Approved applicants with non-standard credit typically receive quotes between 5-15% of the bond amount.
Is a Surety Bond refundable?
There are many reasons why the principal may no longer need their Surety Bond before it expires. As a few examples, your court case might be exonerated, your dealership may close down or the car you bought isn’t eligible for a bonded title. In any of these situations, you’re left with a Surety Bond you no longer need. Unfortunately, Surety Bonds are not always refundable.
When purchasing a Surety Bond, the bond is usually considered “fully earned” within its first term. Meaning, a refund or partial refund cannot be issued unless your bond is in its second term or later.
We recommend reviewing the policy information to determine if you are able to cancel and receive a refund for your bond prior to making a purchase. Reach out to one of our agents if you have any questions about your bond’s eligibility for a refund.
Why get quotes with Surety Solutions, A Gallagher Company
We are fluent in Surety Bonds. After you purchase your bond, we sign, seal and stamp the bond right from our office. If your bonds need to be mailed to you, we will ship it for free via regular USPS mail. Need your bond sooner? No problem. You can add expedited shipping to your order for a small additional fee at checkout.
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