What is a Notary Bond & Why it Matters to Know
A notary bond (or surety bond) is insurance that protects the public if a notary unintentionally fails to fulfill, or is negligent when performing, their duties. If the client is subject to financial loss, the notary bond will protect them. A notary bond differs from E&O insurance that the notary public would purchase if looking for personal protection. Not all states require a notary to be bonded, but some will require a notary bond prior to licensing.
Check with your state laws to see what’s required. You can learn more about E&O insurance, how much it costs, and how it can protect you in our article on Notary Bond Insurance.
Where to Buy a Notary Bond?
You can purchase a notary bond through a licensed insurance company that sells surety bonds. The process is simple and will generally only require the notary’s name, address and phone number. It’s easy to find a company that does instant, electronic transactions. Once in touch with a company, they will guide you through the process to cover everything.
How Much Does a $10,000 Notary Bond Cost?
Most notary bonds offer coverage between $1,000 and $25,000+; however, the cost is usually a one-time fee of between 1% and 15% of the bond amount. Your credit rating can also determine the price, and the company you purchase from will determine the cost for you. It’s also best to check your state laws as requirements differ state-to-state.
How do I File My Notary Bond?
Here are the steps to file your bond from nationalnotary.org in their article on Errors & Omissions Insurance.
“The process varies by state, but in general, you must file your bond either with your state’s commissioning official, or the county clerk in the county in which your principal place of business is located or in which you reside. Depending upon the state, the bond is filed with the application for a commission or after the commission is issued … within a defined time window, such as 30 or 45 days, from the date you were appointed or commissioned as a Notary.”
What Happens if a Claim is Made Against Your Notary Bond?
If a claim is made against your notary bond, the surety’s claim department will investigate the claim. You will need to provide your notary journal records and other requested information per your state laws. This is one of the many reasons it is a very good idea to keep excellent records in your notary journal. Claims don’t always go through, but you will be required to pay any amount that the surety pays if it does.
This is why it’s essential to have E&O insurance to protect you against any potential public claims. If a claim is paid from your bond, your commission might be subject to suspension until you can post another bond. Check your state laws to see what applies to you.
Let’s face it, mistakes happen. And, not only is it required to be bonded and carry insurance in most states, it’s a smart move. You never know what could come up, and it’s better to be covered than have to pay out of pocket. Another great way to protect yourself is to ensure that you complete your notary journal entries with the correct information.
We cover Notary Journal must-haves and provide a link to templates in our article on Notary Journals.
if you’re starting out or looking to organize your notary business better. Claims are quite rare, so there’s no need to worry if you are following state laws and best notary practices. What we hope for is that you’re set up for success if you do happen to make a mistake. Being prepared is the best thing you can do to ensure that you’re covered in the unlikely event there is a claim filed against your bond.