What Is a Notary Bond?
A notary bond is a form of financial protection that guarantees the notary will comply to the law and fulfill their duties to protect the public from monetary loss resulting from dishonest or fraudulent acts by the notary. Most states require notaries to obtain this bond before they are able to become a notary public.
The bond is different than insurance, as it protects the public rather than the notary. If a notary is looking for coverage for themselves, they will need a Notary Errors & Omissions policy.
Why Are Notary Bonds Required?
Notaries are responsible to legally approve signatures and act as a witness on documents. Should a notary fail to properly verify identification or documentation damages could be caused to the signing parties. Notary bonds are meant to reimburse the damaged parties if the notary commits fraud or misrepresentation, causing monetary loss to the customer.
The surety company that holds the bond will pay the customer for any financial losses incurred. It is then the notaries responsibility to reimburse the surety company for the amount paid out.
Notary Bond Limits and Cost by State
Limits, duration, and cost for notary bonds vary from state to state. The bond limit ranges from $500-$25,000, the duration of commission from 4-6 years, and the cost can be anywhere between $20-$110. See the chart below for the details in each state:
|State||Bond Limit||Bond Term||Cost|
How to Get a Bond on File?
Jet will send the bond to the notary directly, which will then need to be filed with the county clerk or state’s commissioning official. For new applicants, the bond is typically filed alongside the application. For those renewing their commission, the bond needs to be filed prior to the notary commission’s end date, about a month before.
What Happens If There Is a Claim?
The surety company will investigate to see if the claim filed by the customer is valid. The surety will ask the notary questions directly as well as request records that may have an impact. If the claim is proved legitimate, the surety will pay up to the full limit of the bond. After the claim is settled, the notary is still responsible for the cost of the payout along with legal fees incurred by the surety.
If a claim is filed on the bond, the commission may be suspended until another bond is posted and/or when the bond claim has been paid back in full.
Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance may be purchased to protect the notary for cases of honest mistakes. The E&O policy will not cover fraudulent activities.