Commercial Surety Bond: What Is It?

surety bond - What is a commercial surety bond

What is a commercial surety bond?

A commercial surety bond is a written agreement by which the surety promises to pay the loss, up to the total amount of the bond, for someone who has failed to meet their legal obligations. 

A variety of agreements require different types of bonds, each one providing different levels of protection.

Assignment Bonds are used to ensure that your business can transfer correctly. If an individual or company fails to fulfill their contractual obligation after being assigned to perform duties or services under contract, then your company could suffer losses if you have not obtained an Assignment Bond prior to assigning. 

An Assignment Bond indemnifies your business from any damages suffered as a result of your company’s assignment. Each state has specific instructions on how assignments should be handled within that state’s laws. Your surety bond agency will provide you with any necessary paperwork required by your state.

Who needs a commercial surety bond?

Commercial surety bonds are a vital tool in the construction industry. These contracts ensure that a business is able to fulfill its contractual obligation to a client and provide peace of mind for owners who rely on constant construction sites. 

Commercial surety bonds are meant to cover projects that exceed $5,000 in value.  If your contractor does not have a commercial surety bond, you may want to ask if they can provide one (presuming they are able) or find another contractor who is able to fulfill their contractual obligation in case of an issue.

Contractors who are bonded do not always have a written contract with the owner of the building or property they will be working on. Although it is recommended that your contractor signs a contract before beginning work, many owners still choose to only require the bond and accept verbal agreements for performance and payment upfront. 

If you would like to protect yourself even further, you may want to ask for both a written and signed contract before agreeing to any changes in price or scope along with your commercial surety bond. This way, if there is any disagreement about what has been agreed upon between the two parties involved, you can easily refer back to either document for clarification.

When is a commercial surety bonded?

Commercial surety bonds can be required by financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and other types of lending institutions such as leasing companies. The type and amount of security that needs to be maintained varies depending upon each situation. 

Generally speaking, the level of security needed will depend upon how much money is involved and what kind of risks exist if something happens to prevent repayment by the borrower. Banks routinely examine borrowers daily for creditworthiness. Borrowers are required to sign a promissory note which describes the borrowing, the terms of repayment, and interest rate.

Any security that is not cash must be pledged with the bank’s cash office. Security agreements between banks and borrowers define types of security that can be accepted by the bank depending on its nature, whether it is personal property (such as automobiles) or real estate (buildings). 

A security agreement limits the borrower’s use of collateral to a certain purpose(s), prohibits other uses, and indicates what happens if it is disposed of without consent by the bank. If a loan is defaulted on, the bank can require that all or some of the collateral be surrendered for its benefit.

What if I don’t have a commercial surety bond?

In many states, a license is not required for propane work. However, some jurisdictions may require that you have third-party insurance coverage.

A commercial surety bond provides protection to the public by guaranteeing that a licensed contractor will conduct business in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. This type of bonding helps ensure safety through installation or repair processes and ensures consumer rights are protected throughout the process when subcontractors are included in the project(s). 

The co-applicant should be the contractor who will perform all work at the location. The contractor may not have an active license in some jurisdictions or are unable to obtain liability insurance coverage. 

 

What are the requirements to get a surety bond?

The requirements to obtain a surety bond vary based on the type of bond and the entity requesting it. For example, an applicant for a construction contract bond would need to provide proof of financial solvency and experience in the business. 

The insurance company issuing the bond will also conduct its own research on the applicant before approving coverage. On average, it takes anywhere between two days and two weeks to process surety bonds.

Most states require applicants for contractor or construction project bonds to fulfill certain qualifications, such as holding licenses or having worked with particular companies in the past. Some of these requirements are mandated by law, while others are suggested by surety companies but not required by law. Applicants also must meet minimum financial standards established by each state’s regulations.

Applicants for performance bonds must provide an employer identification number (EIN) and the amount of workers’ compensation coverage by state. For fidelity bonds, applicants need to provide information on whether they’ve ever defaulted on their contracts, including business loans or credit cards. Applicants also may be required to submit references that can attest to their expertise in their respective fields.

Surety companies often require a personal guarantee from owners, partners, or officers of the company applying for a surety bond. In addition, small businesses seeking bonding assistance from SBA-approved lenders must have at least two years of experience and meet minimum net worth requirements if their annual revenues are under $2 million.

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