Each year, December 31 marks the renewal deadline for some surety bonds that must be renewed via continuation certificate or a new bond. Many surety providers begin contacting those with bonds expiring at the end of the year as early as 90 days in advance. If you currently have one of the following surety bonds active and have not yet renewed, you should contact your provider as soon as possible to avoid any lapse in coverage, which can lead to licensing complications.
Bonds Expiring December 31
- Georgia Liquor Broker Bond: The Department of Revenue’s Alcohol and Tobacco Division requires liquor brokers to have a $2,500 bond to guarantee brokers pay taxes, license fees, and rental charges on time.
- Illinois Vehicle Dealer Designated Agent Bond: Vehicle dealers and designated agents must have a $50,000 surety bond to ensure consumer protection from licensees who may engage in fraudulent activities.
- Indianapolis, Indiana General Contractor Bond: Prior to receiving a license in Indianapolis, contractors must obtain a $10,000 bond to hold the contractor accountable for any financial losses sustained by the city or its residents.
- Michigan Mortgage Loan Originator Bond: Mortgage loan originators must have a surety bond to comply with the Michigan Mortgage Loan Originator Licensing Act. The bond amount is not fixed and is determined by the originator’s loan volume during the previous year.
- New York Insurance Adjuster Bond: The New York Department of Financial Services requires public and independent insurance adjusters to get a $1,000 surety bond as a way of ensuring adjusters’ clients are protected in the event the adjuster fails to adhere to all relevant rules and regulations.
- Texas Mixed Beverage Gross Receipts Tax and Sales Tax Bonds: These bonds are required as a means of guaranteeing the permit holder will pay all fees required by the Texas Tax Code. The Comptroller of Public Accounts determines the bond amount based in part on the permit type, meaning applicants must verify their bond amount prior to renewing. Mixed beverage sales tax bonds ensure the permit holder pays a tax of 8.25% for each drink sold.
- Texas Continuous Sales Tax Bond: All retailers in the state of Texas are required by the Comptroller to obtain a bond before conducting business to ensure payment of sales tax. The bond amount is determined by the amount of revenue during the previous year.
I haven’t used my surety bond. Do I have to renew it?
Yes, you must renew your surety bond before it expires unless the obligee releases your bond. Obligees often require you to remain bonded for as long as you are licensed, whether or not you ever use the bond. Failure to have a bond in effect can lead to your license being suspended and eventually revoked. You will most likely have to restart the licensing process all over again if your license is revoked, including the payment of all licensing fees and completion of all application materials.
Ideally, you will never use your bond, as that would mean a claim has been filed which makes getting bonded in the future very difficult, if not impossible.
How do I renew my surety bond?
If your surety provider has not yet contacted you regarding your renewal, you should contact them as soon as possible. Although renewing a bond typically takes less time than the original application process, it is highly recommended to complete your renewal ahead of time. That way, any issues that may arise can be handled prior to the December 31 deadline.
If you have a bond that does not require underwriting, you simply need to pay your premium. At the end of your surety bond’s first term, you may be quoted for a slightly different rate than when you initially applied for the bond. This is because bonds with fixed expiration dates are often prorated for the first term.
Some bonds require underwriting before determining how much you will pay for the renewal term. When determining a premium, the underwriting process will be very similar to the initial surety bond application process, where things like credit and financial qualifications are looked at by the underwriter. The good news is that by this point you likely have at least a year of experience without any claims, meaning the underwriter may consider you to be of lower risk than the previous year. This could lead to you being quoted at a lower rate unless you were already approved at the lowest rate.
Unfortunately, the opposite also holds true. If your credit or financials are not as strong as they were in the previous year, you may find that your premium increases at renewal.
Once payment is received, all required documents will be provided to you either by mail or electronically. Many bonds only need a continuation certificate for the bond to remain in effect with the obligee, though some obligees do require a new bond. Many surety providers will be familiar with obligee renewal requirements and will provide the correct documents, but you should be familiar with the requirements as well. By knowing what the obligee expects, you can avoid potential delays in renewing your license due to incorrect documents.