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ERISA Surety Bond Guide

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) became federal law in 1974 to protect individuals who contribute to 401(k) plans in private industries. Enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor, ERISA bonds guarantee money is available if the fiduciary mishandles retirement account funds. is legally licensed to issue ERISA surety bonds in all 50 states. No matter where you work, we can get you bonded!

What Is an ERISA Bond?

An ERISA bond is a type of fidelity bond used to insure people who participate in employee benefit plans from acts of fraud or dishonesty. They are required for all employees with administrative access to a defined benefit plan, pension fund or 401(k) plan.

ERISA fidelity bonds ensure that individuals are given plan information. It also sets participation, vesting and benefits accrual standards and creates grievance and appeal processes.

What Is a Fiduciary?

Fiduciaries are individuals who oversee and manage employee benefit plans. They are expected to work in their clients’ best interests. The fiduciary purchases the ERISA bond(s) for beneficiaries who require the bond. A 401(k) plan is the principal (insured party) and the surety company is the insurer.

How Much Does an ERISA Bond Cost?

The cost of an ERISA bond is a small percentage of the total bond amount. ERISA bonds for coverage amounts of $10,000 to $500,000 are available for instant purchase at a set price. However, ERISA fidelity bonds for coverage greater than $500,000 are subject to underwriting. 

Use the form at the top of this page to find your ERISA bond price or call now for a personalized quote.

ERISA Bond Requirements for 401(k) Plans

Each 401(k) plan fiduciary must be bonded in an amount equal to at least 10% of the amount of funds they handled in the previous year.

If the plan includes non-qualifying assets (items not held by any financial institution, including real estate and collectibles), the bond amount is either 10% of the plan assets being handled or the value of the non-qualifying assets — whichever is greater.

If you obtain a plan with more than 5% in non-qualifying assets and want a bigger bond, there are two steps to follow:

  1. Choose a bond with a value equal to the non-qualifying asset.
  2. Get a yearly bond audit by a certified public accountant.

Note: A fiduciary’s bond coverage amount must be updated as a plan’s assets increase or decrease. If your plan’s assets have recently changed in value, give us a call to determine if your ERISA bond requirements have also changed.

How to Apply for an ERISA Fidelity Bond

You can easily submit an ERISA bond application online with Have the following information ready to begin the bonding process:

  • Business name (plan sponsor)
  • Name of the plan (name of the 401(k) plan)
  • Address and contact information
  • Financial documentation (for bond coverage exceeding $500,000)

Note: Applicants with a criminal history will not be approved for ERISA bonding.

How Long Does It Take to Get an ERISA Bond?

You can get an ERISA fidelity bond within hours with We issue most ERISA bonds via email delivery on the same day as purchase. 

If you need more than $500,000 of coverage, you’ll have to provide a bit more information that will be subject to an underwriter’s review. 

Fidelity Bonds vs. Fiduciary Liability Insurance

Fiduciary liability insurance is different than an ERISA fidelity bond. The ERISA bond covers the plan, while fiduciary liability insurance covers the fiduciary.

An ERISA bond is required to protect 401(k) plan participants from blatant fraud and theft. Fiduciary liability insurance is not required but can protect plan administrators from smaller breaches of fiduciary responsibilities.