According to the State, there are over 85,000 commissioned notaries in Pennsylvania. Notaries in Pennsylvania need to be licensed and obtain a Pennsylvania Notary Bond. Learn why these bonds are required, what they cost and how to purchase one online instantly.
What is a Pennsylvania Notary Bond?
A Pennsylvania Notary Bond protects the public by guaranteeing that the Notary will perform their duties faithfully and will deliver their Notary Register to the Recorder of Deeds within 30 days in the event of the Notary’s death, resignation, or disqualification.
Should the Notary fail to perform these duties, or violate the law, a claim could be made against the Pennsylvania Notary Bond. In such instances, the surety bond company writing the Notary Bond would be liable. A Pennsylvania Notary Bond protects the users of a Notary’s services and not the Notary themselves.
What is the Required Amount of a Pennsylvania Notary Bond?
The state requires that all licensed Notaries obtain a Pennsylvania Notary Bond in the amount of $10,000. It is important to note that this is the most that the surety bond company writing the bond is obligated to pay, regardless of the amount or number of claims. This amount is also referred to as the Penal Sum. However, claims against the Notary Bond do not necessarily relieve Notaries of additional liability beyond these limits.
Term of a Pennsylvania Notary Bond
A Pennsylvania Notary Bond follows the same term and the commission of the notary, which is four years. At the end of the four-year period, a new Notary Bond will need to be obtained or a continuation certificate if the Notary wishes to continue their commission as Notary.
What Do Pennsylvania Notary Bonds Cost?
Notary Bonds are inexpensive. Pennsylvania Notary Bonds can be purchased online for $50 which includes $10,000 of Errors and Omission (E&O) Insurance Coverage. This price covers the entire four-year period. Some surety bond companies offer even lower rates if the Notary is willing to complete an application. If a Notary continues their commission for another four years, an additional premium will need to be paid.
Notary E&O Insurance
Errors and Omission Insurance protects notaries from negligence while faithfully acting in their duty as notary. This insurance can provide valuable coverage for a notary if they are involved in litigation. Generally, this insurance is very low cost, and some surety bond companies include it with the Notary Bond.
How to Obtain a Pennsylvania Notary Bond
Pennsylvania Notary Bonds can be obtained online in minutes. There is no credit check required with most surety bond companies writing these bonds. Simply answer a few questions and pay the premium. However, Pennsylvania is a state that completes the Notary Bond Form for the Notary. A copy of that bond form will need to be sent in so that it can be signed and sealed by an attorney-in-fact for the surety bond company.
Recording and Filing the Notary Bond
Before performing any Notary Acts, the Pennsylvania Notary must file the Notary Bond with the Recorder of Deeds in the county where the notary maintains an office. The Notary Bond also must be filed within 45 days of the Notary’s appointment, or reappointment.
How a Pennsylvania Notary Bond Works
A Pennsylvania Notary pays a surety bond company a premium and promises to indemnify the bond company against any losses. In return, the surety bond company provides the Pennsylvania Notary Bond to the State of Pennsylvania promising to pay claims made against the Notary Bond. It is important to understand that Notary Bonds are not insurance. If the surety bond company pays a claim, they will seek to be reimbursed by the notary under the Indemnity Agreement. Notaries can read more about indemnity here.
Canceling a Pennsylvania Notary Bond
A Pennsylvania Notary Bond may be canceled by giving the State 30 days written notice. The Surety Bond Company will still be responsible for any claims that are made during the period in which the Notary Bond was active. Pennsylvania Notaries are not allowed to perform notarial acts without a valid Notary Bond. Therefore, if the Notary Bond is canceled, the Notary will need to replace it with another bond, or their commission will be suspended.
Becoming a Pennsylvania Notary
A Pennsylvania Notary Public is “An individual commissioned to perform a notarial act by the department.”
A Notarial Officer is “A notary public or other individual authorized to perform a notarial act.”
A Notarial Act is “An act, whether performed with respect to a tangible or electronic record, that a notarial officer may perform under the laws of this Commonwealth. The term includes: (1) taking an acknowledgment; (2) administering an oath or affirmation; (3) taking a verification on oath or affirmation; (4) witnessing or attesting a signature; (5) certifying or attesting a copy or deposition; and (6) noting a protest of a negotiable instrument.”
Those wishing to become a Pennsylvania Notary need to be approved. In addition to providing the Notary Bond, applicants must also:
Submit an application on a form prescribed and furnished by the Secretary of the Commonwealth accompanied by the $42 nonrefundable filing fee.
Verify that he or she has the honesty, integrity, competence and reliability to act as a notary public.
Provide proof of completion of a three-hour pre-approved notary public course within six months preceding application.
Pass the examination (for applicants who have never held notary commissions and all applicants who previously held notary commissions but whose commissions have lapsed or expired at the time their application for reappointment is received by the Department)
More can be read about becoming Pennsylvania Notary here.
Pennsylvania Notary Eligibility
To be eligible to become a Pennsylvania Notary, an individual must meet the following requirements:
Be at least 18 years of age.
Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States.
Be a resident of or have a place of employment or practice in this Commonwealth.
Be able to read and write English.
Not be disqualified to receive a commission under section 323 (relating to sanctions).
Have passed the examination required under section 322(a) (relating to examination, basic education and continuing education).
Comply with other requirements established by the department by regulation as necessary to ensure the competence, integrity and qualifications of a notary public and to insure the proper performance of notarial acts.
You can read the full Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) here.
Pennsylvania Notary Bonds are required by law for commissioned Notaries. These bonds protect the public by ensuring that Notaries comply with notary laws and provide financial protection if they do not. These notary bonds are very inexpensive and easy to obtain. They can be purchased online in a matter of minutes. Notaries may also need other surety bonds as well. Notaries can also find common questions about surety bonds, including frequently asked questions on our Surety Bond Page.