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Why Does A Notary Need A Surety Bond?

November 13, 2021

Notary Bonds are a requirement to be an appointed Notary Public in most states. Learn more about what these notary bonds guarantee, who they protect, how to get one and what they cost.


What is a Notary Public?


A Notary Public is someone appointed by a state to give an impartial witness or acknowledgement of the execution of legal documents. Notaries are responsible for verifying that the person signing documents is the actual individual and in some cases, appeared physically in front of them. Notaries must generally keep a journal of all documents they notarized including the individuals, dates and times. 


Becoming a Notary


Most states require that the individual apply for the position. Usually the person must pass a background check showing that they have not been convicted of any crimes involving dishonesty. In some states, notary applicants must also pass an exam showing that they know the laws and requirements of a notary. 


Notary Journal


Most states require a notary to keep a Notary Journal of all transactions. It is common to require the notary to document dates, names of signing pirates and the type of transaction notarized. Many states require notaries to keep these journals for a period of 10 years or longer and require the notary to provide the journal for examination upon request by the state. 


Types of Notaries


It is common in many states to have two different types of notary appointments, including regular notaries and electronic notaries.


Electronic Notaries


Electronic Notaries are notaries that can notarize documents online or over the internet. Unlike traditional notary services, individuals do not normally have to appear in person to have documents witnessed by an online notary. However, other types of verification are required. 


Electronic Notaries must take different training and pass different licensing requirements in many states. However, some states still maintain the same requirements for both licenses.


Notary Bonds


As part of the licensing and appointment process, most states require that notaries obtain a notary bond. The amounts of these notary bonds vary by state and range from $1,000 to $15,000.


What Does a Notary Bond Work?


Notary Bonds protect the users of the notary’s services against mistakes, errors and negligence made by the notary in performing their official duties. If a notary’s mistake negatively impacts a party, they can make a claim against the notary bond. However, the bond amount is the most the Notary Bond Company must pay. This is referred to as the Bond’s Penal Sum. Notary Bonds are considerd a type of License Bond.


The Notary Public is the Principal on the surety bond. Usually the state is listed as the Obligee on behalf of the public. This is the party that receives the benefit of the notary bond. The Surety is the bond company that provides financial backing for the Notary Bond. In exchange for payment from the Notary, the Surety provides the Notary Bond to the Obligee. 


This shows the notary public,  State and Surety Bond Company and now they work together on a notary bond. The background is a notary stamping a document.


How Do Notaries Obtain Notary Bonds?


Most notary bonds are instant issue with no credit underwriting. Notaries can go online and purchase a bond instantly with very little information. Visit our State Surety Bond Page to purchase a state specific notary bond. 


Notary Bond State Page Purchase Button


What Do Notary Bonds Cost?


The cost depends on the amount of the notary bond. However, Notary Bonds are very inexpensive. Most Notary Bonds cost about $10 – $20 per year of protection.


How Long Do Notary Bonds Last?


Notary Bonds are generally written for the same length of time as the Notary’s appointment in each state. Although this varies by state, a 4 year term is common.


Making a Claim Against a Notary Bond


Usually the best way to make a claim against the notary bond is to contact the Secretary of State in the jurisdiction that the notary services took place. The State can get in contact with the surety bond company. Make sure to have the notary’s name, date services were rendered and a description of the problem. 


Notary Bonds Require Indemnity


Claims against notary bonds are very rare. However, notary bonds require the notary to sign an indemnity agreement. This means that if the surety bond company pays a valid claim, they can seek reimbursement from the notary. Notaries can read more about indemnity here


Notary E&O Insurance


In addition to notary bonds, many notary publics also carry E&O Insurance. This insurance is usually voluntary but it provides further protection to the public in the event that the notary makes an error. A notary can purchase significantly more limits under these policies than is usually protected under a Notary Bond. 


Notary Bonds are required by most states in order to be appointed as a notary. These bonds are very easy to get and inexpensive. However, notaries should be careful to avoid claims against these bonds. Notaries can learn more about surety bonds on our Surety Bond FAQ page. Contact Axcess Surety anytime for all your Notary Bond and other Surety Bond needs. 


Other Frequently Asked Questions:


Can I Get a Notary Bond with Bad Credit?

Yes Notary Bonds are instant issue and do not require a credit check.

How Do You Obtain Notary E&O Insurance?

This coverage can be purchased with a notary bond for an additional cost.

How Do I Renew a Notary Bond?

Most states require a new Notary Bond for each appointment period so the notary bond does not renew. A new notary bond needs to be issued. In states that do allow a renewal, a continuation certificate can be issued.

Vice President at Axcess Surety
Vice President of Axcess Surety. Surety Bond and financial expert dedicated to helping businesses and individuals understand and obtain surety credit.
Josh Carson
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