State of South Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Bond

What is a South Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Bond?

In South Carolina, individuals who wish to operate as motor vehicle dealers or wholesalers must have a license. As a part of the licensing requirements, you must obtain a $30,000 South Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Bond. Without this surety bond, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will not issue you a license, and if you continue to do business, you will be operating illegally. 

Per South Carolina law, motor vehicle dealers may sell motor vehicles to the general public, other dealers, and wholesalers. Wholesalers, however, can only sell vehicles to licensed vehicle dealers and other wholesalers. Wholesalers cannot sell retail motor vehicles, meaning they cannot sell to the general public. If you operate in either capacity, you’ll need this bond to get your license.

Why do I need this bond? 

Most states require car dealers to obtain a license. They also typically list a surety bond requirement as part of the licensing process. The South Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Bond protects the public from licensed dealers and wholesalers who commit fraudulent and unethical acts. 

If a licensed dealer or wholesaler violates their licensing regulations and an individual suffers losses, the injured party can file a claim against the dealer or wholesaler’s bond. The surety company will investigate that claim and, if it is valid, compensate the injured party for their losses up to the bond amount. The surety will also go after the bonded dealer or wholesaler (called the Principal) for reimbursement for all valid claims, plus additional fees and expenses incurred by the surety. 

Understandably, surety bonding often gets confused with insurance. While the two are similar, surety bonding varies slightly in that the Principal is financially liable for repaying the surety company for fulfilled claims. 

Below are some examples of fraudulent practices that can result in a claim on a motor vehicle dealer’s bond: 

  • Tampering with an odometer or giving a false odometer statement
  • Altering or removing motor vehicle identification numbers or markings
  • Failing to disclose all necessary information when selling a vehicle
  • Selling faulty vehicles
  • Failing to adhere to the state’s established dealer license plate regulations

Who needs to have the $30,000 South Carolina Auto Dealer and Wholesaler Bond?

The Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Bond for South Carolina has a required bond amount of $30,000. Individuals or businesses applying for the following licenses must have this $30,000 bond: 

  • Retail/Dealer License
  • Wholesale License
  • Recreational Vehicle Dealer License

Please note that the $30,000 bond requirement does not apply to the following licenses, instead they must have the $15,000 bond:

  • Wholesale Auction License
  • Motorcycle Dealer License
  • Motorcycle Wholesale License 

You can find more information about the different types of dealers and their bonding requirements here.

How much does a Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Bond cost in South Carolina?

The cost of the auto dealer and wholesaler bond varies depending on the applicant’s credit and years of business experience. After the surety company analyzes your credit using a soft credit check, they will determine your premium rate. You can calculate your premium (what you pay) by multiplying your premium rate by your required bond amount. For individuals with excellent credit and significant experience, we’ve seen premium rates for the $30,000 dealer bond starting as low as 1-2%.  

Obligee information

The obligee for these motor vehicle dealer and wholesaler bonds is the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Their contact info is below: 

Mailing Address:
Attn: Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016

Street Address:
Attn: Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit
10311 Wilson Boulevard
Building C
Blythewood, SC 29016

Phone: 803-896-5000

How to get your South Carolina Wholesaler and Auto Dealer Bond

At EZ Surety Bonds, applying for your bond is quick and easy. All you have to do is fill out the short application for your bond, and we’ll reach out to you with your free quote within 24 hours. If you still have questions, you can reach out to our surety experts at or give us a call at 1-866-546-4605.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get a Motor Vehicle Dealer or Wholesaler License in South Carolina?

To get your license to operate as a motor vehicle dealer or wholesaler in South Carolina, you must complete the following steps:

– Attend a Pre-licensing Course (Required for Non-Franchise Motor Vehicle Dealers Only) 
– Pass an inspection of your business location
– If applicable, file Articles of Authorization
– Get an SC DOR Retail License
– Obtain any necessary City/County Compliance Document
– Complete a National Criminal Report
– Obtain your $30,000 surety bond
– Submit your dealer/wholesaler license application

You can find more detailed information on how to obtain your South Carolina car dealer or wholesaler license here.

What is an auto dealer bond?

An auto dealer bond, also referred to as a motor vehicle dealer or car dealer bond, is a surety bond that guarantees licensed motor vehicle dealers will adhere to the licensing regulations of their state. The bond ensures that individuals harmed by licensed dealers who commit fraudulent and illegal acts can be financially compensated for their losses by filing a claim on the dealer’s bond. The surety company that writes the dealer’s bond will hold the dealer financially responsible for reimbursing them for any valid claims paid to injured parties.

I’ve purchased my South Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Bond—now what?

Once you’ve bought your wholesaler or dealer bond, we will mail the original bond to you. Most obligees require the original bond to be filed directly with them. Some obligees may allow a copy or electronic version; however, always check your obligee’s filing requirements.

State of South Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Bond

About the bond

The South Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Bond starts at $300 plus shipping costs and fees. Fill out the form to buy your bond instantly!

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Warnock Agency

Oakwood, Georgia

The Warnock Agency Inc is located in Georgia and writes surety bonds for all 50 states and Washington D.C. Surety bonds are mailed to customers via USPS mail delivery, or overnight Fed-Ex delivery.

The Warnock Agency Inc and EZ Surety Bonds has licenses in all 50 states, and can write any bond you may need!