Surety bonds are legally binding agreements that ensure obligations are met. There are three parties involved in the contract:
The process begins when the obligee informs you or your business a surety bond is required. You must then research the type of bond that you need and its specific requirements. From there, you will apply online for the bond through a surety company or agency.
The surety company will require you to provide personal and business information such as names, addresses, social security numbers, and employee identification numbers. Their underwriters will use this information to review your financial health to assess the risk of issuing you the bond.
After your application is approved, you will receive a surety bond quote with the bond premium (which is another name for the price of the bond and which varies depending on the amount of bond coverage you applied for). If you accept the quote, you pay the premium and the surety company issues you the bond.
California requires many different surety bonds across a variety of industries. There are two primary categories for these bonds; contract bonds and commercial bonds.
Contract Surety Bonds help project owners ensure that contractors perform their work properly. There are different types of contract bonds, including performance bonds which protect the project owner from financial loss if the contractor fails to perform in accordance with the agreement.
Contract Surety Bonds are most common in the construction industry but can also be used for janitorial services, transportation, and security services.
Commercial Bonds are often related to a specific license or permit and are required by the state of California and other municipal entities to ensure businesses conform to all regulations and codes needed to protect the general public. Some of the most common bond types include:
Surety bond costs vary depending on the bond amount and the premium rate. The obligee sets the required bond amount and the surety determines your premium rate, which is the percentage of the total bond amount you pay as the premium.
Premium rates for surety bonds in California tend to range between 1% and 15%. When determining the rate of the premium, the surety evaluates your credit history, financial statements, industry experience, and licensing history. The better your financial standing, the better rate you will receive. Bad credit won't necessarily prevent you from obtaining a bond in California but it can result in higher premiums.
Below are the costs for some of the more popular surety bonds in the state of California.