How much does an auto dealer bond cost in Florida?
Auto dealer surety bonds (also called motor vehicle dealer bonds) are mandated by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) as part of the licensing requirements for dealerships to conduct business in the state. The FLHSMV sets the total bond amount based on the type of dealer license:
- $25,000 independent dealer bonds (used car dealers)
- $25,000 franchise dealer bonds (new car dealers)
- $25,000 mobile home dealer bonds ($50,000 bonds are required for sellers with more than five locations)
- $10,000 recreational vehicle dealer bonds ($20,000 bonds are required for sellers with more than four locations)
The surety company determines your premium rate, which is the percentage of the total bond amount you pay as the premium. Premium rates for Florida auto dealer bonds typically cost between 1% and 3% of the total bond amount.
During the application process, the surety company evaluates your personal credit, financial statements, industry experience, and licensing history. Applicants with good credit generally receive the lowest rates, however, bad credit will not prevent you from securing a Florida auto dealer bond. EZSurety still offers competitive rates to individuals with low credit scores or other financial issues.
Below are the lowest premiums EZ Surety has issued for auto dealer surety bonds in the State of Florida.
- EZ Surety has issued new car dealer bonds for premiums as low as $100.
- EZ Surety has issued used car dealer bonds for premiums as low as $225.
Why are auto dealer bonds important in Florida?
Florida auto dealer bonds provide protection for customers, creditors, and the state government. When a Florida motor vehicle dealer posts a surety bond, they provide a guarantee to the FLHSMV that they will conduct business in compliance with the conditions listed in Chapters 319 and 320 of the Florida Statutes.
If the auto dealer fails to comply with the statutes, the surety company will pay out financial losses to damaged parties up to the full bond amount. The auto dealer is liable to reimburse the surety for any damages paid under the bond.
How to get your auto dealer license in Florida
To obtain your auto dealer license in Florida, you must meet the FLHSMV licensing requirements by completing the following steps.
- Have your business location approved by a Regional Office compliance examiner
- Complete a dealer training class from an approved dealer training school
- Provide electronic fingerprinting for all dealership officers (must be completed by a service provider approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement)
- Complete and submit the licensing application (Form 86056)
- Pay the $200 fee for each location
- Provide proof of Garage Liability Insurance. Coverage must include a minimum of $25,000 single-limit liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage protection, and $10,000 coverage for personal injury protection.
- Post the required surety bond
- Provide proof of business registration and fictitious name to the Florida Division of Corporations.
- Provide a copy of your lease agreement
- Provide your sales tax number and federal employer identification number
All types of Florida auto dealer licenses are issued for a maximum of one year. The expiration dates vary based on the type of dealer license. Below are the licensing periods for each type of auto dealer license:
- Franchised motor vehicle dealer: January 1 – December 31
- Independent motor vehicle dealer: May 1 – April 30
- Mobile home dealer: October 1 – September 30
- Recreational vehicle dealer: October 1-September 30
- Wholesale motor vehicle dealer: May 1 – April 30
All licenses expire at the end of the licensing period regardless of when the license was issued. Be aware that license fees are not prorated for licenses issued near the end of the licensing period.