Learning About Finance Topics

A Guide To Surety Bail Bonds

by Laurie Washington

If you have been approached to take out a surety bond on someone else's behalf, you may be wondering what this entails. Here is a guide to surety bonds for potential applicants. 

They Are Typically Applied For By the Payer

Surety bonds allow a third party (such as a family member or a close friend) to take responsibility for someone else's bail. Unlike many other types of bail bonds, a surety bond is typically applied for by the person who would be responsible for paying, rather than the person who is up for bail. 

Personal History is Considered

If you decide to apply for surety bail bonds, you would submit an application to each bail bonds company individually. They may consider different factors in your personal history, such as your credit history and your net worth. They may also consider whether you have a criminal record or other issues that present a risk of non-payment. 

Applicants Can Be Approved for a Blanket Amount

If you are approved for a surety bail bond, then you may be approved for a blanket amount, which means that you could apply up that amount to one or multiple people's bail. If you have two family members who were involved in the same legal incident, for instance, a surety bail bond may be a great way to take care of both people's bond with a single bond contract. 

Legal Proceedings Vary

Surety bail bonds can vary a lot in terms of their legal proceedings. The first thing that you should look at is the types of payment allowed. If you are put on the hook for paying the person's penalties (such as if they skip their court date), will the bail bond company be flexible with you about creating a payment plan or will they expect upfront payment? And what kinds of assets will they accept? Do they help you liquidate assets in order to meet the cash requirements? In many cases, you may be approved for a loan for that original blanket cash amount, so if you need to pay back the bail bonds company, you would be put on a loan system with the bank. 

Before signing a bail bonds procedure, also check to see how quickly they would act on a behavioral issue from the person who is under bail. Be sure that the penalties for each misdeed are fair, and that the company will give the person time to correct their behavior before filing heavy legal proceedings against you.