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How Can I Get a Surety Bond if I Have Bad Credit?

Poor or Lack of Credit

Typically with derogatory marks on your credit report like a bankruptcy and tax liens or judgments etc. you can expect a rate ranging from 3-10% depending on what else is listed on the report, bond amount and bond type. If you have a combination of the above you can expect a rate ranging from 5-15% of the bond limit.

Factors that can have a negative impact on the credit score include:

  • Late pays in the last three years
  • Settling a debt for less than the amount owed
  • Inquiries to obtain unsecured credit
  • Defaults
  • Late car payments
  • Accounts that have been turned over to a collection agency regardless of the amount
  • Late pays or default on a mortgage account
  • Balances that are close to the credit limit
  • Public filings including judgments, liens, or bankruptcies

Requirements Increasing

In the last year the surety bond industry has had some major increase in bond amount requirements. Bonding risk typically doesn’t change often but can happen when flurries of claims come in on one specific type of bond. This means the surety companies are paying claims out more often on these types of license’s due to unfair business practices of others with this license type.

As bond amounts are increasing you can expect to be paying more for surety bonding. Premiums will go up and underwriting guidelines will be stricter due to the higher bond limits. The impact of higher bonding limits is far reaching for small business owners with poor or lack of personal credit.

What Can I do?

  • Business owners can make an extra effort to ensure that they are fairly compensating their employees and customers and abiding by the guidelines of their respective business licenses. If there are any disputes over compensation or unfair business practices they should try to be handled personally and promptly instead of letting it go as far as a claim being placed on their bond. This should help to slow the rate of claims being made and thus hopefully slow the rate of bonding requirements and premiums from increasing .
  • I urge our applicants to get a free copy of their credit report from the various credit reporting agencies.  While they will not give you the credit score they will list the credit history that you can review the items listed on the report. You may obtain a free copy of the report(s) ordered by contacting the consumer reporting agency within sixty days. Experian, 701 Experian Parkway, PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013   (888)397-3742

Don’t Forget!

Not all surety bonds are based off of personal credit. It is dependent on the state and type of bond you are requesting. Surety1 has access to many secondary surety markets so we can get you the best quote possible. Secondary rates generally range from 5-24% of the bond amount.

Surety1 recognizes that life shows up, and not everyone has stellar credit. We encourage everyone to apply regardless of what is listed on their report and we will try our best to get you the lowest rate possible.


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