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Surety Bonds Policy Information

Surety Bonds

Surety Bonds. A surety bond is a three-party contract. The parties are you or your business, known as the principal, the customer, known as the obligee, and the surety company, known as the surety.

Surety bonds exist to protect the obligee. Many companies and government agencies will only sign contracts with companies who have them, as they can:

  • Protect against financial loss in the event that promised labor is not performed.
  • Protect against liability in the event that the work causes damage.
  • Protect the obligee from financial losses in the event that one of your employees steals from them, or commits fraud.

Surety bonds are what contractors are talking about when they say they are "licensed, bonded, and insured," but they aren't the only ones who require them.

Surety bonds guarantee an almost endless variety of different contracts, judicial proceedings and licenses, and surety companies write hundreds of different types of bonds to meet these needs. These bonds fall into one of the following groups:

  • Contract bonds (construction and miscellaneous)
  • Court bonds (including fiduciary)
  • Federal bonds
  • License and permit bonds
  • Miscellaneous bonds
  • Public official bonds (including notary publics)

Surety bonds protect your business by reassuring customers they will receive your service as promised - with rates as low as $7/mo. Get a fast quote and your proof of bonding now.

Below are some answers to commonly asked surety bond questions:

What's The Difference Between Surety Bonds And Insurance?

Here's the biggest difference: business insurance exists to protect you. Surety bonds exist to protect your customer.

Insurance pays you when you take a loss so you can replace whatever you've lost. It is a two-party contract between you and the insurance company.

Surety bonds pay the customer if the customer has suffered a loss. They then require you to pay back the amount they paid to the customer. You can think of them as lines of credit that kick in when you can't complete a project, when one of your employees causes a problem, or when there's no way to avoid breaching a contract.

Even though bonding is not insurance, many insurance companies offer them.

Surety bonds and insurance policies are similar but there are some very distinct differences. Besides having different contract language, they differ in the coverage they provide. The following chart identifies the most important differences:

Surety Bond Insurance
Principal / Obligor / ContractorSimilar to liability coverage because only the actions of the party that pays the premium can trigger a claim from the obligee.
Owner / ObligeeSimilar to a first party insured or a third party claimant in that the insurance company compensates for covered loss. However, the only loss a surety contract pays is one where principal does not perform according to contract terms.
SuretyInsurance Company
Penalty / Penal Sum.Limits of Liability/Limits of Insurance.
Three-party (Tripartite) AgreementTwo-party Agreement
Term of Obligation is indefinite and lasts until the contractual obligation is complete. Cancellation is not an option.Term of Obligation is for the specified policy period or term. Cancellation and non-renewal rights are part of the policy.
What is covered? PerformanceWhat is covered? The perils or causes of loss listed in the policy or coverage form.
Is subrogation possible? The surety may subrogate against the principal for any loss paid to obligees, subcontractors, and material suppliers.Is subrogation possible? The insurance company may subrogate against only third parties.
Is indemnity available to surety for loss caused by principal/insured? Yes. The surety can pursue the officers, stockholders, corporations, and affiliated partnerships on behalf of principal.Is indemnity available to insurer caused by principal/insured? No.

Examples Of Surety Bonds

Surety Bond

Surety bonds are essentially contracts, and, like contracts, can be structured in a variety of different ways. For a surety bond glossary, visit: Surety Bond Definitions And Meanings. There are four broad categories of surety bonds that you may require:

Contract Bonds

Contract bonds are used in a wide variety of undertakings to guarantee the satisfactory completion or performance of an underlying contract between two parties. They are widely used in the fields of construction, repair, maintenance, and supplying of materials or equipment.

These bonds occasionally are demanded and prescribed by the person or firm that is awarding the contract. In most cases, they are prescribed by statute. Their general purpose is to guarantee that a contractor or supplier will fulfill the commitment according to specifications; therefore, many of these bonds are known as performance bonds.

Construction companies and contractors are the ones most likely to become the principal on this type of bond. It will typically outline the work to be performed, and the quality of the work expected. It will also outline the timeline in which the work is to be completed.

There are three primary types of construction contract bonds:

  • Bid Bonds
  • Performance Bonds
  • Labor and Payment Bonds

Different bonds and different pricing are necessary because each phase of the construction process involves a different set of risks.

Contractors never know their final construction costs until their work is complete. The longer the projected completion time, the more exposure contractors face from numerous variables that can dramatically affect the final outcome.

That is why the party who tries to assess a job's full cost of labor, materials, sub-contractors, and other job-related expenses is often referred to as an estimator. The period between the estimating stage and the final "punch list" immediately before the owner accepts the job can be very long. Various obstacles may arise along the way and this is where the protection a surety bond provides enters the equation.

The surety provides contract-bonding service with two different bonds:

  • The first bond assures that the contract will be performed.
  • The second guarantees that proper labor and material bills for contract-related work will be paid.

Many states, cities, counties, townships, and villages follow the language within the Miller Act, enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1935. This Act requires a separate Labor and Material Payment bond for federal public works and building contracts in addition to the Performance bond. The state and local contracts that follow the federal Miller Act contracts are commonly referred to as “Little Miller Act” contracts.

Private construction projects also use this dual bond approach because the separate payment bond minimizes the need to file labor and/or material liens against the owner's property that might encumber its title. While a lien for non-payment of labor and material bills cannot be attached to public property, it is considered good public policy to assure such payment. This practice avoids forcing material suppliers to add excessive price loads in order to address otherwise unsecured risks.

Performance bonds give the owner financial protection against contractor default, guarantee against defective workmanship or materials, and encourage adhering to the contract's provisions. An excellent by-product of the guarantee to pay labor and material bills is the elimination of possible expense, litigation, and embarrassment to the owner that arises from unpaid contractors' bills.

If a contractor defaults, the surety is usually responsible for obtaining bids from contractors to complete the job and awarding the remaining work to the successful bidder. The owner may want to participate in this process and the surety generally welcomes it doing so. However, if the owner is permitted to participate, it is nothing more than a courtesy because the surety has total control of the bidding process and it alone awards the contract for work.

Contract bonds rarely explain the specific liability of the contractor and the surety. The contract's obligations, the requirements of the plans and specifications, and the statutes that apply to the work are the controlling factors.

You may also see payment bonds, which warrant that you'll pay all of your subcontractors and suppliers. This is important to many customers because it protects them from getting a lien on their property in the event you fail to uphold your financial obligations.

License And Permit Bonds

Under state laws, municipal ordinances or other regulations, persons who apply for a license to engage in many types of business or professional activities are required to post a bond. These license or permit bonds are designed to indemnify the governmental agency against liability arising from its having issued a license to a business, professional person, artisan, etc.

Some license bonds are written on a broad basis, giving third parties the right to recover in their own name for loss or damage caused by breach of obligations of the principal. Most license bonds are filed for a specific term concurrent with the license that they support.

License bonds required by the federal government are generally considered as a separate section of the bonding business, under the classification federal bonds.

There are literally hundreds of License and Permit bonds. The number of these bonds increases regularly because new forms are developed after nearly every meeting of state legislatures and other legislative and regulatory bodies.

License and Permit bonds fall into three general categories:

  1. Code Observance and Good Behavior Bonds: This category of bonds applies to businesses such as plumbers, electricians, sewer installation, and retail liquor establishments. These bonds guarantee that the principal will comply with applicable health or safety laws or regulations. They are the most freely written and least hazardous bonds because their primary purpose does not involve paying money.
  2. Tax or Money Remittance Bonds: Examples of this category include gasoline tax bonds, most federal liquor, beer, and wine bonds, milk dealer bonds, and commission merchant bonds. These bonds guarantee that the principal will pay money due to others and are considered financial guarantees. Coverage is underwritten carefully because of the financial guarantee. Most sureties want to write only experienced and financially responsible applicants.
  3. Property Damage and Personal Injury Bonds: Examples in this category are blasting bonds, permit bonds for hauling or storing explosives, fireworks display bonds, and certain motor vehicle bonds. Most sureties require that the applicant be experienced and financially responsible. In many cases, they require underlying and excess liability insurance coverage as a safeguard.

An interesting characteristic of modern business is its virtually unlimited variety, ranging from simple and basic business enterprises to huge multinational corporations. Despite the many differences between the various types of businesses, each must meet two underlying requirements in order to operate:

  • A license or a permit that a federal, state, county, or municipal governmental entity issues in order to conduct operations in general and/or to exercise a special privilege.
  • A corporate Surety bond to support the license or permit.

Licenses or permits are interchangeable terms. They are required when the public interest demands regulating certain types of business in order to protect its citizens and/or public and private property. A license or permit that is issued is considered a special privilege. The licensee must justify the privilege by complying with the terms of codes or standards of conduct outlined by law, ordinance, or regulation. The codes and standards are usually designed to prevent abuse of the privilege to the detriment of others.

License and Permits bonds are issued every day for a variety of activities. As a result, a comprehensive listing of all of them is not practical. The following is a brief list of some of the more common License bonds available:

  • Adjusters
  • Airport Permits
  • Athletic Contests
  • Auctioneers
  • Automobile Dealers
  • Beauty Parlors
  • Blasting Permits
  • Bowling Alleys
  • Building Permits
  • Business Schools
  • Canneries
  • Certified Public Accountants
  • Cigar and Cigarette Manufacturers
  • Cold Storage Warehouses
  • Collection Agencies
  • Contractors (All Kinds)
  • Dealers of Motor Fuels
  • Detectives
  • Driver Schools
  • Electrical Contractors
  • Employment Agencies
  • Explosives
  • Exterminators
  • Fishing Licenses
  • Florists
  • Fruit & Vegetable Dealers
  • Funeral Directors
  • Garages
  • Garbage Collectors
  • Gasoline Filling Stations
  • General Contractors
  • Heating Contractors
  • Highway Permits
  • Horticulturists
  • House Trailer Permits
  • Insecticide Applicators
  • Insurance Agents or Brokers
  • Investigators
  • Junk Dealers
  • Laundry or Dry Cleaners
  • Liquor (all applications)
  • Livestock Auctions
  • Locksmiths
  • Masonry Contractors
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Motor Vehicle Dealers–New and Used
  • Moving Permits
  • Oil and Gas Leases and Well Drilling
  • Painters
  • Paperhangers
  • Paving Contractors
  • Photographers
  • Physicians
  • Plumbing Contractors
  • Policemen-Private
  • Private Schools
  • Processing Plants
  • Public Adjusters
  • Real Estate Brokers
  • Retail Merchants
  • Roofing Contractors
  • Secondhand Dealers
  • Securities Dealers
  • Sewer Contractors
  • Sign Hangers
  • Specialty Contractors
  • Storage Companies
  • Street Obstruction
  • Theaters
  • Towing Operators
  • Trailer Dealers
  • Transportation Brokers
  • Tree Trimmers
  • Undertakers
  • Used Car Dealers
  • Vocational Schools
  • Warehouses and Grain Elevators
  • Water Well Drilling
  • Window Cleaners
  • Wrecking Operations

Commercial Bonds

This type of bond assures the obligee that the principal will comply with any regulations required by their state licensing board. This protects the obligee from liability in the event that the principal fails to do so.

Some of the commercial bond subtypes may surprise you. For example, if your business uses a lot of electricity the electric company might require you to get a utility bond promising you'll pay all of your bills. If you're in a state that has a sales tax, the state may require a bond stating you'll pay all of your sales taxes on time.

Fidelity Bonds

This type of bond protects the customer from financial loss in the event that you or one of your employees commits fraud, or steals from them. This type of bond is a great idea for any company who is sending employees to a customer's location.

In many states, having a fidelity bond goes hand-in-hand with acquiring a business license. You'll need to check your state laws to find out if this applies to you.

Court Bonds

In almost every proceeding conducted in a court of law or equity, some form of bond is required by the court. There are two types of court bonds; fiduciary and litigation.

The court bond is usually a brief instrument that merely recites the obligation or court action being undertaken and binds the fiduciary or litigant and the surety to the court. The form of bond is usually prescribed by the court or by statute, and the actual forms are obtained from the court.

Penalty of Bond – The penalty (amount) of the bond is determined by the court. Frequently, the court demands a bond with a penalty of twice the amount of the estate being handled or the amount at risk. The bond may be written for an open penalty, with no top limit to the surety's liability, but this is unusual.

Term of Bond – Court bonds are continuous instruments and remain in force until the obligation is fulfilled or the litigation is closed. These bonds are not subject to cancellation, except with the consent of the court.

While the term of a court bond is continuous, premiums are payable annually. The initial premium is a minimum retained premium and no refund is made even if the case is closed before the end of the year. If the bond continues after the first year, a renewal premium is charged that is equivalent to the full first year's premium. If the bond terminates during the second or any subsequent year, the surety refunds the unearned premium on a pro rata basis, subject to a minimum premium for the year in which cancellation takes place.

Litigants in legal actions or court proceedings are required to have court bonds. These bonds enable them to pursue a remedy in court.

Determining whether a specific bond is an acceptable risk involves considering a number of different factors. They include (but are not limited to) the type of legal action, the details of the guarantee required, the principal's financial responsibility, the nature of the property involved, and the nature and degree of counter replevin available.

Note: Replevin is an order the court issues to allow the plaintiff to take possession of property before a final judgment is rendered.

Court bonds are guarantees that are either required by law or by a rule of the court. They must be filed in connection with litigation. They permit participants in a lawsuit to pursue certain legal remedies in court and are required of one party to an action at law for the benefit of the other party. Once they are filed, a vested interest in them is established that the obligee (the party in whose favor the bond runs, such as the party protected from loss under the bond) cannot be deprived without its consent.

For this reason, Court bonds do not have a cancellation clause or a statutory provision to release the surety. They are irrevocably binding on all parties until all parties agree to terminate them or until the court case is settled and the principal (the party whose honesty, fidelity, or ability to perform is guaranteed) performs all obligations imposed on him or her.

Court bonds protect the rights of individuals whose property is in dispute while a remedy is being pursued in court.

You're probably already familiar with the concept of a bail bond. Bail bonds are quintessential surety bonds: you make your court date, or you pay the price.

Bail bonds aren't the only type of court bond. For example, pre-existing contracts may require plaintiffs to take out this kind of bond in the event that they sue the obligee. The contract would then require the plaintiff to pay the defendant's court costs and losses if the defendant loses.

Who Requires Surety Bonds?

Surety Bond Definitions And Meanings

Large corporations, government agencies, and municipalities almost always require a surety bond before agreeing to do business with a company. Some state laws and regulations require certain business types to carry bonds as well. For example, in many states you must have commercial and fidelity surety bonds to run an auto dealership.

Sometimes it will be a good idea to set up a surety bond even if nobody requires you to have one. If you're forced to issue a refund to a client or customer having a line of credit in place to help you deal with the problem could come as a god-send.

Always Uphold Your End Of The Agreement

Some problems are unavoidable, but your goal should always be to fulfill your obligations to the letter so your customer has no cause to make a claim against the bond.

Every time a customer makes a successful claim your costs go up. Too many claims can make it impossible to get a bond, which can vastly restrict your opportunities, or even put you out of business. High-risk bonds do exist, but you'll want to avoid them if you can.

Still, surety bonds fulfill a vital function. They provide you with more protections against risk, and offer you the resources to deal with major issues as they arise. In some cases, bonds can be a lifesaver for businesses who might otherwise have gone under after something went wrong.

How Much Does A Surety Bond Cost?

The cost of the surety bond will usually be a percentage of the bond amount, and premiums usually range from 1-15% of the total bond amount.

For example, if you get quoted a 5% rate on a $10,000 bond, you will pay $500 for your surety bond.

The actual bond amount, and the percentage, will vary depending on your industry, your company's reputation and credit rating, and even the surety company's assessment of your ability to uphold your end of the agreement. The length of the bond matters, too.

How Much Does A $10,000 Surety Bond Cost?

  • Good Credit: $100 to $300 per year.
  • Average Credit: $300 to $500 per year.
  • Bad Credit: $500 to $1,000 per year.

How Much Does A $20,000 Surety Bond Cost?

  • Good Credit: $200 to $600 per year.
  • Average Credit: $600 to $1,000 per year.
  • Bad Credit: $1,000 to $2,000 per year.

How Much Does A $25,000 Surety Bond Cost?

  • Good Credit: $250 to $750 per year.
  • Average Credit: $750 to $1,250 per year.
  • Bad Credit: $1,250 to $2,500 per year.

How Much Does A $30,000 Surety Bond Cost?

  • Good Credit: $300 to $900 per year.
  • Average Credit: $900 to $1,500 per year.
  • Bad Credit: $1,250 to $2,500 per year.

How Much Does A $35,000 Surety Bond Cost?

  • Good Credit: $350 to $1,050 per year.
  • Average Credit: $1,050 to $1,750 per year.
  • Bad Credit: $1,750 to $3,500 per year.

How Much Does A $40,000 Surety Bond Cost?

  • Good Credit: $400 to $1,200 per year.
  • Average Credit: $1,200 to $2,000 per year.
  • Bad Credit: $2,000 to $4,500 per year.

How Much Does A $50,000 Surety Bond Cost?

  • Good Credit: $500 to $1,500 per year.
  • Average Credit: $1,500 to $2,500 per year.
  • Bad Credit: $2,500 to $5,000 per year.

How Much Does A $75,000 Surety Bond Cost?

  • Good Credit: $750 to $2,250 per year.
  • Average Credit: $2,250 to $3,750 per year.
  • Bad Credit: $3,750 to $7,500 per year.

How Much Does A $100,000 Surety Bond Cost?

  • Good Credit: $1,000 to $3,000 per year.
  • Average Credit: $3,000 to $5,000 per year.
  • Bad Credit: $5,000 to $10,000 per year.

How Much Does A Surety Bond Cost?

  • Good Credit: $200 to $600 per year.
  • Average Credit: $600 to $1,000 per year.
  • Bad Credit: $1,000 to $2,000 per year.

The law of large numbers is a key integral component to most primary insurance lines of coverage. This law anticipates collecting sufficient premium from all policyholders to cover the losses of the few. Pooling premiums to respond to injury or damage sustained by certain members of that pool is how insurance works.

However, that approach does not necessarily apply to corporate suretyship. The premium for any type of surety bond is not treated as an amount that can be held in reserve to make payments. On the contrary, it should be considered as a fee for the bond. When losses occur, they are paid out of the surety's assets, surplus investment income, and contingency reserve. After the surety fulfills its obligation, it assumes the principal's rights, because it has already handled the principal's financial responsibilities. Once an obligee receives a surety bond, that bond is valid, even if the principal never pays for it.

The surety bond does not have any cancellation provisions for non-payment of premium. In addition, the rights of the obligee cannot be invalidated unless the bond has an express provision that permits it.

Surety Bond Underwriting

The surety underwrites the risk based on the three Cs: Capital, Character, and Capacity. Most grantors of surety credit, commercial bank loan providers, and many other firms that extend credit as a normal business risk use these credit evaluation standards.

Many grantors of credit use a fourth C, Collateral, to support unusually hazardous surety obligations. Collateral is also routinely used with extending many commercial bank loans. The additional support that collateral provides for a credit risk does not necessarily challenge the credit worthiness of the bond principal or the party that seeks a loan. However, under contract suretyship, the requirement for collateral by standard surety markets (defined as conventional underwriters usually affiliated as members of or subscribers to the Surety and Fidelity Association of America) is highly unusual. One situation when such requests are made is when a contractor previously defaulted in performing bonded work.

Surety obligations (and contract bonds in particular) frequently depend on the officers and directors of a corporation to personally indemnify the surety against any loss it may sustain by reason of executing the bonds on behalf of a corporate principal.

The surety's and lender's respective means of recourse against default is similar. An unsecured lender has essentially the same legal remedies available to it against its defaulting borrower in civil proceedings as the surety does against its defaulting principal. In the surety business, this is known as the right of equitable subrogation. If the lender had a guarantor or co-maker supporting the borrower on its security instruments, these third parties are the equivalent to the surety's part as the guarantor to the obligee on a bond.

Surety Bonds - The Bottom Line

Bonding underwriting guidelines are complex, and will require you to provide the surety company with a great deal of information. Your insurance agent can help you navigate the process, and can help you choose the right surety bond for you.

Types Of Small Business Insurance - Requirements & Regulations

Perhaps you have the next great idea for a product or service that you know will appeal to your local area. If you've got a business, you've got risks. Unexpected events and lawsuits can wipe out a business quickly, wasting all the time and money you've invested.

Operating a business is challenging enough without having to worry about suffering a significant financial loss due to unforeseen and unplanned circumstances. Small business insurance can protect your company from some of the more common losses experienced by business owners, such as property damage, business interruption, theft, liability, and employee injury.

Purchasing the appropriate commercial insurance coverage can make the difference between going out of business after a loss or recovering with minimal business interruption and financial impairment to your company's operations.

Small Business Information

Insurance is so important to proper business function that both federal governments and state governments require companies to carry certain types. Thus, being properly insured also helps you protect your company by protecting it from government fines and penalties.

Small Business Insurance Information

In the business world, there are many risks faced by company's every day. The best way that business owners can protect themselves from these perils is by carrying the right insurance coverage.

The The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight.

Commercial insurance is particularly important for small business owners, as they stand to lose a lot more. Should a situation arise - a lawsuit, property damage, theft, etc. - small business owners could end up facing serious financial turmoil.

According to the SBA, having the right insurance plan in place can help you avoid major pitfalls. Your business insurance should offer coverage for all of your assets. It should also include liability and casual coverage.

Types Of Small Business Insurance

Choosing the right type of coverage is absolutely vital. You've got plenty of options. Some you'll need. Some you won't. You should know what's available. Once you look over your options you'll need to conduct a thorough risk assessment. As you evaluate each type of insurance, ask yourself:

  • What type of business am I running?
  • What are common risks associated with this industry?
  • Does this type of insurance cover a situation that could feasibly arise during the normal course of doing business?
  • Does my state require me to carry this type of insurance?
  • Does my lender or do any of my investors require me to carry this type of policy?

A licensed insurance agent or broker in your state can help you determine what kinds of coverages are prudent for your business types. If you find one licensed to sell multiple policies from multiple companies (independent agents) that person can often help you get the best insurance rates, too. Following is some information on some of the most common small business insurance policies:

Business Insurance Policy Type What Is Covered?
General Liability InsuranceWhat is covered under commercial general liability insurance? It steps in to pay claims when you lose a lawsuit with an injured customer, employee, or vendor. The injury could be physical, or it could be a financial loss based on advertising practices.
Workers Compensation InsuranceWhat is covered under workers compensation insurance? This type of insurance protects a business and its owner(s) from claims by employees who suffer a work-related injury, illness or disease. Workers comp typically provides the injured employee with benefits to cover medical expenses, a portion of his/her lost wages, rehabilitation costs if applicable, and permanent partial or permanent total disability.
Product Liability InsuranceWhat is covered under product liability insurance? I pays an injured party's settlement or lawsuit claim arising from a defective product. These are usually caused by design defects, manufacturing defects, or a failure to provide adequate warning or instructions as to how to safely use the product.
Commercial Property InsuranceWhat is covered under business property insurance? General liability policies don't cover damages to your business property. That's what commercial property insurance is for. It protects all of the physical parts of your business: your building, your inventory, and your equipment, giving you the funds you need to replace them in the event of a disaster. If you work from home, you might consider a Home Based Business Insurance policy instead.
Business Owners Policy (BOP)What is covered under a business owners policy (BOP)? This is a policy designed for small, low-risk businesses. It simplifies the basic insurance purchase process by combining general liability policies with business income and commercial property insurance.
Commercial Auto InsuranceWhat is covered under business auto insurance? This type of insurance covers automobiles being used for business purposes. This could include a fleet of business-only vehicles or a single company car. In some cases it might cover your car or your employee's car while they're being used for business. These policies have much higher limits, ensuring you can cover your costs if one of these vehicles gets into an accident.
Commercial Umbrella PoliciesWhat is covered under commercial umbrella insurance? This type of policy is a sort of "gap" insurance. It covers your liability in the event that a court verdict or settlement exceeds your general liability policy limits.
Liquor Liability InsuranceWhat is covered under liquor liability insurance? It covers bodily injury or property damage caused by an intoxicated person who was served liquor by the policy holder.
Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions)What is covered under professional liability insurance? This type of business insurance is also known as malpractice oe E&O. It covers the damages that can arise from major mistakes, especially in high-stakes professions where mistakes can be devastating.
Surety BondWhat is covered under surety bonds? Bonding is a contract where one party, the SURETY (who assures the obligee that the principal can perform the task), guarantees the performance of certain obligations of a second party, the PRINCIPAL (the contractor or business who will perform the contractual obligation), to a third party, the OBLIGEE (the project owner who is the recipient of an obligation).

Who Needs General Liability Insurance? - Virtually every business. A single lawsuit or settlement could bankrupt your business five times over. You might also need this policy to win business. Many companies and government agencies won't do business with your company until you can produce proof that you've obtained one of these policies.

Business Insurance Required by Law
Small Business Commercial Insurance

If you have any employees most states will require you to carry worker's compensation and unemployment insurance. Some states require you to insure yourself even if you are the only employee working in the business.

Your insurance agent can help you check applicable state laws so you can bring your business into compliance.

Other Types Of Small Business Insurance

There are dozens of other, more specialized forms of small business insurance capable of covering specific problems and risks. These forms of insurance include:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Commercial Flood Insurance
  • Contractor's Insurance
  • Cyber Liability
  • Data Breach
  • Directors and Officers
  • Employment Practices Liability
  • Environmental or Pollution Liability
  • Management Liability
  • Sexual Misconduct Liability

Whether you need any or all of these policies will depend on the results of your risk assessment. For example, you probably don't need an environmental or pollution policy if you're running an IT company out of a leased office, but you would need data breach and cyber liability policies to fully protect your business.

Also learn about small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including small business commercial insurance costs. Call us (855) 767-7828.

Additional Resources For Fidelity & Surety Bonding

Learn about surety and fidelity bonds which are types of insurance that are used to protect against damage or loss in commercial transactions.

What's The Difference Between Insurance And Suretyship (Bonds)?

It is true that a bond, like an insurance policy, is purchased to protect against loss, there are certain differences between the principles of insurance and suretyship:

An insurance policy creates a contract between two parties— the insurance company and the insured.

A surety bond creates a contract among three parties - the principal, the obligee and the surety.

The purpose of a bond is to guarantee the performance by one party of an obligation to another. A bond, then, is always a three-party agreement involving the following parties:

Principal - The principal is the entity that undertakes to perform, fulfill a contract, or meet an obligation. This could be a contractor who contracts with a real estate corporation to erect a building according to specifications, or a public official who promises the people of a city that he will perform the duties of his office faithfully.

It could also be a guardian who pledges to the court that she will guard the property belonging to a minor and use this money solely for the benefit of the minor.

It is even an employee who, by accepting employment, inferentially agrees with the employer that he will perform the duties of employment honestly.

Obligee - The obligee expects the principal to perform as promised. An obligee could be the real estate corporation that hires a contractor to erect a building, the city that appoints or elects a public official, the minor who expects her interests to be protected by a guardian, or the employer who looks to an employee for honest performance of duties.

Surety - The surety guarantees that the principal will perform for the obligee as promised. While a surety may be a person, in this topic we are discussing the insurance company or bonding company as a surety. If the principal fails in the promised performance, the surety will fulfill the principal’s obligation or indemnify the obligee.

Surety bonds pay money when the principal does not meet its obligations. There are two distinct divisions of bonding within surety bonding:

  1. The primary bonds are called surety and guarantee performance such as bid bonds and construction contract bonds, a host of court bonds covering fiduciaries, as well as litigation, license and permit bonds, and other miscellaneous bonds.
  2. The second division is called fidelity bonds. These bonds guarantee the honesty of employees.

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