Bond renewal season is upon us. If you’re an auto dealer in Florida, you will likely receive a bond renewal notification sometime in December. Maybe this is the first time you’ve renewed a Florida motor vehicle dealer bond or maybe it’s the 40th time. Either way, you need to act fast to get the renewal process started.
Auto Dealer Bond in Florida: Why Renewals Matter
If you’re like most motor vehicle dealers in Florida, you only think about your surety bond once a year – when the renewal notice comes. Much like insurance, unless you’re having issues related to the surety bond, it’s not something that requires much time and attention. Also like insurance, a Florida motor vehicle dealer bond is something every business involved with auto sales must have to continue operating legally. To put it differently, surety bonds may not consume much of your time or attention – but they’re critical to the success of your business.
As you might remember from the early days of your auto dealership, Florida requires anyone seeking an auto dealer’s license to prove they have an auto dealer bond and to keep the bond active and in good standing for as long as they remain licensed. Failure to renew a bond on time or at all would violate the terms of licensure and, potentially, lead to a loss of license. Continuing to sell vehicles without a license would mean fines and fees at best, but it could lead to a permanent loss of license and even jail time in extreme circumstances. To make the stakes starkly clear: Missing a bond renewal could lead to the permanent end of an auto dealership.
When to Renew an Auto Dealer Bond in Florida
Going even one day without the required surety bond exposes a car dealership to risk and liability. That’s why surety agencies send out renewal notices well in advance of the surety bond’s expiration date (at least the good agencies do). Whenever that renewal notice arrives – which for many auto dealers is at the end of the year), don’t throw it in a stack of things to deal with later. Instead, start the renewal process ASAP, ideally immediately. Frankly, surety bond renewals are easy to forget about in the hustle and bustle of a business, but the risk of a missed renewal is too high to ignore. If you’re reading this now, it’s probably a good time to get the renewal process rolling.
How to Renew an Auto Dealer Bond in Florida
Renewing a surety bond works largely the same as obtaining one in the first place. But it also works differently than many people expect. Rather than paying the same premium you did the previous year or paying a standard renewal fee to keep the bond active, you will pay a new premium based on any changes to your credit or business standing over the previous 12 months.
It works like this: After receiving your surety bond renewal notice, you will fill out a standard bond application with information about your background, finances, and business interests. Anyone else with an ownership stake in the business will also need to complete an application. Then, based on the application(s) and the results of a credit check, underwriters at the surety agency will assess the risk of bonding you and calculate a custom premium price. If your credit score has declined, you will likely pay more than you did last year, but the reverse is true if your credit has improved.
Once you pay the new premium price, the Florida motor vehicle dealer bond renews for another 12 months. You will then receive a document to prove you have an active surety bond when renewing your auto dealership license. Without this document, license renewal isn’t possible.
Viking Bond Service – A Partner to Florida Auto Dealers
If you currently rely on Viking Bond Service for an auto dealer bond in Florida, expect the renewal process to be fast, simple, and straightforward. We’ve spent a long time fine-tuning this process with feedback from users. If you have a surety bond through another agency, keep in mind that you don’t have to renew – you also have the option to let the bond lapse while switching to work with a different provider.
Viking Bond Service issues every variety of auto dealer bond in Florida and works with vehicle sellers in all parts of the state. Unlike many other surety agencies, we also go above and beyond to serve bond seekers with bad credit. Count on our service-oriented team to make obtaining or renewing the exact bond you need a painless process.
If you have questions about renewing surety bonds or switching surety bond agencies, we have the answers. Contact us through the form on this page or by calling 1-888-278-7389.