In a handful of states, you must obtain a home inspector bond before the state agency responsible for regulating home inspectors will issue you a license. Obtaining a surety bond is just one of many steps you must complete before you’re permitted to legally inspect home – but it’s an important step nonetheless, and there could be serious consequences if you don’t treat the bond requirement seriously. In this blog, we will answer the questions, what is a home inspector bond and why do you need one?
What is a Home Inspector Bond?
A home inspector bond is a mechanism that states use to help regulate the home inspection industry. When a home inspector enters into a bond agreement, he or she agrees to take financial responsibility for any damages caused to a client (someone in need of home inspection services) because of unlawful or unethical behavior. If a client believes a home inspector hasn’t “followed the rules,” the client may file a claim against the home inspector bond seeking financial compensation. The surety company that issues the bond to the home inspector and backs the bond will then launch a thorough investigation. Provided that everything outlined in the claim proves to be true, the surety will pay the claim in full. Lastly, the surety will collect the amount of the claim plus interest and fees from the home inspector – the party that triggered the claim and the party that has the financial responsibility for the claim under the terms of the bond agreement. In the simplest terms possible, a home inspector bond is a way to protect home owners/buyers/agents and hold disreputable professionals responsible for their behavior.
Who Needs a Home Inspector Bond?
At the time of writing, most states do not require a home inspector bond. That doesn’t mean home inspectors in those states don’t need a license, and in some cases they may need different types of surety bonds as well. However, only a limited number of states require a home inspector surety bond specifically. Those states include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington. If you’re unsure whether or not you need a home inspector bond, reach out to Viking Bond Service – a nationwide surety brokerage with a team of bond experts who can help you determine exactly what kinds of bond(s) you need and help you through the application and approval process. Rely on us to get it right so that your ambitions of becoming a home inspector don’t encounter unnecessary delays.
When Do You Need a Home Inspector Bond?
In states where a surety bond requirement exists, the state will not grant you a home inspector license until you can prove you have an active bond in whatever amount the regulators require. You must continue to keep that bond active for as long as you work as a licensed home inspector. If the state discovers you don’t have a bond, it will revoke your license, making it impossible to inspect homes legally. Keeping a bond active throughout your career involves renewing the bond regularly – typically every 12 months or after however long the bond agreement specifies. During renewal, the surety company will reevaluate your credit and quote you an updated bond premium price based on any changes to your credit in the preceding months. Consequently, the premium price could go up or down (or stay the same) each time you renew.
Why Do You Need a Home Inspector Bond?
Home inspections are a sensitive and important part of the real estate industry. People rely on home inspectors to give them an honest assessment of a property, and what a home inspector reveals (or doesn’t reveal) has serious consequences for all involved. States encourage home inspectors to provide upstanding services by requiring them to get a bond that will hold them responsible for trying to manipulate or exploit a client. In that way, bonds discourage negative behaviors, giving clients an added layer of confidence. Home inspector bonds also provide a way to hold unlawful inspectors accountable and ensure anyone wronged by their behavior has a way to seek justice in the form of financial compensation.
How Do You Acquire a Home Inspector Surety Bond?
It’s a relatively simple process. You will need to complete a standard bond application – with information about your background, business, and financial standing – submit to a credit check, and turn over any additional documentation the surety company asks for. You will then get a quote for the bond price (ideally within 24 hours). How much you pay depends, primarily, on your credit score and financial history. People with bad credit will likely pay more, but not drastically more – and with the right surety bond provider, they won’t be denied for a bond. Pay the premium to activate the bond, after which the surety will provide documentation to prove to the state you have the required bond.
Viking Bond Service – Home Inspector Bonds in All States
If you need a home inspector surety bond, we have everything you need. Get answers to your questions and more information about anything by calling us at 1-888-278-7389 or by using the contact form on this page. Or get the bonding process started today – take a few minutes to complete this online application and expect to get a quote back fast!