What’s the difference between a bail bond and a surety bond?

Bail Bond vs Surety Bond

Bonds come in many forms. Two you may have heard of are bail bonds and surety bonds. There is some overlap between the two, but also important differences. Most important of all, these two bonds ARE NOT interchangeable – you will need a bail bond in some situations and a surety bond in others. This blog explores the difference. 

What is a Bail Bond?

When a judge sets a bail amount, the defendant in a criminal or civil trial may use a bail bond to pay what the judge requires. The defendant will pay around 10% of the bail amount, then provide enough collateral (property, real estate etc) to cover the remainder of the bond amount. If the defendant then fails to appear in court as required, they will forfeit the collateral provided to pay the full amount of the bail required. However, if the defendant appears in court as required, the bail bond dissolves at the conclusion of the trial and the defendant gets their collateral back. The bail bondsman keeps the 10% upfront fee.

What is a Surety Bond?

A surety bond is a broad category of bonds designed to compel the bonded party to act in certain ways by holding them financially accountable when they don’t. Surety bonds work like this: An obligee requires a principal to obtain a specific type of surety bond worth a specific amount. Then, if the principal does anything illegal under the law or prohibited under contract, the obligee may file a claim against the surety bond for damages. The surety agency that issues and backs the bond will automatically settle all valid claims in full. However, the principal must pay the surety back the amount of the settlement, plus interest and fees. 

What is the Difference? 

A bail bond is a form of surety bond that specifically addresses someone’s bail obligation to the courts. There are many other types of surety bonds covering everything from a licensed professional’s obligations under state law to a contractor’s requirements under the terms of a contract. In all cases, the bond protects one party (the obligee) from the actions of another (the principal) using an intermediary (the surety) to ensure that victims are compensated and perpetrators are held accountable. In the case of bail bonds, the victim is the court and the perpetrator is the person who fails to show up in court. Other types of surety bonds work differently, but the underlying process remains the same. If there is a meaningful difference between bail bonds and surety bonds it’s this: Not all surety bonds require the person seeking the bond to put up collateral. Some bonds require it, including bail bonds, but for many other surety bonds, you only need to pay a premium to activate bond coverage. 

How to get a bond

If you need a bail bond for court or a surety bond for some other reasons, your first step is the same: seek out a trusted surety agency. Your choice of a surety agency (or a bond bondsman for a bail bond) is the single most important decision you will make in this entire process, so be sure to move forward with one you trust. When you’re ready to get a bond, you will submit an application, agree to a credit check, provide any other documentation the surety asks for, and, in the case of bail bonds, provide collateral. Your credit will affect your ability to secure a bond and the cost of said bond. However, don’t let credit be an obstacle – take advantage of a special program offered through Viking Bond Service designed to help more people get the bond they need regardless of their credit score or financial history. 

Where to get your bond

You have lots of options when it comes to getting a bail bond or surety bond, but that’s not a good thing. Most of these agencies you will want to avoid with something as important as a bond. Don’t waste your time searching for a surety agency you can trust to put your best interests first. Contact Viking Bond instead. We are a nationwide surety agency that goes above and beyond to distinguish itself though service, commitment, and excellence. We do that by making the bonding process fast and easy, by doing everything possible to keep bonds affordable, and by forming a true partnership with everyone we serve. You’re in good hands with Viking Bond Service. Let us take the hassle, confusion, and uncertainty out of bonding – it’s our speciality. 

Viking Bond Service – Your Bond Partner

You are free to request a quote for a bond – surety or bail – at any time. It costs you nothing to get a quote, and it doesn’t obligate you to purchase the bond either. It’s just to give you good information about bonding. Get more good information by contacting Viking Bond Service, either through our contact form or by calling 1-888-278-7389.