like us on facebook
follow us on twitter
google+
linkedin

Question & Answer Center

Here are some questions that are frequently asked by notaries public. For your convenience, we divided the FAQs into several categories. If an answer to your question is not listed below, please email us at members@usnotaries.com. Our members-only Help Center will research your question and respond within two business days.

Notary Liability, E/O Insurance, and Bonds: Surety Bond

Return to FAQ Index
  What is a notary surety bond?
A notary surety bond provides coverage for damages to anyone who has sustained monetary damages resulting from a notary’s misconduct or negligence.
< FAQ     ^ Back to top
  Is a notary surety bond like an insurance policy to protect me as notary public?
No. A notary surety bond is written with the expectation that the notary public will faithfully perform the duties of the office as notary public as prescribed by state laws. An insurance policy expects losses based upon calculated probabilities. A notary surety bond has the same elements as a bank’s letter of credit. The surety company guarantees its credit to a person or organization in the event that the notary fails to perform his or her notarial duties faithfully.
< FAQ     ^ Back to top
  My employer paid for my notary surety bond. Will I need to get a new notary surety bond when I resign my job?
No, because your notary surety bond is not dependent upon your employment with your employer. A notary surety bond cannot be cancelled by your employer.
< FAQ     ^ Back to top
  What are the most serious mistakes made by notaries public in their notarizations that have resulted in claims filed against their notary surety bonds?
The most serious mistake made by notaries public in the execution of their official duties is notarizing a document without the personal appearance of the signer. There are no exceptions to this very important notarial rule.
< FAQ     ^ Back to top
  What measures should I take as notary public to prevent someone from filing a claim against my notary surety bond?
Notaries public must never notarize any document without the signer personally appearing before the notary at the time of the execution of the notarization. Then, follow proper notarial procedures, especially in verifying the identity of the signer according to the state’s requirements for satisfactory evidence of identification.
< FAQ     ^ Back to top
  I received notice from my surety company that they paid out the whole amount of my surety bond. Do I have to reimburse them the $10,000 they paid out on my surety bond?
Generally, if a surety company pays a loss on a notary’s surety bond in the amount of the bond, they have met their penal limit. The exhaustion of a notary bond renders the notary surety bond void. In such a case, a notary public must obtain a replacement bond from another surety company and cease from acting as a notary public until the replacement bond is in effect. Without a replacement surety bond, a notary public must cease from acting as a notary public.
< FAQ     ^ Back to top
  I went to my bank today to use the notary, but they said they were not bonded to notarize deeds. Is this true?
If state law does not mandate a notary public to secure a notary surety bond to hold the office of notary public, then the notary could have provided you with notary services. However, even if the state does not require a surety bond, some employers have company policies that prohibit their notaries from providing notary services to the general public when the documents pertain to deeds, wills, powers of attorney, and other such legal documents.
< FAQ     ^ Back to top
  Where do I go to buy a notary surety bond?
A notary surety bond may be obtained from various insurance or bonding companies. In most states, a surety company must be licensed to do business in the state.
< FAQ     ^ Back to top
  How much does it cost to purchase a notary surety bond?
The cost of a notary surety bond may vary from company to company. The cost of a notary surety bond is generally between $50 and $100.
< FAQ     ^ Back to top
  Does a notary surety bond have to say “surety bond”?
Yes, a notary surety bond must read “surety bond.”
< FAQ     ^ Back to top
  I did not file my bond in a timely manner. What can I do so that the state will not cancel my notary commission?
Contact your state’s commissioning authority for further instructions because eligibility requirements are strictly followed by most states. If you were required to file the bond within a specific time in order to be appointed as a notary public and you failed to do so, you will likely have to start the application process all over again.
< FAQ     ^ Back to top