Information regarding the different types of bonds
- Bail Bonds (Criminal Court Appearance Bonds)
- Bonded Title (Certificate of Title Surety Bond)
View list of:
- Common Types of Construction Contract Bonds
- License and Permit Bonds
- Information and Assistance Provided by Governmental Entities
- Surety Companies and Agents
View list of:
- Statutes Regulating Certain Bond Requirements for Federal, Public, and Private Work
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Other Popular Links
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) does not regulate forms, rules or rates for bail bonds. Chapter 2301, Subchapter A (formerly Article 5.13-2), Texas Insurance Code, specifically exempts from regulation criminal court appearance bonds.
Occupations Code, Chapter 1704 - Regulation of Bail Bond Sureties, requires mandatory creation of a Bail Bond Board (board) in counties with a population of 110,000 or more and discretionary creation of a board in a county with a population of less than 110,000. The board is responsible for the licensing of bail bond sureties and agents regardless of whether the agents use their nonexempt real property as security or act on behalf of a corporate surety (insurance company).
If bail bond sureties operate in counties that do not have a Bail Bond Board, the individual must obtain a general lines property and casualty agent license from TDI to represent a corporate surety.
Specific requirements on the execution of a bail bond can be found in the Code of Criminal Procedures, Chapter 17 - Bail. The procedures for arranging bail are usually the jurisdiction of the county sheriff.
TDI handles complaints that involve forfeiture or refund of collateral for bail bonds involving a corporate surety. Most other complaints or questions involving bail bonds should be directed to the appropriate authority, either the Bail Bond Board or the County Sheriff. Get help with an insurance complaint (Automobile / Homeowners / Commercial Property Insurance Complaint Forms).
You can access information for specific counties by visiting Texas Online (A-Z list - search bond). Unfortunately, not all counties have a web site. Two good examples of counties with web sites are Bexar County, which has a site for Bexar County Bail Bond Board, and Burnet County that has the explanation "The sheriff also sets bail bond policy for the county." If there is some doubt regarding whom the best contact in a county would be, contact either the County Attorney's Office or the County Sheriff for assistance.
Sources For Bail Bonds
One good source for finding a bail bond agent is the "Bail Bonds" listing in the yellow pages. Most insurance companies and insurance agents do not offer this service, and thus, may not be listed under the "insurance" or "bonds surety & fidelity" section of the yellow pages.
Licensed Bail Bond Surety List - In a county that has a Bail Bond Board, the board is required to post in each court having criminal jurisdiction in the county, and shall provide to each local official responsible for the detention of prisoners in the county, a current list of each licensed bail bond surety and each licensed agent of a corporate surety in the county. A list of each licensed bail bond surety and each licensed agent of a corporate surety in a county must be displayed at each location where prisoners are examined, processed, or confined.
Some Common Terms Defined
Bail - is the security given by the accused that he will appear and answer before the proper court the accusation brought against him, and includes a bail bond or a personal bond (Chapter 17)
Bail bond - means a cash deposit, or similar deposit or written undertaking, or a bond or other security, given to guarantee the appearance of a defendant in a criminal case (Chapter 1704)
Bail bond surety - means a person who: (A) executes a bail bond as a surety or cosurety for another person; or (B) for compensation deposits cash to ensure the appearance in court of a person accused of a crime (Chapter 1704)
Bonding business - means the solicitation, negotiation, or execution of a bail bond by a bail bond surety
Bonded Title (Certificate of Title Surety Bond)
"Bonded Title" is a term commonly used when an individual or firm has obtained a Certificate of Title Surety Bond in order to register a motor vehicle. The Transportation Code §501.053 allows for a bond in the amount of one and one-half times the value of the vehicle, that is effective for a period of three years, this accompanies the documents presented to the County Tax Assessor-Collector, to be filed with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) to obtain a motor vehicle title when the previous owner of the motor vehicle does not have possession of the original title.
Information regarding flood damaged vehicles may be found on the TxDMV web site at:
Revoked (Canceled) TX Titles
Although there are valid reasons why a title may not be readily available, you are encouraged to use caution and review the above material if you are considering purchasing a vehicle to which the owner is not in possession of the title at the time you are negotiating the purchase.
The following insurance agents and surety companies have expressed an interest in providing Certificate of Title Surety Bonds.
View the list of Bonded Title - Agents
View the list of Bonded Title - Surety Companies
Common Types of Construction Contract Bonds
A Bid or Proposal Bond is often required when construction contracts are to be let out for bids. The successful bidder is expected to furnish the necessary Performance and/or Payment Bond in order to start work on the project. Default results when the lowest bidder does not obtain the Performance and/or Payment Bond to enter into the contract. The coverage under the Bid and Proposal Bond is limited to the difference between the successful bid and the next low bidder that can qualify for the contract, subject to the limit of the bond.
A Performance Bond is required in most instances:
- For a federal construction project under The Miller Act (40 U.S.C., Sections 3131-3134);
- Public work for Texas governmental entities (when the contract is in excess of $100,000) under Government Code, Chapter 2253;
- An owner may also request a Performance Bond for private work. The Performance Bond coverage guarantees that the principal will faithfully perform the terms and conditions of the written contract.
Payment or Labor and Material Bonds
A Payment or Labor and Material Bond is also required for:
- Federal construction projects (The Miller Act (40 U.S.C., Sections 3131-3134));
- When a contract is in excess of $25,000 for public work (Government Code, Chapter 2253);
- Private work under Property Code, Chapter 53. The coverage provided by the Payment or Labor and Materials Bond guarantees that the contractor will pay for labor and material used to complete the project that is the subject of the contract. When both a Performance Bond and Payment Bond are required, they are issued for limits in the amount of the contract.
Maintenance Bonds or Maintenance Guarantees for a term of up to 12 months are normally included with the Performance Bonds. Separate Maintenance Bonds may also be executed where no Performance Bond is required. The coverage provided by a Maintenance Bond is a guarantee against defective workmanship and materials.
License and Permit Bonds
License and permit bonds are bonds required by state law, municipal ordinance or regulation that is required to be filed prior to being granted a license or engaging in a particular activity. You may find some information including permit and license applications by visiting the Texas.gov website at texas.gov. Some common surety bonds that may be required by statute in order to obtain a license or a permit from a state agency, or to meet financial responsibility, are listed below with a link provided for additional information.
Athlete Agent Surety Bond - Chapter 2051, Occupations Code. For information, an application for license, or a copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: www.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml
Automobile Club Services Act Surety Bond - §§722.001 et seq., Transportation Code. For information, an application for license, or a copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: www.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml
Credit Services Organization Bond - Chapter 393, Finance Code. For information, an application for license or a copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: www.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml
Certificate of Title Surety Bond - see "Bonded Title" in this section.
Commercial Storage, Reclamation, Treatment or Disposal Facility Bond - Chapter 91, Natural Resources Code. For applications or a copy of the surety bond contact the Railroad Commission of Texas: www.rrc.texas.gov/
Continuous Surety Bond for a License under the Texas Manufactured Housing Standards Act - Chapter 1201, Occupations Code. For information, an application for license or a copy of the surety bond contact the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs: www.tdhca.state.tx.us
Course Provider Bond, Driver Education School Bond or Driver Education Branch School Bond - Chapter 1001, Education Code. For information, applications or copies of the required surety bonds contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation - Driver Education and Safety: www.tdlr.texas.gov/driver/drivereduforms.htm
Fitting and Dispensing of Hearing Instruments - Chapter 402, Occupations Code. For application forms contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation - Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers: www.tdlr.texas.gov/hearing/hearing.htm
Grain Warehouse - Chapter 14, Agriculture Code. For applications or copies of the required surety bonds contact Texas Department of Agriculture: www.texasagriculture.gov or 512-463-7476 or 800-835-5832.
Health Spa Surety Bond - Chapter 702, Occupations Code. For information, an application for license, or a copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: www.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml
Independent Dealers General Distinguishing Number Information (formerly Motor Vehicle Dealer's Surety Bond) - §503.033, Transportation Code. For information, an application for license or copy of the surety bond contact the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, under the Independent Dealer General Distinguishing Number Information, Form #LF001 (select Form # LF001 from the list).
Insurance Agency Bond - refer to the "Agent/Adjuster" section of our web site. (Form No. LHL202 - Licensing Corporate Insurance Agents Bond (AKA Insurance Agency Bond))
Official Notary Public Bond for the State of Texas - For information, an application for license, and a copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: www.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml.
Over Axle and Over Gross Weight Tolerance Permit Bond (formerly Superheavy or Oversize Permit Bond) - Chapter 623, Transportation Code. For information, an application, or a copy of the bond contact Texas Department of Motor Vehicles - Form #1753 - Over Axle and Over Gross Weight Tolerance Permit Bond.
Private Child Support Enforcement Agencies Bond - Chapter 396, Finance Code. For information, application for license, or a copy of the surety bond contact the Texas Department of Banking: www.dob.texas.gov.
Public Safety Organization, Independent Promoter or Public Safety Publication Solicitor's Bond - Chapter 1803, Occupations Code. For information, application for license, or copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: ww.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml
Public Adjuster Bond - refer to the "Agent/Adjuster" section of our web site. (Form No. LHL256 - Licensing Public Insurance Adjuster Bond)
Surety Bond of Seller of a Business Opportunity in the State of Texas - Chapter 51, Business & Commerce Code. For information, an application for license, or a copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: www.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml
Telephone Solicitation Bond - Chapter 302, Business & Commerce Code. For information, an application for license, or a copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: www.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml
Texas Escrow Officers Schedule Bond - on our web site (Industry bar to Title Insurance then Application Forms for Title Agents and Escrow Officers - Form No. PC123 - Escrow Officer's Schedule Bond)
Texas Title Attorney's Bond - on our web site (Click Industry, then Title Insurance, then Application Forms for Title Agents and Escrow Officers - Form No. PC121 - Title Attorney's Bond)
Texas Title Insurance Agent's/Direct Operation's Bond - on our web site (Click Industry, then Title Insurance, then Application Forms for Title Agents and Escrow Officers - Form No. PC122 - Title Insurance Agent's/Direct Operations Bond)
Third Party Debt Collector Bond - §392.001, Finance Code. For information, an application for license, or a copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: www.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml
Veterans Organization Solicitation Bond - Chapter 1804, Occupations Code. For information, an application for license, or a copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: www.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml
Wrestling Promoter Bond - Chapter 2052, Occupations Code. For information, application for license, or a copy of the surety bond contact the Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Forms Index: www.sos.texas.gov/statdoc/statforms.shtml
Information and Assistance Provided by Governmental Entities
There are various federal, state, and local programs available to small business owners who desire to learn more about the bidding/procurement process, including technical assistance and education on bonding. Following are some of the programs that are available.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Guarantee Bond Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can guarantee bonds for contracts up to $2 million, covering bid, performance and payment bonds for small and emerging contractors who cannot obtain surety bonds through regular commercial channels. SBA's guarantee gives sureties an incentive to provide bonding for eligible contractors, and thereby strengthens a contractor's ability to obtain bonding and greater access to contracting opportunities. A surety guarantee, an agreement between a surety and the SBA, provides that SBA will assume a predetermined percentage of loss in the event the contractor should breach the terms of the contract.
- To strengthen the competitive free enterprise system by assisting qualified small and disadvantaged contractors to obtain bid, performance, payment and ancillary bonds who would otherwise be unavailable to obtain them without the SBA guarantee.
- Enable surety companies to reach more small businesses.
- Protect the taxpayer's dollars at risk.
You may contact the SBA at the following address to find out more about the various programs offered by the SBA or to obtain a list of agents that participate in the SBA guarantee bond program.
Small Business Administration - SBA
Georgia District Office
233 Peachtree St. NE, Ste. 1900
Atlanta, GA 30303
For specific information regarding the SBA guarantee bond program, please visit the website at
State of Texas
Texas Department of Transportation
125 East 11th St.
Austin, TX 78701-2483
The Texas Department of Transportation has a number of programs, meetings and forums that may interest the small contractors. Refer to the information under "Supportive Services"
TxDOT - Contractors Information - www.txdot.gov/business.html
Also see the Texas Unified Certification Program (TUCP).
Texas Facilities Commission
Historically Underutilized Business - (HUB)
1711 San Jacinto
Austin, TX 78701
P.O. Box 13047
Austin, TX 78711-3047
Pursuant to Texas Government Code, §2161.062(e), state agencies with biennial budgets that exceed $10 million shall designate a staff member to serve as the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Coordinator for the agency. The HUB Coordinator will advise and assist agency executive directors and staff in complying with HUB requirements, facilitating the agency's good faith effort to increase HUB participation, preparing and submitting HUB reports, monitoring contracts for HUB compliance, and coordinating marketing and outreach HUB efforts. Visit the link below for a HUB Program, www.comptroller.texas.gov/purchasing/vendor/hub/.
Various Local Programs
Some municipalities, such as the City of Austin, also have educational programs available to assist small business owners with the bonding process. Check with your city office to see if a program may be available in your area.
The City of Austin - MBE/WBE Program - www.austintexas.gov/business/mbewbe-program
Surety Companies and Agents
Insurance Companies That May Offer Contract Surety Bonds
Following is a list of companies known to offer contract surety bonds. Each company has its own program that consists of specific guidelines and criteria for underwriting individual risks and may not be accessible to all consumers. All of the companies listed market their products through licensed Texas insurance agents and do not sell directly to consumers.
View the list of Insurance Companies That May Offer Contract Surety Bonds
Agents Specializing in Surety Bonds
The National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP) is the international organization of professional surety bond producers and brokers. NASBP represents over 5,000 personnel who specialize in surety bonding, provide performance and payment bonds for the construction industry, and issue other types of surety bonds for guaranteeing performance, such as license and permit bonds (Source: NASBP website). The association maintains a list of its members as well as additional information for consumers on its website. To obtain a list of surety bond producers near you, please visit the NASBP website at the link below.
View the list of Agents Specializing in Surety Bonds (NASBP Member Firms in Texas) - select Texas from the Location list.
View the list of Contract Surety Bonds - Other Interested Parties
National Association of Surety Bond Producers
7735 Old Georgetown Road, Ste. 900
Bethesda, MD 20814-6242
Surety Information Office
To obtain information about a surety company or licensed Texas agent, you may contact the Texas Department of Insurance at:
Texas Department of Insurance
P. O. Box 149104
Austin, TX 78714-9104
Consumer Helpline 800-252-3439
To search for information on a surety or an insurance company: "Insurer Search"
To search for information on a licensed Texas agent: "Agent Search"
Statutes Regulating Certain Bond Requirements for
Federal, Public, and Private Work
Private Work Governing Statute - Property Code - Chapter 53, Mechanic's, Contractor's, or Materialman's Liens
Texas Insurance Code - §3503.005 - Additional Requirements for Certain Bonds (formerly Article 7.19-1)
Federal Work Governing Statute - Miller Act (40 U.S.C., Sections 3131-3134)
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the parties involved in a surety bond?
There are three parties in the bonding agreement, the Surety (insurance company) that guarantees the faithful performance of the Principal (sometimes referred to as the Obligor) to the Obligee the owner or entity that is expecting an obligation to be completed. There is usually a statute, law or ordinance that requires a surety bond or some alternative method of financial responsibility.
Are surety bonds included in any guaranty fund?
No, unfortunately, the Texas Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Act does not include fidelity or surety bonds, or any other bonding obligations in the event an insurance company becomes insolvent.
Does §§542.051 - 542.061 (formerly Article 21.55) - Prompt Payment of Claims apply to surety bonds?
No, this particular statute does not apply, there is one similar statute that is more specific, §§3503.051 - 3503.057 - Prompt Payment of Construction Payment Bonds (formerly Article 7.20).
What is an Indemnity Agreement?
This may be included with the application for a bond or as a separate document it requires that the surety (insurance company) is completely indemnified against any liability, loss, cost, attorney's fees and expenses whatsoever that the surety shall sustain by having been surety on this bond. There are other important conditions included as well that the Principal should read and understand before committing to the bond process.
Do all surety companies charge the same rates or premiums for bonds?
No, surety companies file the rates they intend to use when writing surety bonds. Some surety bond premiums might contemplate payment of dividends, with the appropriate Casualty Dividend Filing, however, a surety cannot promise the payment of a dividend.
Can any surety company issue a Performance and/or Payment Bond?
No, there are some restrictions that apply.
- Federal construction projects require that the corporate surety appear on the Department of the Treasury's Listing of Approved Sureties (Department Circular 570) or that the contracting officer determine the acceptability of an individual surety in accordance with FAR §282.03.
- The sureties on public work or private work must meet the requirements of Insurance Code, §3503.005 (formerly Art. 7.19-1(c)) and be a surety company that is authorized and admitted to write surety bonds in this state.
- Texas does not recognize an individual surety and if the amount of the bond exceeds $100,000 the surety must also hold a certificate of authority from the United States Secretary of the Treasury to qualify as a surety on obligations permitted or required under federal law or reinsure the amount in excess of $100,000 with a reinsurer authorized and admitted as a reinsurer in this state and qualify as a surety or reinsurer under federal law. You may access the Insurance Code on our website, click on "Popular Links."
Are there limitations on the amount of any Performance or Payment Bond a surety can write?
Yes, on federal projects the Department of the Treasury's Listing of Approved Sureties (Department Circular 570) has an Underwriting Limitation that can only be exceeded by reinsurance or coinsurance in compliance with 31 CFR 223.10-11. On public work, Insurance Code, §3503.004 (formerly Article 7.19-1(b)) permits reinsurance for the amount in excess of 10% of the surety company's capital and net surplus. Owners of private works projects usually follow the same criteria as public work; you can check the capital and net surplus of a surety company on our web site "Insurer Search." Confirmation that an insurance agent is licensed to represent the surety company is also available in the "Agent Search" page.
What is retainage?
The Government Code, Chapter 2252 includes a definition in §2252.031(5) "Retainage" means the part of a public works contract withheld by a governmental entity to secure performance of the contract. Also, §2252.032 requires that if the retainage is more than five percent, this is to be deposited in an interest-bearing account by the governmental entity and pay the interest earned on the retainage to the prime contractor upon completion of the contract. The prime contractors withhold the same percentage of retainage from their subcontractors and suppliers until after completion of the contract. The Property Code, Chapter 53 also has a provision for 10% retainage see §53.101 Required Retainage for Benefit of Lien Claimants.
What information is required for a surety underwriter to write contract bonds?
In addition to details about the contract you are intending to bid on, the surety will require some details regarding your financial condition, this may consist of a prepared financial statement from a bank, CPA or public accountant (if you are reluctant to share this with the insurance agent arrangements may be made to have this sent directly to the surety underwriter). Another important question will be what was the largest previous contract or work program undertaken. Finally, whether you have previously defaulted on a contract or failed to complete a job.
To obtain a bond, will collateral be required and when will this be returned to me?
The use of collateral varies from one surety to another and depends upon the individual situation. Usually an irrevocable letter of credit or certificate of deposit or cashiers check is required, on occasion real property may be pledged, in an amount lesser than or equal to the penalty of the bond. The circumstances regarding return of collateral should be included in the collateral agreement, which may be part of the indemnity agreement.
If our firm has not been paid for labor or materials, how do we file a claim on a construction payment bond?
This question is not easily answered in a few sentences as it varies depending on whether it involves federal public work, state or other local public work and with private work, if it is commercial or residential. There is also the question of your relationship to the prime or original contractor is by a direct contract or includes specially fabricated materials. The best source is to review the appropriate statute see Statutes Regulating Certain Bond Requirements for Federal, Public and Private work. Another source is the Associated General Contractors publications - www.agctbb.org/agc-tbb-publications.
How soon can I expect a quote or commitment for a contract surety bond?
Do not delay in contacting your insurance agent once you determine that a bond is required. The surety underwriter will require details about the project as well as some information regarding your past history with jobs of a similar nature plus some financial information, this process may take from two to four weeks in order to obtain a quote. There are a few surety companies that use a fast track application which is usually reserved for contracts of $100,000 or less, without any hazardous materials used or operations such as asbestos abatement. Your insurance agent can usually advise you if you might qualify for this type of program which could result in an answer within a few days.
Other Popular Links
Associated General Contractors (AGC) - Texas Building Branch
816 Congress, Ste. 950
Austin, TX 78701
Publications are available through the AGC Publications at www.agctbb.org/agc-tbb-publications. (Contractors do not have to be members to purchase these publications.)
The Surety Association of South Texas, Inc.
P O Box 460777
San Antonio, TX 78246-0777
Links to web sites and pages concerning legislative issues and regulatory agencies that affect the construction industry: