In most states, cities and counties, a notary public needs to be bonded. However, if you are a notary public, or are utilizing their services, you may not know much about notary bonds. Getting answers to the questions you have will help you to better understand why they are required and what they protect against. Here are three frequently asked questions about notary public bonds.

What is a Notary Surety Bond?

All notaries are required to follow the law when notarizing documents. If they fail to do so, they can be held financially responsible for any costs incurred by the harmed or wronged party. In most states, cities and counties, you are required to show that you can cover the minimum amount of losses as required by law, typically $10,000. For a percentage of the coverage amount, you can purchase a bond from a licensed insurance carrier. The state retains the bond to pay a loss, should one occur. If the insurance carrier has to pay a loss on your behalf, you must reimburse them the amount they paid out. To find out if you are required to have a bond please visit your Secretary of State’s website.

What Does a Notary Surety Bond Protect Against?

A notary surety bond protects the public. The most common thing it protects against is a notary public that did not actually verify a signee’s identity. For example, say you take a rental contract to a notary to be signed, and the notary doesn’t check you or the property owner’s identification or licenses. If it turns out the person who signed wasn’t actually the owner, and you sustained damages, you can file a claim and receive money from the bond to make you whole again.

Is Errors and Omissions Insurance the Same as Notary Surety Bond?

No. A notary surety bond protects those who take papers to the notary. But, as was mentioned, a notary will have to reimburse the bond company if someone files a claim and is awarded money. Errors and omissions insurance insures the notary against these losses, so they don’t have to come out of pocket for them. Additionally, a notary can be sued for more than their bond covers, if the damages exceed the amount of the bond. This type of insurance protects the notary from these additional damages as well.

If you are a notary, or plan to work with one, it is important that you understand what a notary surety bond is and how they work. This will help you to understand how you are protected when you work with, or as, a notary public.

Here is a link from the State of Arizona on popular questions about becoming a Notary Public:

http://www.azsos.gov/business/notary-public/popular-questionsc