Bonds (Surety)

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Surety Bonds are contracts guaranteeing that specific obligations will be fulfilled. The obligation may involve meeting a contractual commitment, paying a debt, or performing certain duties. Under the terms of a bond, one party becomes answerable to a third party for the acts or neglect of a second party. Surety bonds are required in a significant number of business transactions as a means of reducing or transferring business risk. A typical surety bond identifies each of three parties to the contract and spells out their relationship and obligations.

Businesses that are required to retain surety bonds can purchase them from insurance companies and the bond must be filed with the California Secretary of State'soffice. However, the Secretary of State's office does not handle complaints or enforce any rulings; it serves only as a "record keeper" for the filing of the bond.

If a consumer wants to file a claim against an individual who holds a surety bond, the consumer can obtain the insurance company's name from the Secretary of State's office. The consumer then may file to collect against the "bonded" individual operating the business.

The Secretary of State, Special Filings Division oversees employment agencies, employment counseling services, job listing services, nurses' registries, auctioneers, auction companies, immigration consultants, discount buying organizations, dance studios, credit service organizations, and invention developers.

Secretary of State
Special Filings Division
1500 11th Street, 2nd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-6814
(213) 897-3062

The California Department of Insurance licenses insurance companies that issue surety bonds to individuals.

California Department of Insurance
320 Capitol Mall, 1st Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 322-3555

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