Auto dealers in most states must file a surety bond with the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before they can receive their auto dealer license. Unfortunately, purchasing an auto dealer bond can be one of the most confusing parts of getting a dealer license. That's why we developed the following comprehensive guide to auto dealer bonding.
Surety bonds are designed to protect customers and the state from auto dealers that commit fraud. A surety bond will help ensure that your dealership will follow the car dealership legislation and regulations in your state.
On this page you'll find a general overview of dealership surety bonds. For specific information about what type of surety bond you'll need and what documents you'll need to submit to satisfy the surety bond requirement of your dealership licensing process, please contact the appropriate motor vehicle agency in your state.
General Surety Bond Requirements
As with other surety bond types, auto dealer bonds provide financial guarantees that help regulate the industry. Auto dealer bonds protect customers, sellers, financial enterprises, and/or government agencies. If a dealer commits fraud or conducts business in other unethical ways, the bond helps these entities recover from any resulting financial loss.
Additionally, having a surety bond gives your dealership credibility to both your customers and the appropriate agencies in your state.
Depending on where you work and what kind of dealership you plan to operate, you might need to file one of many different auto dealer bond types. Some common ones include:
- DMV bonds.
- RV bonds.
- Motorcycle dealer bonds.
- Used car dealer bonds.
- Wholesale car dealer bonds.
No matter the specific name of the bond, they work in the same basic way. If a bonded motor vehicle dealer breaks the bond's terms, the wronged party (i.e. a customer, bank, or government agency) can make a claim against the bond to get compensation.
Vehicle Dealership Surety Bonds in Every State
The state agency that is in charge of licensing auto dealers should tell you if you need a bond before you begin the application process. If you haven't been told that you need a bond, it's a good idea to contact the agency and make sure you don't need one. You might also take the time to learn more about the dealer licensing process in your state.
Generally, obtaining and filing a surety bond is a normal part of the dealer licensing process in every state.
Cost of a Surety Bond for Your Dealership
- The exact price you'll pay for a surety bond will vary for a few reasons, such as:
- The required surety bond amount.
- Your application and financial credentials.
- If you choose to finance your bond premium.
- Your credit score.
Generally, if your financial credentials qualify you for the standard market, your premium could be calculated as just 1% of the bond amount, which would only be $500 for a standard $50,000 bond. Conversely, dealers with poor credit could pay a premium that's a higher percentage of the bond amount. The best way to determine your exact surety bond cost is get a free price quote from a surety provider.