A deputy sheriff bond guarantees faithful accounting for all public funds, and property coming into the deputy sheriff’s custody, control, care, or possession.
The deputy sheriff has to have this bond approved by the County Attorney and it shall be filed with the County Clerk in most cases. The Sheriff is answerable for any neglect of his duty or misconduct in office.
Each county or state will differ on what they want the deputy sheriff bond to cover, so it’s always a good idea to check with the obligee for details about bond requirements. It’s also possible that a deputy sheriff will also need to hold a public official surety bond, so again, it’s really important to confirm all bond requirements with the obligee.
In order to understand how deputy sheriff bonds work, it’s helpful to understand the following three terms that represent the three parties involved in a deputy sheriff bond:
Surety bonds exist to ensure the principal fulfills their contractual obligations and follows all relevant rules and regulations. If the surety missteps, someone can file a claim against the surety bond. The surety would then investigate the claim. If the surety finds the claim to be accurate, they will pay out the claim up to the bonding capacity (we’ll explain what that is shortly). The principal isn’t in the free and clear here—a surety bond isn’t an insurance policy. Legally the principal is required to pay the claim amount back to the surety and they may even owe additional fees or interest on top of the claim amount. If the principal fails to pay back the surety, then the surety has the option to sue them in order to recoup the debt.
When the principal takes out the deputy sheriff bond, they’ll sign an indemnity agreement. This agreement pledges the company’s assets and the owner’s personal assets to the surety if a claim occurs and is unpaid. While it’s best to avoid claims against your deputy sheriff bond altogether, it’s also a good idea to have some savings set aside to pay out a claim if one does arise.
How much you will need to spend on a deputy sheriff bond primarily depends on the bond premium and the bonding capacity. What do these two terms mean exactly?
The bond premium represents much you will spend in order to secure a deputy sheriff bond. The bonding capacity is the maximum dollar amount that someone can pursue when filing a claim against the deputy sheriff bond.
Typically, the bond premium is a certain percentage of the bonding capacity. For example, if the bonding capacity is $20,000 and the applicant is offered at a rate of 3%, then the bond premium would be $600.
The percentage someone is offered depends on a few different factors such as their industry experience, how established their business is, what their business credit score is, and what their personal credit score is. Their personal credit score is typically the most important factor taken into consideration when it comes to pricing.
The higher someone’s personal credit score is, the lower a percentage they’re likely to be offered, which lowers their bond premium. If possible, it’s a good idea to improve your personal credit score before applying for a deputy sheriff bond. One of the fastest ways to do this is to review your credit report for errors and to dispute any mistakes that are hurting your credit score so you can have them removed from your credit report.
Then, moving forward, it’s a good idea to work on creating good credit habits so you can improve your personal credit score before the bond term (aka how long the deputy sheriff bond is active for) ends. That way, when you go to renew it, you can qualify for a better bond premium rate. Paying your bills on time every month, having a healthy mix of credit products, keeping your credit utilization ratio low, and paying off credit card debt are all great ways to improve your personal credit score.