California Surety Bond Guide

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Which California Surety Bonds Do You Need?

There are three types of surety bonds that can be required of you:

  • License bonds needed for various professions such as contractors and tax preparers to operate legally.
  • Contractor bonds for public construction projects.
  • Court bonds required by California courts for various purposes.

It's vital that you understand how surety bonds work. Since you are responsible to pay bond claims, it’s important that you choose only to work with bond agencies that will defend you from claims. You can also read our guide to learn how to get bonded in California.

Getting License and Permit Bonds

California requires license and permit bonds in order to obtain and file licenses/permits for various professions such as a California tax preparer bond (sometimes referred to as a CTEC bond), a contractor’s license bond, a seller of travel surety bond or an auto dealer bond. You can find the full list of license and permit bonds that are required by using our bond requirement search tool.

California Contractors Bond for Your License

The most commonly needed license bond is the California contractor bond required by the CSLB (Contractors State License Board) for contractors to get their license. If you're a contractor, it's possible that you need both a California contractor’s license bond and contractor bonds for public jobs depending on the type of work and where you're performing it.

California License & Permit Bond Requirement Search

Getting a Contractor's Bond in California for Public Jobs

Contractor bonds such as bid, performance and payment bonds are required to bid and work on public construction jobs. However, they're usually required by cities or municipalities rather than the state. Learn more about how you can get bonded for projects by reading our construction bond guide. As mentioned above, contractors who want to get their license also need contractor’s license bonds in California.

What Do Surety Bonds in California Cost?

Surety bond costs vary drastically depending on the bond amount required of you and your rate (which is the percentage of the full bond amount you must pay). You can get a ballpark estimate by using our bond premium calculator, or you can apply online to get a firm bond quote.

Can You Get Bonded with Bad Credit?

It's possible to get surety bonds in California with bad credit, but it will depend on the bond type that you need and how severe your credit issues are. You can get approved for most license and permit bonds regardless of your credit issues. However, getting contract bonds with bad credit can be a bit trickier.

Getting Court Bonds in California

Lastly, court bonds are less commonly needed, but can be required by California courts if you need to appeal a court decision, become a legal guardian of a minor or operate as a fiduciary of an estate.

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