Bad Credit Surety Bond Guide

How to Get a Surety Bond with Bad Credit


Whether you can get bonds with bad credit will depend on the bond type you need and the severity of your credit issues. It’s important to understand how bonds work and that you’re responsible to pay bond claims. If you have credit issues, surety companies will view you as a higher risk for causing and not paying claims, which is why the term “high risk surety bonds” is sometimes used. You can read our guide to learn how to get bonded and insured.

Getting License & Permit Bonds with Bad Credit

You will be able to get approved for most license and permit bonds even with credit issues. You can apply online to get a firm quote. If you’re just doing research, you can also use our surety bond premium calculator tool to get an instant estimate. You can also select your state from the map below to view all of its bond requirements.

Select Your State

Can you Get Contract Bonds with Bad Credit?

It’s possible to get contractor bonds for jobs such as bid and performance bonds with bad credit. If you’re a smaller contractor with severe credit issues you won’t be able to get bonded through standard markets; you’ll need to use the SBA program. Keep in mind, you’ll be limited to smaller contracts. If you’re a larger contractor with bad credit, you can obtain contract bonds if you provide strong CPA prepared business financials. You can fill out our online application to see if you qualify for contract bonding.

Frequent Questions

Yes. We have access to exclusive bad credit surety bond programs, which many other agencies don't. You can get an online license & permit bond quote instantly on our website, even if you have a bankruptcy in your credit history. It is possible to get a contract or court bond after a bankruptcy, but it must be discharged within 3-5 years ago and explained in detail.

Yes. Due to bulk volumes, we write bonds for people with bad credit at lower rates than any other agency. However, most bond programs will still look at credit as a factor for determining the rate, which credit flaws can only affect negatively.

Yes. Getting bonded with no credit history is not a problem for license & permit bonds. It's possible to obtain court bonds without a credit history, but whether you can get approved will depend on the circumstances surrounding the case/estate and whether you're working with an attorney (which is highly recommended).. If you are a smaller contractor looking for contract bonds, they’re possible to get without a credit history, but you’ll have to get bonded through the SBA program and you will likely be limited to smaller jobs. If you’re a larger contractor with strong CPA prepared business financials, you can get bonded for public jobs, even if the owners lack personal credit history.

Typically, no. Smaller contract accounts are based strictly off of personal credit and there are no high risk programs. Larger contract accounts might be able to qualify, but you will need strong CPA business financials.

Yes. You can get an online approval for license & permit and miscellaneous bonds. It is difficult to get approved for court or contract bonds with a tax lien, but it is possible depending on the reason and the amount that is due.

Usually, yes. However, it depends on the circumstances and amount of collections. Most underwriters are willing to overlook medical collections or small collections that have been satisfied.

In most cases, yes. For contract bonds, it may prevent you from getting approved at all. Open judgments never have a positive effect on your assessed risk.

Getting Court Bonds with Credit Issues

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case or estate, it’s possible to get court bonds with bad credit. However, your credit issues can’t be severe. Items such as large collections, tax liens or civil judgments will prevent you from getting court bonds. You can apply online to determine if you’re able to obtain a court bond.

Why Does Bad Credit Make You a High Risk?

Surety companies use your credit history as a tool to assess how you might handle bond claims if they occur. As mentioned above, you’re responsible to pay claims on your bond including any legal fees. Depending on what the bond guarantees, your credit history is often a good reflection of your potential to cause and pay for claims. Exceptions are made for extenuating circumstances such as medical issues. Some ask “are there surety bonds for bad credit?” No, a bad credit bond type doesn't exist; but there are companies such as ours that are able to get you approved using specialty programs.

"The guys and gals at JW Surety came through for me! When I told them how urgent my request was, they pulled out all the stops and got it done in record time - amazing!"