Bail Bond FAQs

What is a bail bond?

A bail bond is a financial guarantee in favor of the state that a criminal defendant will appear in court at all times required until their case has been fully adjudicated. If a defendant does not appear in court the bail bond agent has specific period of time to return the defendant to court or risk paying the full amount of the bail bond.

How do I know if bail is right for you?

Writing bail bonds is not a 9-5 job. In fact because there are people being arrested by law enforcement at all hours of the day and night a bail agent must be available to their clients 24 hours a day 365 days a year. A bail bond agent must be energetic, tenacious, compassionate and patient. Have an entrepreneurial spirit and sufficient financial means to pay monetary losses which can result from the writing of bail bonds.

What is the function of a bail agent?

The function of a bail bond agent is to ensure that a person charged with a crime, the defendant, who has been released into their custody upon the posting of a bail bond, appears in court at all times required. If the defendant should failure to appear in court, the bail bond agent will take all actions necessary and permitted by law to locate, apprehend and return the defendant to the custody of the court. A successful bail bond agent helps to alleviate jail crowding through the release of defendants into their custody and ensuring their appearance in court which directly aide’s public safety and justice for victims of crime.

How do you become a bail agent?

The procedure for becoming a licensed bail bond agent varies from state to state. Some states require pre-licensing classes and an exam on bail statutes while other states simply require your pass an exam. Still other states require that you serve out an apprenticeship with an existing licensed bail agent before you can obtain your regular license. The best source for the requirements in your state is the Department of Insurance or if you live in Texas or Georgia, your local sheriff’s office. You can find a link to your states Department of Insurance by visiting our Links Page.

Once you have obtained your bail bond license we highly recommend apprenticing with a local bail agent before opening your own business. The bail bond business, by its nature, carries a lot of risk. While it can be financially rewarding, if operated properly, it can just as easily be financially devastating. Do your homework before entering the bail bond business to be sure it is the type of occupation that fits your personality and financial ability. For additional questions please email us at

What separates American Surety from the other guys?

In a word, service. American Surety Company is among a number of reputable bail bond surety companies competing for the business of the retail bail bond agent. In order to retain our existing agents and attract new business we have to do it better than our closest competitor. American Surety Company is successful in a large part due to the devoted work of our veteran staff. Our experienced team works hard every day to provide the services bail bond agents need to be successful. New bail bond agents are contracted quickly and efficiently to get them writing as soon as possible. Our premium rates and contract collateral terms are fair and competitive. We have an underwriting staff on duty 24 hours a day 365 days a year to underwrite large bail bonds and coordinate transfer bonds. Powers of attorney are processed and replaced upon receipt. Build-up Fund accounts are held in secure financial institutions and our agents receive their account statement each month.

How do I know if I qualify for a direct contract with American Surety?

When interviewing a potential agent we are first and foremost concerned about their bail experience looking for a minimum of two years or experience in a related criminal justice field.

Secondly, we look at credit history which can tell a lot about someone’s ability to manage their financial affairs. Next, we discuss the collateral that will be used to secure the liable contract. Typical collateral would come in the form of cash, letter of credit or real estate.

There is a distinct difference between writing bail and owning and operating a bail bond agency. Just like any small business the owner must be aware of state and federal laws and guidelines for paying taxes, hiring employees and obtaining the required business permits. We have found that one of the key reasons for a bail agent’s failure is their lack of business experience. If you believe you are ready to apply for a contract please initiate the bail bond agent application process.

How do you apply for a contract with American Surety?

To begin the application process we will need some information from you. The quickest way to do this is fill out our Bail Bond Agent Online Application. Your application will then be received by our staff electronically. Upon receipt you will be contacted by an experienced and knowledgeable company representative to discuss the options for becoming an agent for American Surety Company.