Alabama Notary Public Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
October 12, 2022
This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain an Alabama Notary Public bond
At a Glance:
- Average Cost: $50 for a four-year term
- Bond Amount: $25,000
- Who Needs it: All notaries public operating in Alabama
- Purpose: To ensure the public receives compensation for financial harm if the notary fails to properly perform their duties
- Who Regulates Notaries Public in Alabama: The Alabama Secretary of State as well as the probate court in the notary’s county of residence
Alabama Statute 36-20-70 requires all notaries operating in the state to become commissioned by a probate judge before notarizing documents. The Alabama legislature enacted this requirement to ensure that notaries engage in ethical business practices. To provide financial security for the enforcement of the commission requirement, notaries must purchase and maintain a $25,000 surety bond to be eligible for a commission.
What is the Purpose of the Alabama Notary Public Bond?
Alabama requires notaries to purchase a surety bond as part of the application process to obtain a notary commission. The bond protects the public from financial harm if the notary fails to comply with the regulations outlined in Alabama Statute 36-20-71. Specifically, the bond protects the public if the notary signs any documents for persons committing fraud, fails to properly confirm the identity of signees, or does not actually witness the signatures on documents being notarized. In short, the bond is a type of insurance that protects the public if the notary violates the terms of their commission.
How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain an Alabama Notary Public Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining an Alabama Notary Public bond easy. Simply log in to your account and use our keyword search to find the “Notary” bond in our database. Don’t have a login? Enroll now and let us help you satisfy your customers’ needs. Our friendly underwriting staff is available by phone at (800) 438-1162, email, or chat from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST to assist you.
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Is a Credit Check Required for the Alabama Notary Public Bond?
No, a credit check is not required for the Alabama Notary Public bond. Because the bond is considered relatively low risk, the same low rate is offered to all notaries in Alabama regardless of their credit history.
How Much Does the Alabama Notary Public Bond Cost?
The Alabama Notary Public bond costs just $50 for a four-year term.
Who is Required to Purchase the Alabama Notary Bond?
Alabama requires notaries public to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a notary commission. To paraphrase the Alabama Notary Public Handbook, a notary public is a public officer authorized to act as an impartial witness to persons signing notarial documents.
How Do Notaries Apply for a Commission in Alabama?
Notaries Public in Alabama must navigate several steps to obtain a commission. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to the Alabama Notary Public Handbook as well as the Secretary of State’s website for details on the process.
Commission Term: All Alabama Notary Public Commissions are valid for four years from the date of issuance.
Step 1 – Purchase a Surety Bond
Notaries Public must purchase and maintain a $25,000 surety bond.
Step 2 – Complete the Application
To obtain their commissions, notaries public must contact their local probate judge’s office. The judge’s office will walk the notary through the application process, answer any questions they may have, and provide them with all required forms, which are available on many county websites.
Notaries must pay a commission fee of $10 when submitting their applications.
How do Alabama Notaries Renew Their Commissions?
Notaries must reapply for a new commission before their existing one expires, as there is no specific renewal process. All Alabama Notary Public Commissions are valid for four years from the date of issuance.
What are the Insurance Requirements for Alabama Notaries?
Alabama does not require notaries to purchase any form of liability insurance as a prerequisite to obtaining a commission. Notaries must purchase and maintain a $25,000 surety bond.
How Do Alabama Notaries File Their Bonds?
Notaries public should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, to the probate judge of the notary’s county of residence.
The bond requires signatures from both the surety company that issues the bond and the notary. The surety company should include the following information on the bond form:
- Legal name, county and address of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
- Surety company’s name and state of incorporation
- Bond amount
- Date the notary was appointed
- Date the bond goes into effect
- Date the bond is signed
- Date the commission expires
What Can Alabama Notaries Do to Avoid Claims Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims on their bonds, notaries in Alabama must adhere to all commission regulations in their state. Best practices for avoiding claims include the following:
- Do not leave any notary supplies (seal and journal) in a place where they can be easily stolen
- Do not perform notary services for entities/individuals who are engaged in acts of fraud
- Ensure that the signers of documents are who they say they are and are not misrepresenting themselves
- Witness the signatures of all documents being notarized
- Record all transactions in a notary journal
What Other Insurance Products Can Agents Offer Notaries in Alabama?
Alabama does not require notaries to obtain any form of liability insurance. However, many notaries will consider obtaining errors and omission (E&O) insurance. Bonds are our only business at BondExchange, so we do not issue liability insurance, but our agents often utilize brokers for this specific line of business. A list of brokers in this space can be found here.
How Can Insurance Agents Prospect for Alabama Notary Customers?
Alabama conveniently provides a public database of commissioned notaries operating in the state. Contact BondExchange for additional marketing resources. Agents can also leverage our print-mail relationships for discounted mailing services.