Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain a Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) bond.
At a Glance:
- Lowest Cost: $100 per year or $10 a month
- Bond Amount: Determined on a case-by-case basis (more on this later)
- Who Needs It: All cigarette distribution agents operating in Florida
- Who Regulates Cigarette-Distributing Agents in Florida: The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
- Purpose: To ensure that the FDBPR will receive compensation for financial harm if the permittee fails to pay all required taxes
Florida Statute 210.15 requires all cigarette distribution agents operating in the state to obtain a permit from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The Florida Legislature enacted the permit requirement to ensure that cigarette-distributing agents do not engage in unethical business practices. To provide financial security for the enforcement of the permit law, cigarette-distributing agents must purchase and maintain a surety bond to be eligible for licensure.
What Is the Purpose of the Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) Bond?
Florida Statute 210.08 requires all cigarette-distributing agents to purchase a surety bond as part of the application process to obtain a permit. The bond ensures that restitution is available to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation should the cigarette-distributing agent fail to abide by the regulations outlined in the Florida Statutes Title XIV, Chapter 210, Part I. Specifically, the bond ensures that the FDBPR will receive compensation for financial harm if the permittee fails to pay all required taxes. In short, the bond is a type of insurance that protects the FDBPR if the cigarette-distributing agent violates the terms of their permit.
How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain a Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) bond easy. Simply log in to your account and use our keyword search to find the “cigarette-distributing agent” 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 (800) 438-1162, email, or chat from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST to assist you.
At BondExchange, our 40 years of experience, leading technology, and access to markets ensures that we have the knowledge and resources to provide your clients with fast and friendly service whether obtaining quotes or issuing bonds.
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How Is the Bond Amount Determined?
According to Florida Statute 210.08, the Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) bond limit must be in an amount equal to 110% of the estimated tax liability of the permittee for 30 days. A minimum bond limit of $2,000 is required.
Is a Credit Check Required for the Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) Bond?
Surety companies will run a credit check on the cigarette-distributing agent to determine eligibility and pricing for the Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) bond. Applicants with excellent credit and work experience can expect to receive the best rates. Applicants with poor credit may be declined by some surety companies or have to pay higher rates. The credit check is a “soft hit,” meaning that the credit check will not affect the applicant’s credit.
How Much Does the Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) Bond Cost?
The Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) bond can cost between 2% and 10% of the bond amount per year. Monthly subscription options are also available. Insurance companies determine the rate based on several factors, including your customer’s credit score and experience. The chart below briefly references the approximate bond cost on the $10,000 requirement.
$10,000 Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) Bond Cost
|Bond Cost (1 Year)
|Bond Cost (1 month)
|680 – 719
|600 – 649
|550 – 599
|500 – 549
*The credit score ranges do not include other factors that may result in a change to the annual premium offered to your customers, including but not limited to years of experience and underlying credit factors contained within the business owner’s credit report.
How Does Florida Define “Distributing Agent”?
To paraphrase Florida Statute 210.01, a distributing agent is a state-permitted individual who distributes or delivers cigarettes to wholesale dealers or other distributing agents inside or outside the State of Florida.
BondExchange now offers monthly pay-as-you-go subscriptions for surety bonds. Your customers are able to purchase their bonds on a monthly basis and cancel them anytime. Learn more here.
How Do Cigarette-Distributing Agents Obtain a Permit in Florida?
Cigarette-distributing agents in Florida must navigate several steps to obtain a permit. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to the Department’s Application Requirements webpage for details on the process.
Permit Period – Florida cigarette-distributing agent permits expire on July 1st of each year.
Step 1 – Purchase Surety Bond
Florida cigarette-distributing agents must purchase and maintain a surety bond for the entire duration of their permit period.
Step 2 – Complete Permit Application
Cigarette-disturbing agent permit applications must be completed and submitted to the Department via its Online Services portal. The following documents must also be attached:
- Copy of fingerprints
- Certified copies of arrest disposition
- Mitigation of moral character (if applicable)
- Right of occupancy (if applicable)
- Letter from cigarette taxing authority
- Secretary of State Certificate of Status
- FEIN (Federal Employer’s Identification Number)
How Do Cigarette-Distributing Agents Renew Their Florida Permits?
Florida cigarette-distributing agent permits expire on July 1st of each year. Renewal permit applications must be submitted via the DBPR Online Services on or before the expiration date. Renewal fees may apply.
What Are the Insurance Requirements for Cigarette-Distributing Agents in Florida?
Florida does not require cigarette-distributing agents to purchase any form of liability insurance as a prerequisite to obtaining a license. Cigarette-distributing agents must purchase and maintain a surety bond.
How Do Florida Cigarette-Distributing Agents File Their Bonds?
Cigarette-distributing agents in Florida should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, electronically when submitting their license applications. The surety bond requires signatures from the surety company and the cigarette-distributing agent. The surety company should include the following information on the bond form:
- Legal name and address of the individual buying the bond
- Surety company’s name
- Date the bond is signed
What Can Florida Cigarette-Distributing Agents Do to Avoid Claims Made Against Their Bonds?
The best way to avoid a claim against a Florida Distributing Agent (Cigarettes) bond is to pay all cigarette taxes, penalties, and interest that are due to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation in full and on time.
What Other Insurance Products Can Agents Offer Cigarette-Distributing Agents in Florida?
Most reputable cigarette-distributing agents will purchase business liability insurance. Bonds are our only business at BondExchange, so we do not issue any other types of 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 Florida Cigarette-Distributing Agent Customers?
Florida conveniently provides a public database to search for active cigarette-distributing agents in the state. The database can be accessed here. Contact BondExchange for additional marketing resources. Agents can also leverage our print-mail relationships for discounted mailing services.