Missouri Utility Deposit Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
At a Glance:
- Average Cost: Between 2% to 7.5% of the bond amount per year based on the applicant’s credit
- Bond Amount: Determined on a case-by-case basis
- Who Needs it: Certain individuals and businesses that do not want to pay a cash deposit to activate utility services
- Purpose: To ensure utility companies receive compensation for financial harm if the business fails to pay their utility bills
- Who Requires Utility Deposit Bonds in Missouri: Utility companies that provide services to the general public
Utility companies in Missouri often require customers expected to generate large monthly bills to pay a security deposit before initiating service. The security deposit protects utility companies from losses if the consumer fails to pay their monthly bills on time and in full. However, certain utility companies in Missouri allow customers to purchase and maintain a surety bond in lieu of depositing cash. Unlike most surety bonds, utility deposit bonds are not required by a government agency but by the utility company providing the service (unless a municipality owns the utility company).
What is the Purpose of the Missouri Utility Deposit Bond?
Certain utility companies in Missouri require consumers that do not wish to pay a security deposit to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining utility services. The bond ensures that the utility company will receive compensation for financial harm if the consumer fails to comply with the provisions laid out in the bond form. Specifically, the bond protects the utility company if the consumer does not pay their monthly bills. In short, the bond is a type of insurance that protects utility companies if the consumer fails to remit all required payments.
How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain a Missouri Utility Deposit Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a Missouri Utility Deposit bond easy. Simply login to your account and use our keyword search to find the “utility” bond in our database. Don’t have a login? Gain access 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.
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Is a Credit Check Required for the Missouri Utility Deposit Bond?
Surety companies will run a credit check on the applicant to determine eligibility and pricing for the Missouri Utility Deposit 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 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 Missouri Utility Deposit Bond Cost?
A Missouri Utility Deposit bond can cost anywhere between 2% to 7.5% of the bond amount per year. Insurance companies determine the rate based on a number of factors, including your customer’s credit score and experience. The chart below offers a quick reference for the approximate bond cost on a $10,000 bond requirement.
$10,000 Utility Deposit Bond Cost
|Credit Score*||Bond Cost (1 year)||Bond Cost (1 month)|
|650 – 799||$500||$50|
|600 – 649||$750||$75|
*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.
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.
Which Companies Allow Utility Deposit Bonds in Missouri?
The following Missouri utility companies allow customers to purchase a surety bond in lieu of depositing cash:
Commercial customers are required to either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to twice their estimated average monthly bill.
Agents can contact Ameren Missouri here.
City Utilities of Springfield
Customers may be required to purchase a surety bond or deposit cash before initiating service. The bond amount is determined on a case-by-case basis but may not exceed three times the customer’s estimated highest bill (as determined by the city).
Agents can contact City Utilities of Springfield here.
High-use customers may opt to purchase a surety bond instead of depositing cash. The bond amount is determined on a case-by-case basis based on the customer’s estimated usage.
Empire District is owned by Liberty Utilities. Agents can contact Liberty Utilities here.
Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined on a case-by-case basis by the company.
Agents can contact Evergy here.
Commercial customers whose security deposit amount exceeds $500 may opt to purchase a surety bond in lieu of depositing cash. The bond amount must equal twice the customer’s estimated monthly bill (as determined by the city).
Agents can contact the City of Harrisonburg here.
Independence Utilities Department
Commercial and industrial customers will be required to submit a security deposit if they have poor credit, file for bankruptcy, tamper with the city’s equipment, or are otherwise considered a risk for nonpayment. In lieu of depositing cash, customers may opt to purchase a surety bond in an amount equal to their estimated average two-month bill. All bonds/deposits must be a minimum of $200.
Agents can contact the City of Independence Utility Department here.
Kansas City Water
Commercial customers estimated to use more than 1,000 cubic feet of water per month must either purchase a surety bond or deposit cash. The bond amount is determined on a case-by-case basis and must equal the estimated cost for two billing periods.
Agents can contact Kansas City Water here.
Kennett City Light Gas & Water (CLGW)
Businesses must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond. The bond amount is determined on a case-by-case basis by CLGW’s customer service department and must equal two times the highest bill of the business previously at the location or that of a similar business.
Agents can contact CLGW here.
White River Valley Electric Co-Op
Commercial customers must either deposit cash or purchase a surety bond in an amount determined by the co-op.
Agents can contact the White River Valley Electric Co-Op here.
How Do Missouri Utility Customers File Their Bonds?
Utility customers in Missouri should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, to the company requiring the bond. The surety bond requires signatures from both the surety company that issues the bond and from the customer. In some instances, the bond will require witness signatures as well. Generally, the surety company will include the following information on the bond form:
- Name and address of entity/individual(s) buying the bond
- Surety company’s name and address
- Entity requiring the bond
- Bond amount
- Date the bond is signed
- Date the bond goes into effect
What Can Utility Customers in Missouri Do to Avoid Claims Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims on their bonds, utility customers in Missouri must ensure they pay their utility bills on time and in full.
What Other Insurance Products Can Agents Offer Utility Customers in Missouri?
Utility companies generally only require businesses to be bonded. As such, agents can offer their customers general business and liability insurance in addition to the utility deposit bond. 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.
Should Your Customer Purchase a Surety Bond or Deposit Cash?
Surety bonds are generally considered the better option for businesses, as they free up working capital that would otherwise have to be deposited with the utility company. For more information on whether your customer should purchase a bond or deposit cash, check out our Surety Bonds vs. Letters of Credit article here.