Texas Notary Public Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
At a Glance:
- Average Cost: $50 for a four-year term
- Bond Amount: $10,000
- Who Needs it: All notaries public operating in Texas
- Purpose: To ensure the public receives compensation for financial harm if the notary fails to properly perform their duties
- Who Regulates Notaries Public in Texas: The Texas Secretary of State
Texas Govt Code 406.001 requires all notaries operating in the state to obtain a commission from the Secretary of State before providing notarial services. The Texas 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 $10,000 surety bond to be eligible for a commission.
What is the Purpose of the Texas Notary Public Bond?
Texas requires notaries to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a notary commission. The bond protects the public from financial harm if the notary fails to comply with the regulations outlined in Texas Govt Code 406.010. Specifically, the bond protects the public if the notary signs any documents for persons committing fraud 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 a Texas Notary Public Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a Texas 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? Gain access 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 Texas Notary Public Bond?
No, a credit check is not required for the Texas Notary Public bond. Because the bond is considered relatively low risk, the same low rate is offered to all notaries in the state regardless of their credit history.
How Much Does the Texas Notary Public Bond Cost?
The Texas Notary Public bond costs just $50 for a four-year term.
Who is Required to Purchase the Texas Notary Bond?
Texas requires notaries to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a notary commission. To paraphrase Texas Govt Code 406.016, a notary public is a public official authorized to provide the following services:
- Take acknowledgments or proofs
- Administer oaths
- Take depositions
- Certify a copy
- Note a protest of a negotiable instrument
State employees are exempt from the bond requirement. Notaries who wish to perform online notarizations do not need to purchase an additional surety bond. An online notary is a notarial officer approved by the Secretary of State to provide notarial services where the signer appears before the notary using an audio-visual conference.
How Do Notaries Apply for a Commission in Texas?
Notaries public in Texas must navigate several steps to obtain a commission. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to the Secretary of State’s website or the state’s notary training resources for details on the process.
Commission Term: All Texas Notary Public Commissions are valid for four years from the date of issuance.
Step 1 – Meet the Qualifications
To be eligible to apply for a notary public commission, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a resident of Texas
- Have never been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude
Step 2 – Purchase a Surety Bond
Notaries public are required to purchase and maintain a $10,000 surety bond.
Step 3 – Submit an Application
Notaries public must submit an application to the Secretary of State’s office at the following address:
Notary Public Unit
P.O Box 13375
Austin, TX 78711-3375
Notaries must complete the application in its entirety and submit the following items with it:
- Surety Bond
- $21 filing fee
- E-mail address to receive the commission electronically
Applicants are subject to background checks and must provide any documentation relating to criminal conviction history, if applicable. Once the application is approved, the Secretary of State will issue a commission certificate to the notary and the notary may purchase their required notary seal and record book from any office supply company.
Step 4 – Take the Oath of Office
Before providing any notarial services, notaries public must bring their commission certificate to a current notary public to get the form notarized and take their oath of office. Once the commission certificate is notarized and the oath of office has been completed, the notary public is fully commissioned and is authorized to begin providing notarial services.
Online Notaries Public
Step 5 – Obtain an Electronic Seal and Digital Certificate
Only an active notary public with a current commission is able to apply as an online notary public. Notaries public can apply to become an online notary by first obtaining a digital certificate containing their electronic signature. The digital certificate must be issued by a third-party technology provider and must comply with state requirements. Notaries will also need to obtain an electronic seal to use in online notarizations.
Step 6 – Submit an Application
After selecting a technology provider and obtaining an electronic seal, notaries public may submit an application online here. Notaries must complete the form in its entirety and submit the following items:
- Copy of electronic seal
- Oath of office signed with digital certificate
- $50 application fee
Once the Secretary of State approves the application, the notary public may begin providing online notarial services.
How Do Texas Notaries Public Renew Their Commissions?
Notaries must apply for a new commission before their existing one expires, as there is no specific renewal process. Notaries are encouraged to apply for their new commissions up to 90 days before their existing ones expire to avoid a lapse in commissions.
All Texas Notary Public Commissions are valid for four years from the date of issuance and must be renewed before the expiration date. Online notary registrations run concurrently with existing notary public commissions and notaries must apply with the Secretary of State again before continuing their remote notarial services.
What are the Insurance Requirements for Notaries Public in Texas?
Texas does not require notaries to purchase any form of liability insurance as a prerequisite to obtaining a commission. Notaries public must purchase and maintain a $10,000 surety bond.
How Do Texas Notaries File Their Bonds?
Notaries public should file their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, with the Secretary of State at the following address:
Notary Public Unit
P.O Box 13375
Austin, TX 78711-3375
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:
- Surety company’s name and address
- Date the bond is signed
What Can Texas Notaries Do to Avoid Claims Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims on their bonds, notaries public in Texas must adhere to all state regulations, including some of the most important issues below that tend to cause claims:
- 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 Texas?
Texas does not require notaries public 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 Texas Notary Customers?
Texas 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.
What Other States Require Notary Bonds?
29 states and the District of Columbia require notaries to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a commission. Insurance agents should utilize our Main Notary Bond Page for a detailed analysis of the Notary Bond requirements nationwide.