What is a Continuation Certificate for Surety Bond?
The short answer is: a document that continues the life of the original surety bond.
Not sure what a surety bond is? Read our What Is A Surety Bond post.
How Does a Surety Continuation Certificate Work?
Many surety bonds remain in effect until canceled and therefore do not require a Continuation Certificate. However, some surety bonds have a set period of time designated for the coverage term.
When a surety bond's term is up, the person who got the bond (called the Principal) has two options:
- Allow the bond to be cancelled
- Renew the bond term with a bond continuation certificate
For many bond types, since the bonds are required by law, the second option is the only course of action.
The Purpose of a Surety Bond Continuation Certificate
Continuation Certificates are designed to extend the life of the bond. They do not increase the bond amount that a surety must pay out in the event of a bond claim. The overall liability for the surety bond company remains unchanged from the original amount that was set when the bond was initially issued.
For example, if the original bond was a $20,000 Oregon Residential Contractor Bond, then the Continuation Certificate renews the bond for the exact $20,000.
Continuation Certificates can be provided on an annual renewable basis from the surety company as a way of keeping the original bond in force until cancelled. If a principal (“person who needs a bond”) fails to renew the surety bond with a Continuation Certificate, the surety company is not liable to pay out claims on the bond.
A Continuation Certificate is essentially considered to be a surety bond, therefore all the provisions of law and regulations that pertain to surety bonds are therefore applied to the Continuation Certificate.
In some situations an original signed copy of the Continuation Certificate from the principal is required. A copy of the Continuation Certificate will not be accepted by state or municipal authorities.
How Technology is Changing Surety Bond Renewals
Some states have begun to verify the continuation of bond electronically. For example, the NY Individual Mortgage Loan Originator bond no longer requires loan originators to file an individual NY verification certificate for the bond portion of license renewal.
Now, surety companies issue proof of all active New York bonds directly to the state on behalf of their clients nationwide. This is done at the end of the year per the state’s request, and the surety has been processing verification this way for the last few years.
However, the state sometimes still requires principals to provide a Surety Bond Certification Form to show their loan volume and to make sure the size of their active bond is sufficient. Businesses grow over time and the state wants to ensure that bond coverage amounts grow to match the increased volume.
If you think you need a bond continuation certificate, contact the bonding company who issued your original bond.