What is a Florida auto dealer bond?
The State of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) requires new and used auto dealers to be licensed and bonded. The Florida Statutes outline the state’s requirements for auto dealers.
- Those licensed to sell new vehicles in the state must post a Franchise Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond for $25,000.
- Those licensed to sell used vehicles must post an Independent Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond for $25,000.
An auto dealer bond holds dealers and dealerships accountable to the law and industry regulations. If a dealer causes a customer financial harm by breaking the law, the customer can file a claim against the bond for compensation.
Get Your Auto Dealer Bond:
What does a Florida auto dealer bond cost?
Auto dealer bond premiums can vary based on applicants’ credit scores: the higher your credit score, the lower your annual premium. If you have excellent credit, expect to pay as little as 1% or less of the total bond amount. Other factors that may impact the cost of your bond include your industry experience and business and personal financials. ZipBonds can offer $25,000 Florida motor vehicle dealer bonds for as low as $250.
Who needs an auto dealer bond in Florida?
To apply for the following license types, you will need a surety bond:
- Motor vehicle dealers: You must obtain a dealer license in Florida if you buy, sell, offer for sale, display for sale, or deal in three or more motor vehicles in any 12 months. See form 86020.
- Mobile home or RV dealers: You must obtain a dealer license in Florida if you buy, sell, offer for sale, display for sale, or deal in one or more RVs or mobile homes in any 12 months. RV dealers must use form 86019, and mobile home dealers must use form 86018.
Why are these bonds required?
The Florida Statutes require auto dealers to post bonds and abide by their terms while operating their businesses. If they break the law by committing any violations outlined in Chapter 319 or 320, they could be guilty of a misdemeanor and have their license denied, suspended, or revoked.
Surety bonds hold bondholders accountable to the law. If the bondholder (in this case, the auto dealer) breaks the law, they could face bond claims up to $25,000.
How to Get Your Florida Auto Dealer License
Follow this general process to apply for your motor vehicle dealer license online:
- Complete any pre-license requirements (listed on the FLHSMV website). These include obtaining a sales tax number, completing a training class, fingerprinting, and obtaining a Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN).
- Submit an application with all required documents and a fee to a regional office.
- Provide proof of insurance.
- Provide an original surety bond (or irrevocable line of credit).
- Submit proof of registration.
- Show proof of dealer training (a copy of your certificate of completion).
- Provide a copy of your lease agreement.
- Provide proof of electronic fingerprinting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since this bond requires underwriting, we can’t issue it to you instantly. However, the ZipBonds team always strives to deliver your bond to you within 24 hours of application.
The FDHSMV regulates licensing and bonding for the motor vehicle industry in Florida. If you have any questions concerning your license, see the Locations section of their website to find contact information for an office near you.
You must renew your bond each year by a specific date for it to remain active (and for you to maintain your business license).
- Used vehicle dealers (independent) must renew by April 30.
- New vehicle dealers (franchises) must renew by December 31.
If you’re buying your bond from Zip, we’ll send a reminder when the expiration date is approaching. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to renew your bond and maintain your business license.
A customer can file a claim if a dealer commits fraud or unethical or unlawful business activity. If the claim is valid, the surety may cover the customer’s losses up to the total amount of the bond. The dealer will then need to pay back the surety for the damages.
Claims can be costly and damage your reputation and ability to get licensed and bonded again, so it’s best to do everything you can to avoid them.
Avoid illegal activities and fraudulent business practices to prevent claims on your bond. Pay all taxes you owe. Also, ensure you comply with your licensing regulations. If a customer complains about something, address the issue immediately to avoid complaints from turning into costly claims.
How to Get Your Florida Auto Dealer Bond
ZipBonds offers the fastest and most secure option for getting auto dealer bonds. Our all-digital platform is intuitive and straightforward. Apply online or call us at (888) 435-4191 to speak with an agent directly. Many of our bonds can be processed and issued immediately online.
Founders Ryan Swalve and Zach Mefferd formed the vision for ZipBonds.com when they realized how overly complicated it was to help clients place surety. The frustration of being unable to incorporate the technology they’d used in other insurance-focused projects left them thinking “there has to be a better way.”
Fast forward a couple of years, and that better way is the impetus of everything we do at ZipBonds. We constantly look for innovative ways to improve the bonding process for our clients and agents. Our team comprises individuals who understand all angles of surety – for companies, agencies, and individuals. Incorporating everyone’s point of view to improve the process while simultaneously integrating cutting-edge technology is what sets our business apart.