What is a West Virginia auto dealer bond?
A West Virginia auto dealer bond (officially called a motor vehicle dealers bond) is a surety bond that protects the state and the public from financial harm. If a licensed auto dealer commits fraud or costs another party money by breaking the law, they could face claims against their surety bond. Claims can be costly to settle and damage a business’s reputation, so it’s best to avoid them.
West Virginia auto dealer bonds expire on June 30 every year. Be sure to renew your dealer license and surety bond annually before the expiration date to remain compliant in your state. Contact ZipBonds today to get bonded in a flash. You can call (888)-435-4191, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or apply online. Once you purchase and print your bond, you will need to sign and send it to the WV Division of Motor Vehicles at the following address:
- 5707 MacCorkle Ave SE
- Charleston, WV 25304
To renew your license, fill out a Dealer Renewal Application.
Get Your West Virginia Auto Dealer Bond:
Who needs a WV auto dealer bond?
If you plan to operate a new or used auto dealership in West Virginia – to purchase, sell, exchange, or fix motor vehicles – you will need this bond. Without it, you can’t become licensed to operate legally within the state. The bond ensures that you will conduct your business ethically and lawfully and pay all required taxes and fees to the state.
If you fall into any of the following categories (defined by WV Code Chapter 17A-1-1), you will need this bond in West Virginia:
- New motor vehicle dealer
- Used motor vehicle dealer
- Recreational vehicle dealer
- Factory-built home dealer
- Motorcycle dealer
- Trailer dealer
Repossession institutions, transporters, and manufacturers are excluded from this bonding requirement.
How to Get an Auto Dealer License in West Virginia
To become a licensed auto dealer in West Virginia, follow the instructions outlined by the DMV. Start by requesting the “minimum requirements handout” by calling (304) 926-0705. Next, schedule a pre-inspection of your auto dealership location with the office of dealer services. During the inspection, you’ll receive your license application packet.
You must include the following items along with your completed auto dealer license application:
- $25,000 motor vehicle dealer bond (form preview)
- 20/40/10 dealer liability insurance
- Photos of your dealership and sign (with letters at least 4 inches in height)
- A valid WV business license
- A receipt of personal property tax in the name of each owner or corporate officer or an affidavit from the county stating that you owe no taxes
- Garage agreement (if applicable)
- Franchise agreement (if applicable)
Once you submit your application to the WV DMV, an inspector will visit your dealership to fingerprint owners and corporate officers and gather signatures to collect background information. Dealers must pass criminal background checks, receive a letter of good standing from the tax department, and be approved by the bureau of employment programs for unemployment benefits and non-delinquency.
If all the above checks out, you will receive your auto dealer license certificate and plates.
Frequently Asked Questions
According to West Virginia Code Chapter 17A, auto dealer license applicants must submit a bond with their applications in a penal sum of $25,000. The bond becomes active on the date the license certificate is issued.
An auto dealer bond ensures that licensed auto dealers won’t practice fraud or commit fraudulent representation, causing financial losses for other parties. These other parties may include sellers, purchasers, financial institutions or agencies, or the state of West Virginia.
An auto dealer surety bond is a three-party agreement between an obligee, a principal, and a surety. The official name of this bond is called a West Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond.
- Obligee: West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- Principal: Motor vehicle dealer
- Surety: Financial institution that issues and backs the bond
If your auto dealership engages in fraudulent activities or breaks state laws, the party that loses money can file a claim against you. If the claim is valid, your surety will cover the costs to settle the claim upfront. You must later repay your surety in full (up to the bond amount of $25,000).
Auto dealer bond premiums can vary based on applicants’ credit scores: the higher your credit score, the lower your annual premium. Expect to pay as little as 1% or less of the full bond amount ($25,000) if you have excellent credit. Other factors that may impact the cost of your bond include your industry experience and business and personal financials.
Once you’ve purchased your motor vehicle dealer bond from a surety provider like ZipBonds, remember to renew it before its expiration date each year: June 30. If you’re buying your bond from us, we’ll send out a reminder each year when the expiration date is approaching. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to renew your bond and maintain your business license.
Get Your West Virginia Auto Dealer Bond
ZipBonds is the fastest and most secure way to get the bond you need. We take out the pain of long, complicated applications. Most of our bonds are approved and processed immediately. Get your auto dealer bond today by applying below – or call us directly, and we’d be glad to walk you through the process.
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.