Private Investigator Bond

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As a private investigator or agency, you play a crucial role in protecting the public and maintaining law and order. However, to operate legally, you must comply with specific state and federal regulations, which often include obtaining a private investigator bond.

What is a private investigator bond?

A private investigator bond is a license and permit bond that guarantees the conduct of private investigators/detectives and agencies in compliance with state and federal laws. It protects clients who may suffer losses because of illegal actions an investigator or a detective agency may take. These include violating a client’s privacy or failing to assist law enforcement when necessary.

In essence, a private investigator bond is a contract between three parties:

  • Principal (private investigator)
  • Obligee (government agency requiring the bond)
  • Surety company (financial institution that issues the bond)

This bond may go by other names, including private detective bond, detective agency bond, private investigator or security agency bond, and others.

Get Your Private Investigator Bond:

Quick Takeaways

  • Private investigator bonds ensure private investigators and agencies follow state and federal laws, regulations, and ethical standards. 
  • These bonds also provide a financial safety net for clients who may suffer financial loss due to a detective’s misconduct.
  • Private investigators could face bond claims if they violate state or federal laws, fail to fulfill their contractual obligations, or engage in unethical behavior.

Who needs a detective bond?

Many private investigators need this bond to obtain their license and operate legally in their state. The bond guarantees the public that the bondholder will conduct their business ethically and comply with state and federal laws and regulations. 

The following parties may also need this bond: 

  • Private investigative agencies
  • Private or protective security agencies
  • Investigative assistants
  • Security guards

In most states, the bond is required by the state licensing authority overseeing private investigators. The bond amount varies by state and is determined by the licensing authority. Keep in mind that investigators that handle sensitive cases, such as criminal or high-stakes corporate investigations, may be required to obtain a higher bond amount than those that don’t.

Why do you need this bond?

These bonds protect the public from fraudulent or unethical behavior on behalf of private investigators. They ensure private investigators follow state and federal laws, regulations, and ethical standards. Bonds also provide a financial safety net for clients who may suffer financial loss due to their private investigator’s misconduct.

How much do private investigator bonds cost?

The cost of this surety bond can vary depending on the state, the bond amount required, and the applicant’s credit history, experience, and financial standing. 

The state licensing authority typically determines the bond amount. You will pay a small percentage (called a premium) of the total bond amount to obtain your bond. 

  • For example, if you live in New York and need a $10,000 bond and your premium rate is 1%, you will pay $100.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Here is the general process of how to obtain a private investigator license in your state:

  • Check your state’s licensing requirements.
  • Complete the required training and education.
  • Apply for a license.
  • Undergo a background check.
  • Pass an exam that tests your knowledge of state laws and regulations governing private investigators.
  • Obtain your license and start practicing as a private investigator in your state.

Yes, but your bond premium will be higher.

Bondholders could face bond claims if they violate state or federal laws, fail to fulfill their contractual obligations, or engage in unethical behavior. The bond provides financial protection up to the total bond amount for individuals or businesses harmed by private investigators. When a claim is made, the surety bond company investigates it to determine its validity. 

If the claim is legitimate, the surety bond company will pay the claimant up to the full bond amount. The private investigator must reimburse the surety bond company for the amount paid. If the private investigator fails to repay the surety bond company, their bond may be canceled, and their license may be revoked.

How to Apply for Your Private Investigator Bond

ZipBonds offers the fastest and most secure option for getting the surety bonds you need. Our all-digital platform is intuitive and straightforward. Apply online or call us at (888) 435-4191 to get bonded in a flash!



Founders Ryan Swalve and Zach Mefferd formed the vision for 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.