Wisconsin Notary Handbook
DO I NEED TO BE BONDED?
A $500 surety bond is required for all applicants applying or reapplying for a four- year notary public commission. No bond is required for United States residents who are licensed to practice law in Wisconsin who are applying for permanent commissions. The surety bond is an insurance agreement making the surety legally liable to the party who is harmed, for up to $500 in damages caused by a notary’s misconduct or neglect in executing notarial acts. An issued “blanket bond” for employment purposes does not fulfill this obligation. A separate, specific bond in the amount of $500 is required by Wisconsin Statutes. Once filed with the Secretary of State’s office, your bond cannot be cancelled and will expire in four years with your notary commission. If you are sued for misconduct or neglect in your notarial duties, any damages beyond $500 are your personal responsibility.
HOW MAY I BE BONDED?
The surety bond must be provided by an insurance/surety company licensed to
write surety bonds in the State of Wisconsin.
The Secretary of State’s office cannot provide bonding and cannot recommend
companies who sell bonds. Some companies may be listed in the yellow pages of
the telephone book under “Notaries Public”, “Insurance Companies”, or “Bonds”.
WHAT IS A NOTARY BONDING AGENCY?
A notary bonding agency is an insurance company or division of any insurance
company, licensed to write fidelity insurance in the State of Wisconsin, that
specializes in selling notary bonds.
IF I AM SUED FOR MISCONDUCT OR NEGLECT, WILL MY BOND PROTECT
No! Your bond protects the parties injured by your misconduct, not you. You cannot collect the $500 from your bond. On proof of your misconduct, all or part of your bond would be awarded to the party suing you. In addition, the bond company might sue you to recover the money they had to pay out. REMEMBER, IF YOU’RE SUED, THE DAMAGES ARE YOUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!
WHAT IS AN “ERRORS AND OMISSIONS” POLICY?
An Errors and Omissions policy is optional insurance that protects you as a
notary public in the event you are sued. Your bond, on the other hand, protects
the public. You cannot collect the $500 from your bond for yourself if you are
sued, but an Errors and Omissions policy could help pay your legal fees and
damages. Most companies who sell notary bonds will have Errors and Omissions
policies available. Errors and Omissions policies are not filed with the Secretary
of State’s Office. Keep them in your own personal records.
Wisconsin Notary Law
...(d)Qualified applicants shall be notified by the secretary of state to take and
file the official oath and execute and file an official bond in the sum of $500, with a
surety executed by a surety company and approved by the secretary of state.