How to become a notary public

A notary is an official appointed position by the Secretary of State’s office in a given state. As with many public officials, the State requires that the person obtain a surety or notary bond prior to getting their commission. This bond “makes sure” that if the official violates the public trust through neglect of their duties, funds are available to reimburse the State for its loss.

The primary responsibility of notaries is to ensure that the individual parties to an agreement are who they say they are. The State can experience a loss if the notary fails to correctly confirm the identity of each party.

As a public official, the notary violates the public good by failing in their responsibility to validate identity. If a Connecticut notary public doesn’t verify identity and a loss occurs, an injured party might file a claim with that State for their loss, since the State was negligent through its appointed officer.

A surety bond is a guarantee of payment to the obligee (the State) when losses occur for the limit of the bond. Notary bonds are often provided by a surety company (typically an insurance company). The bond usually runs concurrently with the term of the notary’s commission.

You’re probably familiar with a truck insurance policy. If a person has an Indiana auto insurance loss, the insurance carrier pays the loss and writes off the loss. You aren’t asked to reimburse the carrier for the damages. Unlike a truck insurance policy however, a notary bond is simply a guarantee that the finances will be available should losses occur. The surety (insurance company) pays the State up to the penalty amount of the bond. However, this claim paid by the surety is not simply written off. The company will most likely seek reimbursement from the bonded person, the notary themself.

A notary bond protects the public. Who protects the notary? Insurance coverage is available to provide this protection – it’s called Notary Errors and Omissions and may also be obtained for a nominal fee from insurance carriers.

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