In North Carolina, any individual or business operating as a used motor vehicle dealer must acquire a motor vehicle dealer license from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. As part of that licensing process, dealers must obtain a surety bond.
A surety bond is a three-party contract between the principal (the dealer), the obligee (the NC DMV), and the surety company that issues the bond.
The North Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealer Surety Bond (also called an auto dealer bond or car dealer bond) ensures that the public can receive compensation if the licensed dealer fails to abide by their licensing regulations and state laws.
Essentially, the surety company guarantees compensation for legitimate claims against the dealer’s bond. The licensed dealer is ultimately responsible for reimbursing the surety for all claims paid out, plus additional fees and expenses incurred by the surety. For example, if the dealer commits a fraudulent act, therefore, violating either the terms of their license or state laws, and that act causes injury to someone (e.g., a car buyer), the injured party can file a claim against the dealer’s bond. The surety will investigate the claim, determine if it is valid and compensate the injured party for damages up to the bond amount. A surety bond differs from typical insurance in that the principal is responsible for paying back the surety company for claims.
The bond serves as a licensing requirement, as the North Carolina Vehicle Dealer License is mandatory to operate legally in the state. So, any person or entity who sells, advertises, leases, or arranges the sale of at least five motor vehicles annually in North Carolina must secure a motor vehicle dealer bond. Dealers of new and used motor vehicles in North Carolina are expected to meet the same minimum requirements for each of their locations.
A North Carolina auto dealer should obtain a bond amount of $50,000 for a single business location. Plus, an additional $25,000 for each successive business location. This may seem costly, but the dealers do not need to pay the total bond amount. Sureties only require dealers to pay a percentage of the bond amount (a premium) to get bonded.
Many factors affect the premium, including your credit score, industry experience, and business financials. We have seen well-qualified dealers with optimal financials quoted rates around 0.75% to 1% of their bond amount.
If you are worried about getting a quote because of nonstandard credit, we encourage you to apply anyway. At EZ Surety Bonds, we work with several surety companies to find the most competitive price available to you. Applying for your quote is free, and the credit check will not hurt your score.
The obligee, or the entity that requires you to obtain the auto dealer bond, is the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can find their contact information below:
North Carolina Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles
License and Theft Bureau Dealer Unit
3129 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697
With EZ Surety Bonds, our bond applications are quick and easy, no matter the bond type. Apply for your free quote by filling out our short online application form, and you’ll hear from one of our surety experts regarding your quote within 24 hours.
How to become a licensed dealer in North Carolina
To obtain a motor vehicle dealer license in North Carolina, applicants must:
Before the North Carolina DMV can issue your license, the License and Theft Bureau must inspect your established salesroom or office. For more detailed information about licensing, visit the North Carolina Department of Transportation how-to information guide for dealerships.
How much is a Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond in North Carolina?
How much your bond costs will primarily depend on your credit and business financials. Applicants with optimal finances and experience may see quotes starting as low as .75% to 1% of their bond amount. The North Carolina Motor Vehicle Bond requires a bond amount of $50,000 for a single business location with an additional $25,000 for every successive business location. Complete the quick application form on our website to get your free quote.
After I purchase my bond, what do I do?
After purchasing your bond, we will mail the original document to you. Most obligees require that you file the original bond with them directly. However, some obligees accept electronic copies. Because the bond filing requirements for every obligee differ, check with your obligee before doing anything with your bond.
You’ll know if you need a surety bond because some entity will have required you to obtain one. They must also inform you of which specific bond type you’ll need. There are thousands of bonds across the country, all of which vary by state and industry.
Visit EZSuretyBonds.com to browse hundreds of bonds by state, type, or industry.