Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond

Complete Guide to Bonding a Car Dealership

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How to Get an Auto Dealer Surety Bond

Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Dealer Bonds Explained

Posting and maintaining a valid motor vehicle dealer bonds is a requirement for all dealers in the state of Pennsylvania. Also known as auto dealer, these types of surety bonds ensure that dealers comply with applicable state laws, and will not use fraudulent practices in their business.

Posting a motor vehicle dealer bonds is mandatory for new and used-car dealers, as well as for vehicle salvors, full agents, manufacturers, and people engaged in messenger services.

It’s important not to get auto dealer bonds confused with insurance. In fact, surety bonds are a protection to car buyers, not your business. If you are found in violation of a law, you might be liable for a sum up to the total value of the surety bond.

Here’s the bonding requirement for all types of dealers in a nutshell:

Bond Name: Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle/Full Agent/Salvor/Messenger Service Bond

Total Value:

Messenger Service Bond - $50,000
Full agent Bond - $30,000
Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond - $20,000
Salvor Bond - $10,000


Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Regulated Client Services
PO Box 68283
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8283

Expiration date: Continuous, needs to be renewed annually

Keep reading for more useful information on auto dealer bonds in the state. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at (877) 514-5146.

Questions about Auto Dealer Bond in Pennsylvania

How Much Does a Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond Cost?

The total values of the bond mentioned above refer to the maximum compensation a dealer may have to pay in case of a valid claim, but they are not the amount required from them in order to get the bond they need.

Instead, motor vehicle dealer bonds are paid for in annual premiums. They can be as little as 1% - 3% of the total bond value if the applicant has good credit. Surety bond companies consider credit score very important for the underwriting process. They can also consider other factors, such as the applicant’s financial strength or industry experience. Here is a breakdown of bonding cost based on credit score.

Auto Dealer Bond Cost Based on Credit Score
Surety Bond Name Surety bond amount Above 700 Between 650-699 Between 600-649 Below 599
Salvor Bond $10,000 $100-$150 $100-$300 $250-$500 $500-$1,000
Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond and Manufacturer Bond $20,000 $150-$300 $200-$600 $500-$1,000 $1,000-$2,000
Full Agent Bond $30,000 $250-$500 $300-$900 $750-$1,500 $1,500-$3,000
Messenger Service Bond $50,000 $375-$750 $500-$1,500 $1,250-$2,500 $2,500-$5,000

* This table provides a ballpark estimate of potential bond costs. Bond pricing can fluctuate over time due to a number of factors. For exact pricing, please complete an application.

If you wish to learn more about how your rates are determined, check out our What Does a Surety Bond Cost? page.

Can I get an auto dealer bond if I have bad credit?

Applicants with bad credit, no credit history, or other issues in their report are considered higher risk for bond underwriters, which is why they usually pay higher premiums, generally between 4% and 10%. Certain applicants can have a hard time getting bonded.

Lance Surety Bonds has an exclusive bad credit bonding program to make sure you still get your bond at the lowest possible rates, and by the same strong underwriters. Our surety bond experts will also give personalized advice on what to include in your application in order to make it stronger.

How do I apply for a Pennsylvania motor vehicle dealer bond?

Applying for your surety bond has never been easier. All you have to do is submit our online application, where you will be asked to select the type of bond and its total value, as well as some complementary information about your business.

We will be in touch with you with a free no-obligations bond quote, along with assistance on completing the rest of the application process. The bond underwriter will ask you to sign an indemnity agreement.

Processing times can vary, but it usually takes no more than a few business days to get your bond ready after the payment of your premium.

How do I renew my surety bond?

Motor vehicle dealer bonds in Pennsylvania need to be renewed yearly in order for you dealer license to remain in force. The renewal process is quick and easy.

For all of our clients, we send several reminders ahead of the deadline, so you can focus on your business and not legal compliance. You can expect more or less the same premium, although changes in your credit report of financial statements can also be factored in so you can get an even lower renewal quote.

How do I get a Pennsylvania dealer license?

There are a number of important requirements that you need to fulfill in order to successfully file your application. Here is a brief overview:

  • Proof of zoning compliance
  • Certificate of Occupancy from the Department of Labor and Industry
  • Ownership or lease documentation for your business premises
  • Photographs of your premises and business lot
  • Payment of all applicable fees
  • Submission of a criminal and background check
  • Submission of the original bond form

Don’t forget to contact the Department of State for a full list of pre-licensing requirements. You can also consult our blog post on the topic of getting licensed in Pennsylvania.

What happens if there is a claim against my dealership?

You need to read the bond language, as well as all applicable legislation, thoroughly in order to run your business in such a way so as to avoid a claim. You should also hold regular training session for your salespeople and other staff.

The importance of avoiding claims cannot be stressed enough. They can be detrimental to the reputation of your business and cost you a lot in terms of money and time. If you get into a dispute with a client, attempt to settle it out of court.

If this is not a possible scenario, make sure you keep all documentation and communication with the client. The surety bond company may ask you to present it, and if they believe you have the stronger case, they may help you argue against the claimant.

Still Have Questions? Check Our FAQ Pages

What Our Clients Have To Say?

  • Kimberlee Ables
    Quick response times and turn around for issuing bonds. Great customer service and very knowledgeable. We have used Lance Surety multiple times and have never been disappointed. Highly recommend them and Collette!
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