Best Contractor Bonding Companies

TLDR: Whether you are new to the contractor trade or have been in the business for a long time, contractor bond is required for your license. One of the questions that have been asked a lot by contractors is what companies should they choose. Contractor Bonding Companies can be referred to both independent agencies and contractor bond carriers. This article will explore the question for both independent agencies as well as contractor bond carriers. Generally, a contractor bond company can be judged in terms of price, customer service, and financing options. 

Top contractor bonding carriers

We chose the top contractor bonding companies from a field of dozens by selecting companies that excel in a given category. Just like with other types of insurance, the best surety carrier for another contractor may not be the best for you. For example, some contractors may have a high credit score which makes them a perfect applicant for company A but another contractor with a low credit score will never be accepted by company A. 

Below are the top 5 picks for contractor bonding carriers.

Hudson Insurance Group: Best for Contractors with 700+ credit score

Hudson Surety is a subsidiary of Hudson Insurance Group, which is a specialty insurance company headquartered in New York City. Since 2007, Hudson Surety has been providing a broad range of Surety Bonds in all 50 states. With offices in CA, Hudson can respond to any surety bond underwriting requirement in a timely manner. It offers the best rate at 0.55% for contractors with a good credit score (700+) and no prior claims. From our experience, it beats any competitor in terms of pricing. If your credit score is above 700, you can get a one-year bond for as low as $100. 

In addition to the most affordable rates that Hudson offers, they also have some of the most experienced underwriters, most with over 20 years of experience in the industry. 

CNA Surety: Best for contractors with lower than 650 credit score

CNA Surety, formed as a result of CNA Financial Corporation acquiring Western Surety in 1992, is one of the largest surety companies in the country. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and has 100 years of history writing surety bonds, thereby making it one of the oldest surety carriers. It also has a network of 40,000+ agencies across the country, making it one of the most prolific providers of contractor bonds. As a subdivision within CNA Insurance, CNA Surety is blessed with the financial strength of the behemoth CNA Insurance. Because of this financial strength, CNA Surety offers the most competitive rate for contractors with a lower credit score (lower than 650). Oftentimes, even if the candidates had some issues in their credit (i.e., missed payment), CNA Surety can still accept the applicant and offer a relatively competitive rate whereas other surety companies probably will decline the same candidate. 

Merchant Bonding Company: Best for digital experience 

With over 90 years of experience, Merchant Bonding Company is one of the few insurance companies specializing in surety bonds. Even though Merchant is not the largest issuer of contractor bonds, it has an outstanding digital platform for e-bonding. All California Contractor License Bonds can be e-filed online using an easy-to-use digital platform. Once your bond is filed to the Contractor State Licensing Board of California, Merchant’s digital platform will inform you through email, giving you peace of mind. However, Merchant Bonding Company’s focus is on the contractor license & permit bonds but does not offer much contract bonds such as bid bonds, performance bonds, payment bonds, maintenance bonds, and supply bonds. 

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American Contractors Indemnity Company: Best for financing options

Acquired by HCC in 2003, American Contractor Indemnity Company, as the name suggests, is a specialty carrier that provides surety bonds to the construction industry. Headquartered in Los Angeles, American Contractor Indemnity Company was the biggest issuer of California contractor license bonds in 2022. It is a part of Tokio Marine HCC

Contractor bond prices have gone up significantly over the years, especially California contractor bonds. As a result, financing options make life easier for contractors. American Contractors Indemnity Company offers a 20% down payment and 9 subsequent monthly payments to pay for contractor bond premium. 

Philadelphia Insurance: Best for contractors with non-standard credit (below 550)

Headquartered in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Insurance Companies offered a wide range of commercial Property/Casualty and Professional Liability insurance products. Surety Bonds is a small part of its overall business. It is rated “A++ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, which makes it one of the few surety companies to earn this honor, reflecting its financial strength. Due to this financial strength, Philadelphia Insurance offers contractor bonds for contractors with sub-standard (550-600) and non-standard (below 550) credit scores. 

Other Determinants of Best Contractor Bond Companies

Financial strength

  • The strength of the balance sheet of the insurance carrier. An insurance carrier with a strong balance sheet can withstand financial stress and claim can be paid on time
  • There are many rating agencies but AM Best is the most famous American credit agency focusing on the insurance industry. There is typically a difference in the rating of bonding companies. For example, Merchant Bonding Company was rated A (excellent) whereas Philadelphia Insurance Company was rated “A++ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, highest rating possible 

External Reviews

  • Small Business Administration also publishes annual report on the best surety companies and agencies, such as the best surety companies

Customer Service

  • When a customer calls the insurance company general helpline, he or she expects the call to be picked up by a professional, knowledgeable and attentive customer service agent. Not every company is up to the standard

Top Contractor Bonding Agency

After talking about insurance carriers, we should also talk about the independent agencies. Unlike carriers who underwrite policies, agencies distribute the policies written by carriers to individuals wanting to be insured. Agencies are generally the only party that contractors directly interact with so it is important that contractors are working with a knowledgeable and trustworthy agency

Determinants of the best contractor bonding agencies

Customer service

  • The time it takes for the agency to respond to a quote request: there is a big discrepancy between some agencies which responds within minutes to a quote request versus others which don’t respond a few days later
  • The time it takes for contractor to be bonded: some agencies can get a contractor bonded right after payment while others are much slower 
  • Customer support post purchase: many contractors have questions about their bond even after purchase in areas such as claim management, bond changes, etc. Some agencies are more helpful than others post bond purchase

Bond premium price 

  • Some agencies negotiate wholesale rates with carriers: some carriers have multiple rates for the same bond. Generally, a strong agency can negotiate a cheaper wholesale rates with carriers
  • Some agencies have low operating costs so they can offer more discounts on bonds to customers

Knowledge about the industry

  • Deep knowledge about the contractor bonding industry helps ensure that contractors will obtain a bond that is accepted by the obligee requiring the bond, i.e., California Contractor State Licensing Board for California Contractor License Bonds. 
  • Some agencies sell many insurance products whereas others specialize in surety bonds. Those who specialize in surety bonds tend to have more expertise and can offer more discounts

The online quoting / bonding platform

  • A website easy to use also makes it easy for contractors to obtain a quote

Best Contractor Bonding Agency Goes To...SuretyNow

Unrivaled customer service

  • Backed by hundreds of five star reviews by contractors, SuretyNow offers the best customer service trusted by contractors 
  • SuretyNow is open 7:30am PST to 7:30pm PST seven days a week. We are always open to serve you. 
  • SuretyNow has a response time of 30 minutes. Any quote request submitted will be answered within 30 mins with a text and email. 
  • Once the customer has paid the bond premium, SuretyNow will get the customer bonded within 30 minutes
  • Customer service does not end after bond purchase. SuretyNow’s toll free line is always open to our customers for claims, questions, and other inquiries
  • Our staff speaks both Spanish and English, making service easier for any contractor

Offer the lowest price in the industry 

  • We work with 10+ surety carriers that offer competitive rates
  • Regardless of your credit score, we can always find the best rate for you from one of our 10+ carriers
  • Given the large volume of surety bonds we produce, we can negotiate discounted wholesale rates with our carriers. Therefore,we can always pass on the discount to our customers 

Deep expertise in the bonding and contractor industry

  • Our company is backed by insurance tech experts with decades of experience in the industry
  • The staff of our company has experience working as contractors and working with contractors. We understand the needs of contractors 
  • Not only do we specialize in surety bonds but also we have expertise in contractor bonds. For example, for the state of California, we have deep knowledge in all five different contractor bonds
  • We worked with specific staff at the California Contractor State Licensing Board so we know where to find help if needs be in the most efficient way

Quoting platform is the state of the art, easiest to use website in the industry

  • Our tech team has many years of experience working for Indeed and Google. We built the easiest to use quoting / bonding platform
  • Our online platform has the shortest quote form in the industry so you can get a quote in 3 minutes

Glossary of Terms

Surety Agency: a company that provides surety bonds to individuals, businesses, and other organizations on behalf of the surety carriers. Most of the time, surety carriers won’t sell surety bonds directly to end users

Surety Carrier: a company that underwrites surety bonds. Surety carriers are typically insurance companies that specialize in providing surety bonds to businesses and individuals.