How to Be a Bail Bondsman in Michigan

Michigan requires insurance company sponsorship for bail bondsmen.
Michigan requires insurance company sponsorship for bail bondsmen. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Bail bondsmen work as agents of insurance companies to post bonds for people in jail. The bail bondsman makes a financial arrangement with the court to secure the release of the jailed suspect. Bail bonds are a type of insurance called surety bonds that are posted on behalf of a suspect to guarantee that the released suspect will appear in court as directed. Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs enforces regulations for the required licensing of bail bondsmen. The state’s Insurance Bureau and Business One Stop office perform roles in enforcing registration and licensing requirements for bail bondsmen.

Contact an insurance company to sponsor you for a bail bondsmen license and for information about the requirements.

Complete the 80-hour course and pass the exam required for licensing as a bail bondsmen. This information is provided by your sponsoring insurance company.

Apply for and obtain the required lines of authority for surety and fidelity, which include bail bonds. Michigan requires a line of authority for surety and for limited or full property and casualty, or P&C, lines of authority. You must also secure active surety and surety appointment from your sponsoring insurance company.

Obtain the application to apply for bail bondsmen licensing. Your insurance company sponsor will provide the application.

Request that your insurance company sponsor contact the Michigan Insurance Bureau to register you as a bail bondsmen. Only the sponsor may make this contact and perform the registration.

Contact the courts in each county where you intend to write bonds and ask how to apply for inclusion on the court’s list of acceptable bail bondsmen. Each chief justice and judge decides for his court which bail bondsmen are included on the list of acceptable bail bondsmen. Each jurisdiction determines its requirements, forms and processes, which includes court approval of character and finances.

Tips & Warnings

  • Find a solid "A" rated insurance company to back your bonds.
  • Clean up your credit first. The insurance company will want almost perfect credit before they will give you a contract.
  • This business is not for the faint-hearted. It can be a very rewarding business and it can be a very time consuming business that can make you broke in a hurry! The vast majority of people who get into this business without any prior experience will find it is very difficult. If you want to do it successfully, you will also need to spend an enormous amount of money in advertising.
  • It is important that you know that this business is not like it has been portrayed television or in the movies!

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