Bonds & Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

The following answers to frequently asked questions illuminate exactly how E&O Insurance works to protect the personal assets of Notaries Public.

What is Notary E&O Insurance?

Errors and Omissions (E&O) is an insurance policy that protects an individual Notary’s financial assets in the event that a document signer or party relying on a notarial act is injured by the Notary’s error or omission.

Notaries, like other professionals such as lawyers, accountants, architects and doctors, have an exposure to liability for the services they perform. In the case of Notaries, state statutes uniformly affirm that a Notary has unlimited financial liability to the public harmed by an error or omission committed by the Notary.

What does E&O Insurance cover?

E&O, as the name implies, covers both errors and omissions. Generally speaking, E&O Insurance covers a mistake made by a Notary that causes financial harm to a document signer or relying party. A mistake can be an “error” – an act the Notary should not have done. A mistake can also be an “omission” – an act left undone that the Notary should have performed. Both can cause financial harm and the Notary should be protected against both.

It is important to note that E&O Insurance covers only unintentional or negligent errors and omissions; E&O Insurance will not cover intentional errors or acts.

An E&O policy provided through the NNA will cover losses that must be paid to a party injured by the Notary’s error or omission, as well as defense costs incurred in investigating, defending or settling liability up to the policy limit.

What is my exposure to risk if I always follow the rules and never do anything wrong?

As the famous saying goes, “To err is human.” No Notary, however diligent and well-intended, is immune from making a mistake. And, the fact that you have not made an error or omission when notarizing until now doesn’t mean that in the future you might not make one.

Even if you never make a mistake, a signers or parties relying on a notarial act you performed may allege that you made an error or mistake that harmed them. They could still file a claim with your insurance company or name you in a lawsuit. At the end of the claim process or lawsuit you may be found to have done nothing wrong, but you may be left with defense costs and legal expenses that you incurred in representing and defending yourself in the case. E&O Insurance will cover these legal expenses, even if a claim is denied or a jury acquits you of liability.

Do I need insurance if I have a bond?

Yes, you need insurance precisely because you do have a bond. A bond is a form of consumer protection; it protects those harmed by your actions, but it does not protect you. If a claim is paid out of your bond, your surety company will come after you for reimbursement.

However, if you have E&O Insurance, your insurance will reimburse the surety company for any claims paid on the bond resulting from the Notary’s unintentional error or omission. E&O Insurance is true protection for the Notary

How much E&O Insurance do I need?

The answer to this question is based on each individual Notary’s personal situation and assessment of personal risk. Other factors to be considered when determining how much insurance you need are how often and what types of documents you notarize.

Generally speaking, however, if the Notary is commissioned in a state that requires a Notary bond, it makes sense to at least obtain an E&O policy that will cover the amount of the bond. The NNA also offers higher E&O policy limits that provide increased protection at very affordable rates.

When do I pay the premium for E&O Insurance?

NNA Notary insurance policies may be obtained for the duration of the full term of commissioning or in yearly terms. You pay the premium at the time the policy is purchased.

Will NNA E&O Insurance cover me when I’m no longer a Notary?

Yes, if you had a policy in force at the time you committed the error or omission, then your policy will cover you even if you are no longer a Notary or have terminated your insurance policy, provided the action against your policy is commenced within the applicable statute of limitations period.

Some E&O policies offered by other insurers are “claims-made” policies. This means that in order to remain covered, you must continue to purchase and hold insurance, paying for a “tail” policy well after the time you are a commissioned Notary. The minute you terminate your policy, you are no longer covered even if you had a policy at the time the act or omission was committed. NNA E&O policies are not claims-made policies.

Are defense costs covered inside or outside of the policy limit?

With most NNA E&O Insurance policies, defense costs are covered inside of the policy limit. This means that the total sum the insurer will cover is the stated policy limit. So, if you have a $25,000 policy, $25,000 is the most the insurer will pay for all losses related to the claim or all claims.

Is there a deductible to pay before my E&O policy kicks in?

No. Unlike car insurance, there is no deductible that must be satisfied before insurance pays on a claim. Unlike medical insurance, there are no co-pays to cover. The only payment you make is the policy premium to activate the policy at the beginning of the policy term.

Who underwrites NNA Notary E&O Insurance?

Insurance policies are underwritten by Merchants Bonding Company (Mutual), Des Moines, Iowa. Pennsylvania E&O policies are underwritten by Nations Bonding Company, Austin, Texas, a subsidiary of Merchants Bonding Company (Mutual). The agent for all policies is NNA Insurance Services, Inc.

Merchants Bonding Company is among the top 20 largest surety writers in the United States, with over seven decades of service.

Merchants has achieved an “A” (excellent) rating with A.M. Best for over 50 consecutive years.

Purchasing E&O Insurance is an important safety measure that protects you from a mistake or an outright false claim. You can also purchase E&O insurance as part of a complete Notary Supply Package to become a Notary Public or to renew your Notary commission.

Choosing the right coverage is important. If you have questions or want more options, please give us a call at 1-800-US NOTARY (1-800-876-6827).

Bonds, seals and other custom items with expedited shipping must be placed with a Customer Care representative and will be shipped separately. Please call 1-800-US-NOTARY to place your expedited custom item order.


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