Common Terms in Bail Bond Transactions
Indemnitor. A person, such as a friend or family member, who signs a bail contract, pays the premium, or pledges the collateral is called an indemnitor.
Principal. A defendant also is sometimes referred to as a principal.
Bond Amount. The bond amount is the amount of bail set by the court for a bail bond. In New York, courts must set at least two types of bail. While courts have other options, they most often set an amount for cash bail and an amount for a bail bond. The cash amount is generally lower (often half) the amount set for a bail bond.
Premium is the amount charged by an insurance company for a bail bond. The premium includes all costs associated with the bail bond, including, but not limited to, the release of the defendant from jail, any check-ins or monitoring, preparing the bond and any liens or filings
Collateral is the money or property pledged to secure the issuance of the bail bond. The indemnitor will lose the money or property if the defendant does not appear in court. However, if the defendant makes all court appearance, the collateral must be returned to the person who pledged or paid it. The collateral may not be used by the bail agent to cover any of the bail agent’s expenses.