To apply for a bail bond, you pay a percentage of the total bail amount to a bondsman, and they post the rest for you. But to qualify for a bail bond, you’ll need some form of collateral. You can offer something of value that the bondsman can use to get their money back if you decide to skip town.
But unfortunately, many people don’t realize the options available to them. Read on to discover three surprising collateral items that can help you post bail.
1. Your Home
If you own your home outright or have equity, you can use your house as collateral for a bail bond. The bail bondsman will then put a lien on your home. This way, if you don’t show up for your court date, they can take ownership of your home.
This option is a good idea if you have a lot of equity in your home. A licensed bail bond agent will want to be sure that they can sell the house and recoup their losses. But if you don’t have much equity or still haven’t paid off your mortgage, this option might not be for you.
To use your home as collateral, you must be the legal owner of the property. The property value must also be enough to cover the bail amount. If your home meets these conditions, your bail application process might be successful.
However, if you fail to appear for your court date, the bail bondsman has a right to foreclose on your property to recoup the bail money. As such, you should take time to think things through before you use your home as collateral.
2. Your Car
When you put up your car as collateral, the bail bond company can take your vehicle if you don’t show up for your court date. While this consequence might seem like a risky proposition, your car can actually be an effective way to secure bail.
The bail bond company will hold your car as collateral with the expectation that you’ll honor your end of the bargain. This system provides an incentive for you to show up in court and gives the bail bond company a way to get their money back if you don’t.
However, your car’s value has to be enough to cover the entire bail amount upfront. Your bail bond agent will likely consult a car appraisal company to determine how much your car is worth. If your vehicle is worth less than the bail amount, you might still be able to post bail if you sign over your car’s title to the bail bondsman. You also have to agree to make monthly payments until you pay off the total amount.
Remember that if you default on these payments, the bail bondsman could repossess your car. Therefore, you should only use your car as collateral as a last resort.
3. Your Savings
Most people don’t know that they can use their savings account funds as collateral for a bail bond. This strategy help you stay away from jail in a few different ways. You can use a cashier’s check or money order from your savings account to pay the bail bond company directly. The bail bondsman will then hold the funds as collateral until you see out your case.
Another option is to get a loan from the bank against the savings account funds and use that money to pay the bail bond company. In this case, the bail bondsman will list the bank as collateral on the bond.
Some bail bond companies also allow you to use the funds in your savings account as collateral even if you don’t pay them anything upfront. In this case, the bail bond company would just need to have the account information so they could access the funds if they need to. If you don’t show up for your court date, the bail bond company can take the money out of your savings account to cover the bail amount.
Whether or not you should use your savings account as collateral for a bail bond depends on a few factors. You’d have to make sure you have enough money in your savings account to cover the full bail amount. In addition, if you have a high interest rate on your savings account, you might not want to tie up those funds and use them as collateral for a bail bond.
If you or a loved one is in jail and doesn’t have the full bail amount, remember that you have other options to help you post bail. These collateral items can help you post bail and avoid jail until your court date. Just make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each option before you decide. For more information, contact our team at All Star Bail Bonds.