What Is a Bail Bond Premium?

A bail bonds premium is a non-refundable fee that bail agent services charge to manage the defendant and ensure they show up to all of the required court appearances. If the defendant doesn’t show up to court, his bail bond will end up as a forfeiture, which is the last thing you want to happen!

How Does A Bail Bond Work?

The court system will always set the amount of bail required for the defendant’s release. Under state law, a company may provide a “bail bond” which guarantees payment of the full bail amount to court if the defendant doesn’t show up for all scheduled appearances. Licensed bail service providers offer these bail bonds. Because they are providing pre-trial release services, bail service providers will charge a premium which is a percentage of the full bail amount, generally 10%.

What Is The Difference Between Bail Bond Amount and Premium?

A bail bonds amount is the full amount of the bail set by the court. The premium is the dollar amount the bail service provider charges for the pre-trial release service. Usually, this premium is 10% of the full bail amount. For example, If the bail amount was set at $25,000, you will pay a $2,500 premium to the bail agency prior to the release of the defendant. This amount is always rendered upon the release of the defendant and is non-refundable, even if the case gets dismissed or no charges are filed. The bail bondsman earns the premium upon the defendant being in jail.

Can A Bail Agent Discount The Fees Of The Premium?

The rate you pay the bail agent entirely depends on the state’s statutes and regulations. For example, in some states, there are some companies that may legally charge 8%, even though the allowable premium is set at 10% for others and no less. If there is ever a company that agrees to discount their fee, they will lose their license, and the business will be shut down. Some companies try to lead you into believing that you will receive a discount, but in the end, they will actually charge you the full amount. Make sure you always ask to see a rate chart if you feel you are being wrongly charged.

What is a Bail Bond Annual Premium?

Some agencies require the consumer to pay the bail bond premium more than once if their case continues any longer than one year; it’s called an “annual premium.” Some bail bonds companies don’t, but that can save you thousands of dollars in premium payments, particularly with any severe felony cases where bail amounts are relatively high and can last several years.

As an example, if bail bond professionals had posted a massive $500,000 bond for a defendant in a case in 2006 for grand theft and other related charges. And in November 2011, the defendant’s case was still awaiting trial. If the family goes to a bail bond company that charges the one-time annual fee, they will save thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that is to keep the defendant out of jail pending trial.


Oftentimes, the state’s Department of Insurance sets bail premiums. Check with your state and figure it out because there are several states that don’t set a specific maximum bail premium, but they require a bail bonds company to have an approved rate on file, one that isn’t excessive or unfair. There are also multiple states that don’t allow private bail. You must go through jail systems for bail in the no-bail states, there is no other way.