Most people are familiar with bail bonds. Someone arrested on a criminal charge may be held until trial, unless they furnish the required bail. The posting of a bail bond acquired by or on behalf of the incarcerated person is one means of meeting the required bail. When a bond is issued, the bonding company guarantees that the defendant will appear in court at a given time and place. The Government entity (state or federal) in whose court the defendant must appear, is protected by the bond. If the defendant fails to appear, the bond amount becomes payable and is forfeited as a penalty by the surety insurer issuing the bond. Bail bonds usually require collateral (cash, a deed, or other property) to protect the surety.
Bail bonds are issued by licensed "Bail Agents" who specialize in their underwriting and issuance. Bail agents act as the appointed representatives of licensed surety insurance companies.