A bail bond is a guarantee with financial implications that an individual who has been released from detention would be present in court to hear charges at a specified date and time.
Should the specified individual be absent at the required time, which is commonly known as jumping bail, the monetary value of the bail bond would be forfeited.
This financial penalty is often severe enough to discourage any person to skip their required attendance in court.
Sometimes, a lack of required funds for bail means that a bail bond agent is hired to help the accused get out of jail until trail.
For example, if bail is set at $10,000 and the defendant does not have enough money for the bail, a bail bond agent (or bondsman) can be hired to pay the money first. The agent charges a fee of maybe 10%-15%. Upon the appearance in court, the bail money is returned to the agent and he pockets the fees that was charged to the client.
Bail bond coverage in insurance policies
Bail bond liability is a benefit usually found in auto insurance policies and travel insurance policies. They can also be found in insurance policies for students who are going abroad for studies, and even in corporate liability insurance plans.
In the event of an arrest, the insurer would commit the required amount of funds for bail in order to secure the release of the client, and the money has to be returned to the insurer within a specified time frame after the release. This usually up to 3 months from the date of payment.
Bail bond coverage is also sometimes packaged as a subset of legal expense coverage
For example, an insurer might provide up to $20,000 claims of legal expenses including bail bond. In this case, if the bail is already $20,000, then the client would not be able to claim for other legal expenses unless the $20,000 of bond money has been returned to the insurer.
Because of how rare bail bond protection is called on in insurance policies, coverage is often flat throughout basic insurance plans through to premium plans as it’s not a feature that has a strong selling point.
For example, insurers that underwrite travel insurance often conceptualize policies with 3 levels from basic to superior. With the basic plan having the cheapest price and superior with the highest premium. It not uncommon for all 3 levels of plans to have the amount of bail bond coverage.
In the absence of bail bond coverage, insurers can sometimes provide bail bond facilities instead.
These services can include:
- Assisting the insured in obtaining legal help
- Arranging for bail bond
- Helping with fund transfers from family members for bail bond
In these cases, the insurer would not provide their own funds for the bail money, but would help facilitate the whole process instead.
This can be a priceless support service when one is in an unfamiliar foreign land and has no knowledge of how to procure and engage legal services. This is assuming that he or she speaks the local language at all.