Florida Motor Vehicle Dealer Bonds
Florida Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond Information
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Division of Motorist Services requires that auto dealers (both used/independent dealer and franchise/new dealers) post a $25,000 surety bond in order to engage in the business of buying, selling, or dealing in motor vehicles or displaying vehicles for sale. Recreational vehicle, salvage, and mobile home dealers also must post a surety bond in Florida.
Used (Independent) Motor Vehicle Dealer Bonds Expire April 30th!
For Used (Independent) Motor Vehicle Dealers, license bonds expire April 30th of each year. Check to see if you can save on your renewal this year. The quick online form only takes 2 minutes.
How Much Does a Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond Cost in Florida?
Most Common Bonds
What does a Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond Protect Against?
The motor vehicle dealer surety bond ensures that the dealer honors terms of any written contract entered into with a motor vehicle buyer. Further, the surety bond guarantees that the dealer complies the applicable provisions of Florida Statutes, Chapter 319 and 320. In the event of a loss or damage sustained by any person in a retail or wholesale transaction related to the dealer’s violations, a claim may be filed against the surety bond in an amount up to $25,000, the limit (penalty) of the bond.
Getting Your Florida Business License or Registration
Florida law states that "any person, firm partnership, or corporation that buys, sells, offers for sale, displays for sale or deals in three or more motor vehicles in any 12-month period is presumed to be a motor vehicle dealer and must have an appropriate license issued by the State." Florida motor vehicle dealers are licensed and regulated by the Division of Motorist Services under Section 320.27 Florida Statutes.
Motor vehicle dealers are categorized into six different licensing groups. Independent Dealers (VI) are used motor vehicles only, doing business as retailers or wholesalers. Franchise Dealers (VF) sell new motor vehicles under an agreement with a manufacturer and may also sell used motor vehicles. Service Facilities (SF) perform only service as defined in s. 320.60(16), Florida Statutes, and do not sell or lease motor vehicles. Wholesale Dealers (VW) may only buy from, sell to, and deal at wholesale with other licensed dealers. Auctions (VA) sell, on behalf of licensed dealers, through the bid process and may not sell retail. Salvage Dealers (SD) deal in salvage or wrecked vehicles, acquiring salvaged or wrecked motor vehicles to resell them and their parts. If the dealer rebuilds salvaged or wrecked vehicles, the title must be reassigned to an independent dealer for retail sale.
The following is an overview of key Florida motor vehicle dealer licensing requirements.
- Approval of business location by a Regional Office, Compliance Examiner/Officer
- Completed Application, Form HSMV 86056
- Payment of fees for each main location
- $25,000 surety bond
- Copy of lease for location or proof of ownership
- Copy of the pre-licensing dealer training course completion certificate
- Liability insurance certificate as required
- Copy of registration of business and/or fictitious trade name(s) with Florida's Secretary of State, Division of Corporations
- Copy of corporate papers
- Sales tax number
- Federal employer identification number
- Fingerprints and applicable fees
- Additional items may be needed and exact requirements may vary based on applicant, license type or obligee discretion. Please see obligee and state links in the Other Helpful Information and Links section below or contact the obligee directly for more information.
All Florida dealer licenses are issued for a maximum period of one year. The effective and expiration dates for the various categories of licenses are staggered by the state. The licensing periods are as follows:
- Franchised motor vehicle dealer (VF) January 1 - December 31
- Franchised motor vehicle service facility (SF) January 1 - December 31
- Independent motor vehicle dealer (VI) May 1 - April 30
- Wholesale motor vehicle dealer (VW) May 1 - April 30
- Motor vehicle auction (VA) May 1 - April 30
- Salvage motor vehicle dealer (SD) May 1 - April 30
- Mobile home dealer (DH) October 1-September 30
- Mobile home broker (BH) October 1-September 30
- Recreational vehicle dealer(RV) October 1-September 30
- Used Recreational vehicle dealer (RU) October 1-September 30
- Non-resident dealer (NI, NH, NR) January 1 – December 31.
If the state issues a license in the middle or toward the end of the annual licensing period, the license will expire on the date all licenses in that same category expire as described above but license fees are not prorated. An applicant pursuing an initial license near the end of a license period may prefer to delay the effective date of the license until the beginning of the new license year. The state reminds applicants that engaging in business activities prior to a license becoming effective is a serious violation of Florida state law.
Other Helpful Information and Links
All Florida motor vehicle dealer bonds have set expiration dates regardless of when the surety bond is purchased during the year. The dates are as follows; April 30th for Motor Vehicle Dealers, December 31st for Franchise Dealers, and September 30th for Recreational Vehicle Bonds. Therefore, all the premium paid in the first year will be pro-rata based on the portion of the year the bond is active. The surety company can cancel this bond by providing 30 days written notice to the State of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
If the dealership cancels its surety bond during a license year and obtains a replacement surety bond with another firm, the dealer must immediately provide the new original surety bond to the Motor Vehicle Field Operations, Regional Office responsible for regulating the dealership to show continuous surety bond coverage. Coverage gaps are not acceptable so the replacement surety bond must have an effective date on or prior to the cancellation date of the previous surety bond. Surety Bond Riders are acceptable to make any change or correction. A new bond or continuation certificate is required each year so coverage remains in force and effect subject to the statutes of limitations.
STATE OF FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES
2900 APALACHEE PARKWAY
ROOM A312, Mailstop #65
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA 32399-0500