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Notary Bulletin

Important FAQs About Notary E&O Insurance

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Updated 6-9-20. A Notary’s essential duty is to authenticate identities to protect consumers from fraud. But if one of your notarizations is challenged, who protects you? If you do not have a Notary Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance policy, you’re on your own.

While most Notaries will never have a claim made against them, lawsuits are becoming more common and often are filed months after the notarization in question was performed. Notaries can even get embroiled in legal disputes even when they have done everything right.

You may purchase E&O insurance when you become a Notary or when you renew. To help you understand how E&O insurance works, here are things to keep in mind:

Is E&O insurance the same as my Notary bond?

No. The surety bond most states require Notaries to buy is designed to protect consumers, not the Notary. If someone files a claim against you, and a loss is paid out of your bond, you’ll have to reimburse your bond company for the amount of the loss and any legal costs. If you had a full loss on a $15,000 bond, for example, your total tab could run $20,000 or more.

E&O insurance is designed to protect you from unintentional mistakes or oversights which cause financial harm to a client or the public. If a claim is filed, the policy will cover the loss and your legal defense up to the limits of the policy. If you are a Notary-employee and you are covered by a group E&O policy from the NNA, the policy also covers your employer.

Does every Notary need E&O insurance?

It depends. Talk to your employer to find out if their insurance policy covers you when performing notarizations. It usually only covers you for notarizations performed as part of your work duties and you still may benefit from an E&O policy if you notarize outside of work.

If you are a Notary signing agent or otherwise self-employed, an E&O policy is advisable because it’s your only protection against claims.

What does E&O cover?

Typically, E&O insurance covers the amount of the claim against you and, in most states, attorney fees and court costs up to the limit of the policy. (In some states, E&O policies have separate limits for legal expenses.) E&O protects you from unintentional mistakes and human error. However, unlike a bond, a policy doesn’t cover acts of fraud and intentional slip-ups.

Failing to spot an imposter with a fake ID, for example, is an unintentional mistake and would be covered. Conspiring with the imposter to defraud someone, on the other hand, would not be covered.

Also, for self-employed Notaries, it’s important to remember that a Notary E&O policy only covers you for your notarial acts. It does not cover you for other liability claims or breaches of privacy that are not duties of a Notary in your state.  

How much E&O coverage do I need?

This varies based on your needs. The standard recommended by the Signing Professionals Workgroup is $25,000. Some companies, however, want NSAs they hire to carry more coverage.

For non-NSA Notaries, an E&O policy should be sufficient to cover the amount of your bond, if required, plus coverage for additional expenses. Also consider how much you might need to protect your assets should they be affected in a lawsuit on account of a negligent notarization you perform.

Are you covered when you stop being a Notary?

It depends on the type of policy you have. If you or your employer has what’s called an “occurrence-based policy,” you’re covered for notarizations performed when the policy was in effect (even if you have left the job or stopped being a Notary).

If you are covered by what’s known as a “claims-made policy,” you are only protected if the claim is filed while the policy is in effect. Once you stop paying premiums, you’re no longer covered.

How much does a policy cost?

Premiums vary by state as well as the amount and term of the policy. You can get a quote from any insurance agent or broker licensed to sell property and casualty insurance.

There is a potential benefit to buying E&O from the same company that provides your bond. If you do that, the company will generally pay any claims and expenses out of your E&O policy before your bond. Also, some states require any claim paid from your bond to be reported to the Secretary of State’s office, and your commission can be suspended until your bond is reimbursed.

How E&O Insurance Helps You


The decision to buy E&O insurance is personal and depends on your circumstances, yet an affordable policy can protect you from:

  • Financial damages due to an error or omission filed against your NNA bond
  • Financial damages as a result of unintentionally violating the law while notarizing
  • Defense costs from being named in a lawsuit even if you did nothing wrong
  • Damages, when unbeknownst to you, your seal and forged signature appear on a document conveying title to real property – and a lender or property owner suffers a loss.

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18 Comments

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Jack avery

28 May 2015

How do I obtain a copy of my e and o insurance policy

National Notary Association

28 May 2015

Hi Jack. Please contact our Customer Care team at 1-800-876-6827 or Services@nationalnotary.org and they should be able to assist you.

Teresa ten Broek

27 Apr 2017

E & O Insurance: Does a E&O blanket policy (for 2 notaries in our office) stating the company as the insured, cover the 2 notaries if they notarize something outside the office? Or does the E & O blanket policy need to list the notaries names as the insured? Thank you. Terea

National Notary Association

05 May 2017

Hello. Just to confirm, are you writing us from California? Our group E&O policy form for California would cover the employer and 2 Notaries for errors and omissions committed or alleged to have been committed while performing notarial services for the employer, provided the Notaries are employees, not independent contractors.

Lance

21 Aug 2017

Where can I get a policy at ? I am self employed

National Notary Association

22 Aug 2017

Hello. E&O policies are available through the NNA at www.nationalnotary.org/insurance or by calling our Customer Care team at 1-800-876-6827.

Brenda

21 Apr 2018

Was was just served. I'm being sued. I did the notary in 2013. I am no longer a notary or work for the bank where I did the notary. How do I find out if I'm covered? What steps should I take? I only have 30 days to respond.

National Notary Association

23 Apr 2018

Hello. If you have questions regarding errors and omissions insurance policy coverage, you should contact your insurance provider. If you purchased an E&O policy through the NNA, please contact our Customer Care team at 1-800-876-6827 or Services@NationalNotary.org for assistance.

Liv Smith

12 Mar 2019

I didn't know that E&O insurances and notary bonds were different by the notary covering you and not the notary. I've been thinking about getting my brother a notary bond since he always gets in trouble and I think it'd be better to pay for one of those in case he goes to jail again and needs a lawyer. Thank you for explaining how they work, I'll make sure I remember.

Stephen

16 Apr 2020

Is it possible to have only a single blanket E&O insurance coverage for Notary, Process Server, and Immigration Consultant?

National Notary Association

20 Apr 2020

Hello. That would depend on the policies offered by the insurance provider. For information on policies available from the NNA, please see here: www.nationalnotary.org/insurance.

Cheryl Kaster

22 Jun 2020

I've heard that, as with other professional liability insurances, the insurer WILL NOT cover the professional IF THEY HAVE BROKEN THE LAW in the performance of the service. Shouldn't the NNA let us know that if it is a possibility?

Haya

24 Sep 2020

In California, If you have a $25,000 E&O insurance as a notary and then become a loan signing agent, does the same E&O apply or do you need a separate policy ? Thanks

National Notary Association

05 Oct 2020

It is only one E&O policy but the E&O policy only covers the notary acts done in connection with the loan signing… you should investigate about general insurance for your business with a licensed insurance agent.

George Rutherford

14 Oct 2020

I want to become a mortgage signing agent. What training do I need,and where do I get it?

National Notary Association

16 Oct 2020

Hello. Please see here for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2019/01/difference-mobile-notary-signing-agent

Teresa

27 Oct 2020

Hi. Does your E&O Insurance cover Notary Signing Agents or just a Notary Public?

National Notary Association

29 Oct 2020

Hello. Please see the section "What does E&O cover?" above. Also, please watch for an upcoming in-depth feature on E&O coverage scheduled to be published in the Notary Bulletin in November 2020.

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