Collateral: What It Is and What You Can Use

When you or a loved one is arrested, it can be a harrowing experience. A stay in the local jail can be trying, and when a bail amount is determined, you have to figure out how you’re going to pay it.

When you can’t afford the full bail amount, bail bonds are a great option. But while you understand the premium payment, you may be confused as to what the collateral portion entails. What is collateral, and how does it apply to your bail bond?

For more information about collateral and what you can use for collateral, keep reading. We’ll discuss what collateral is and what you can use as collateral in a bail bond.

What is Collateral?

When purchasing a bail bond, you may sometimes be required to offer up collateral, or something that will pay for the remaining cost of the bond if the defendant doesn’t show up in court. Collateral is added to the 15% premium, and while you won’t get the premium back, you’ll most likely see your collateral again.

If the arrested individual attends their hearing, the collateral will be returned. Collateral has to reach a certain amount in value, and property or possessions are often the most common form of collateral. However, if the defendant skips out on bail, the collateral is forfeited and seized to help cover the remaining bail.

Remember, the collateral you put up for the bond will be kept by the bail agent in one form or another until the arrested individual attends their hearing. Depending on the type of collateral, this can be inconvenient or troublesome, or it may not be that big of a deal at all.

What Can Be Put Up for Collateral?

When you’re about to purchase a bail bond, you may wonder what you can put up as collateral, especially if the bond amount is fairly high. If you’re putting up collateral for someone else’s bail, be sure to choose carefully, especially if the defendant has skipped out on bail before. Even if you trust the arrested individual, you may be left with unexpected results.

Below, we’ll address common possessions used for collateral.


Land is commonly used for collateral, especially for more expensive bail amounts. You can use your home, your rental property, or any other property you have. If you’re sure the defendant will show up for their hearing, this choice can work. But if the arrested individual skips out on bail, your home will be seized and sold for payment.

You are allowed to use and inhabit the property when it’s used as collateral. The bail agent will just hold onto the property deed until the court date.


While bail bond companies will often keep smaller items until the arrested individual shows up in court, you won’t have to leave your car with the bail agent. They’ll simply keep the title so you can continue to use your vehicle to get to work or run errands. But if the defendant doesn’t show up for their hearing, you can expect your car to be seized and sold.

However, if your car is worth a bit and you’re certain the defendant will make it to court, it can be an easy way to meet a high bail amount.


If you’d rather not use your car or home for collateral, or if you don’t own a home or car, you can also use your jewelry. Of course, the value of the jewelry does have to cover the bail bond, but it’s a nice way to cover lesser bail amounts if you don’t have the cash. However, the bail agent will keep the jewelry in a safe, secure place until the court date.


Guns are also great for collateral. But, like jewelry, the guns’ worth needs to adequately cover the bail bond. If you have fairly valuable firearms, you could easily use them for collateral. But don’t plan on any hunting trips; your guns will be kept by the bail bond company until the trial date.

Pawnable Belongings

If you don’t necessarily have a lot of valuable items, you can still put some of your possessions up for collateral. Essentially, anything that can be sold to a pawn shop can be used. You can use musical instruments, electronics, tools, antiques, and some other items to add to your collateral. These will also be held by the bail bond agency, so don’t put up anything you need to use regularly.


In addition to your premium, you can also use a little extra cash as collateral. But keep in mind that you won’t have any access to the money until the defendant attends his or her hearing.


To learn more about collateral and what possessions you can use, contact a local bail bond agency, such as All Star Bail Bonds. We’re happy to answer any of your questions and guide you through the bail bond process. And if you have any concerns, we’ll gladly discuss them with you.