What does replevin mean? It’s certainly not a word that comes up in conversation often, unless you happen to be associated with a surety company that sells replevin bonds.

A replevin definition starts with an understanding of the rights of property owners, one of the oldest of all kinds of actions associated with Common Law. Originally appearing during the 13th century, replevin was a procedure that could be invoked by a theoretical property owner. It would force another property claimant to return the property based on a more valid claim supplied by the initiator of the action.

How they work today

Replevin itself works much the same way today as it did then in that it is a court action that determines the appropriate owner of a piece of property.

Before any kind of court hearing begins, the plaintiff in the case can legally take possession of the property in question by purchasing a replevin bond, which forces the defendant to temporarily relinquish the property. If the plaintiff wins the case, they would retain ownership of the property indefinitely, and the defendant must give up all claims to it.

However, if the defendant wins the case, the replevin court bond guarantees the plaintiff will cede the property back to the defendant in the same condition it was in prior to the time they took ownership of it. If either of these two conditions is violated, the defendant would then have the option of making a claim against the replevin court bond in the amount of the property value or in the amount of any damages done to the property.

When these bonds are needed

In court cases where the plaintiff is suing the defendant to recover some property the plaintiff believes they own, the court may require the plaintiff to purchase a bond. If the plaintiff does purchase the bond, the court might then order the defendant to temporarily give up the property in question so the plaintiff can take ownership, pending the outcome of the case.

The purpose of the bond is to ensure that plaintiffs will surrender their property if the case is decided in favor of the defendant. A secondary purpose of these bonds is to guarantee that the property is returned to the defendant in the same condition it was in before the plaintiff assumed ownership. Any defendant who has been harmed by the seizure of property, or by any damage done to that property while in the hands of the plaintiff, can be made whole again by making a claim against the replevin bond.

When a claim is made against a replevin bond

When the defendant in a property court case is determined by the court to have won the case, but the property is still not surrendered by the plaintiff, or the property is surrendered with damage, the defendant can make a claim against the replevin bond. In such cases, the surety company would be obligated to pay the full amount of any validated claim made by the defendant, and the surety company would then attempt to recover that same amount from the plaintiff in the case.


The cost will be determined by the amount of the bond itself, which is calculated based on the value of the property and the financial status of the purchaser. If the bond purchaser has a good credit score and a solid financial history, they might only have to pay 1% of the face value of the bond. For instance, a $100,000 bond sold to a person with excellent credit, might only cost $1,000. Someone with a poor credit history and score might have to pay a higher percentage of the bond amount, perhaps as much as 5%, which would result in a bond cost of $5,000.


While the requirements for purchasing a replevin bond will vary from state to state, and even from case to case, the following points must usually be considered before a bond can be purchased. The purchaser must have a court bond application, which contains information about the purchaser, as well as the terms comprising the scope of the bond. The court will generally supply a document that specifies the exact kind of bond it requires of the plaintiff and this must be provided to the surety company.

The court information will also be supplied to the surety, which apprises that firm of the likelihood of the plaintiff’s case prevailing when the case is ultimately decided. For a private individual plaintiff, personal finance information must be provided to the surety company so it can gauge the credit-worthiness of the bond purchaser, as well as the degree of risk it is incurring by selling a replevin bond to the applicant.

If the involved plaintiff is a business or a corporation, financial statements must be provided to the surety so it can make the same kind of determination about the degree of risk in selling a bond to the company. In some cases, the surety company will also require that the full amount of the bond be collateralized by assets owned by the applicant to reduce its exposure in the event of a claim being made against the bond.

Other kinds of replevin court bonds

There are two types of replevin bonds that work differently than a standard replevin bond. The first is a counter replevin surety, which is purchased by the defendant instead of the plaintiff in the case. It is purchased with the intention of preventing the plaintiff from seizing the property, even temporarily, while the court case is under consideration.

A sequestration bond is a special kind of bond in which a sheriff or marshal is awarded the power to seize the property in question so that the defendant in the case doesn’t sell it off quickly or somehow take the property beyond the jurisdiction of the court system.

NFP is here to help you with your replevin bond needs.