When looking into getting a bail bond, you might come across the term collateral, and wonder what it means. Companies use collateral like insurance. If the defendant is compliant with all the terms of the bail bond, then the collateral is returned back to the original owner. If the defendant fails to make payments on the bail bond, gets in trouble again while out on bail, or skips town, the bail bond company claims the collateral from the person who pledged it. This protects the bail bond company from a loss.
Common things to put up for collateral include vehicles, real estate, electronics, and other valuables. For vehicles and real estate, the owner must have made all payments already, or have a large majority ownership of the item already.
This puts some pressure on the collateral owner to make sure the defendant shows up for court.