How to Insure an Exotic Cat Sanctuary

(And how the wild risks could relate to your own business)

How to insure an exotic cat sanctuary

All businesses deserve to be protected, especially when they're full of wild cats and big teeth like an exotic cat sanctuary. There are risks of all kinds that need protecting, and here's what an independent insurance agent would keep in mind when trying to find the right coverage for your exotic cat sanctuary.

How Do You Insure an Exotic Cat Sanctuary?

Insuring an exotic cat sanctuary doesn't come easy. In fact, there are a limited number of insurance carriers that will consider offering this type of coverage. That being said, it's essential to know which coverage applies when it comes to your exotic cat sanctuary.

According to a recent study, over 43% of attacks and exotic cat incidents were as a result of private nonprofessional and exotic cat sanctuaries. That's nearly half of all occurrences in the United States.

Big Cat Safety Incidents by Setting

United States 2000-2018

Incident Count: 359

The most significant risk factor when insuring a cat sanctuary is, of course, the exotic cat. Anytime you are dealing with exotic animals, there are risks involved, and as such, you need to make sure proper protection is in place for your business and your guests. The first much-needed coverage is general liability insurance. 

  • General liability insurance: Protection for bodily injury (exotic cat attacks) and property damage (coverage for the other party's property that your exotic cat damages) as a result of your negligence or unseen risk exposures.

Another coverage you'll want to have in place as an exotic cat owner is a coverage for the actual animal itself. Exotic cats have different needs, and it may result in higher veterinary bills. Insurance for your exotic cat's health and injury is needed to soften the blow of expenses associated with such a large animal. The average cost of care for an exotic cat is over $7,000 a year. The chances that you won't want to pay additional out-of-pocket vet bills are high.

Critical Property Coverage for an Exotic Cat Sanctuary

It may not seem like it, but property coverage for your cat sanctuary is just as important. In a recent study, 70% of big cat incidents started as a result of the animal escaping its quarters.

Big Cat Safety Incidents by Type - Private Nonprofessional Setting

United States 2000-2018

Incident Count: 130

Having a secure environment for these large animals to live in is vital not only to their well-being, but the well-being of the local community. Insuring your exotic cat sanctuary will look something like this:

  • Building coverage: This will provide a dollar amount up to a specific limit to replace a building on the premises, usually the replacement cost of like, kind, and quality.
  • Business personal property coverage: Your business personal property at a cat sanctuary can be anything from leashes to cages. Anything you may use to run your facility that is not permanently attached and does not have a motor can be considered personal property.

Necessary Liability Coverage for an Exotic Cat Sanctuary

If you've given serious thought to running an exotic cat sanctuary, then you've seen the responsibility that the owners have of such a business. It only takes one bite, one mauling, or one escape, and your livelihood could be at risk for good. Over 25% of big cat incidents result in injury with a small portion of that leading to death. 

That's a 25% chance that if your big cat becomes too aggressive, you'd be responsible for the outcome. That's 1 in 4! And those are odds you don't want to mess with, which is why it's always best to have the right protection in place if, and when, a claim arises. 

Outcomes of Big Cat Incidents - Private Nonprofessional Settings

United States 2000-2018

Incident Count: 130

General liability insurance needs to be purchased for your protection against bodily injury or property damage to others that could take place. Most independent insurance agents would require a minimum of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 total aggregate for the policy term. Some agents may even advise higher and for a good reason. A claim only needs to occur once for it to be detrimental to your business.

Umbrella Coverage for an Exotic Cat Sanctuary

With over 328 million people in the United States and an estimated 10,000 exotic cats in private ownership, there are liability concerns all over the place. An umbrella policy would help extend protection.

Umbrella insurance is an extension of your underlying general liability policy and would provide liability coverage above and beyond that should you have a claim that calls for it.

How to Cover Your Employees at an Exotic Cat Sanctuary

What about your employees and volunteers at your exotic cat sanctuary? How are they covered, and how likely are they to be attacked by your big cats? According to a recent study, over 66% of incidents were upon exotic cat sanctuary staff and owners, with another 6% of incidents happening to volunteers.

Groups Killed in Big Cat Safety Incidents - All Settings

United States 2000-2018

Incident Count: 15

The insurance policy that you need in place is a workers' compensation policy. A workers' compensation policy will provide coverage for your exotic cat sanctuary employees who get injured or ill on the job or as a result of doing their job. Since the numbers are pretty high for staff incidents, you should run, not walk, to your independent insurance agent for this coverage. 

The Cost of Exotic Cat Sanctuary Insurance Based on Location

Location may or may not affect the premiums when it comes to insuring all the parts of your exotic cat sanctuary. The biggest premium determining factors will be:

  • The size of your operation.
  • How many staff members you have employed.
  • The dollar amount of coverage needed to insure your property.
  • Your safety measures in place.
  • How secure your facility is and how much access the general public has to it.
  • Do you have a claims history?

All of these items and more will determine your pricing for your exotic cat sanctuary. Each business is different, which makes the rates and coverage specific to each sanctuary, and not necessarily the location. While territories and states may be more of a risk to insure than others due to weather and environmental factors, it's not going to be the biggest factor.

Here's How an Independent Insurance Agent Would Help

Independent insurance agents have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you. Find an independent insurance agent in your community here.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Candace Jenkins

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