Pet food and supply stores typically sell food, toys, bedding, and other supplies for dogs, cats, hamsters, and all kinds of other critters. If you own a store like this, you might also offer an online store, delivery services, and pet grooming services.
In order to protect your livelihood, you need to understand the types of risks that you face and how you can protect your assets and move forward when things go wrong.
Business insurance tailored to your unique risks can help you recover from simple claims for slips and falls on your premises, and even from the complete devastation caused by a fire or a tornado. Pet food store insurance also protects you if you are sued for some type of negligence.
A local independent insurance agent can help you find customized business insurance solutions that fit your needs and budget.
Why Do You Need Pet Food and Supply Store Insurance?
Owners of pet food and supply stores face a variety of business risks. One of your biggest concerns is damage to your physical assets, including the inventory of products that you sell.
A severe weather event, a burglary, or vandalism can diminish or entirely destroy your inventory, leaving you no option but to pay to replenish it if you want to stay in business.
And if someone is injured on your premises or as a result of using one of your products, you can be sure that a costly lawsuit is not far behind.
In addition, any type of retail operation can face losses due to:
- Shopping carts or store fixtures causing injury or property damage in the store or parking lot
- Loss of income due to a catastrophic or unexpected event
- Equipment damage or breakdown
- Employee theft of cash or inventory
- Employee lawsuits related to discrimination or other claims
- Cyber breaches (data breach of your online store)
- Auto accidents involving delivery vehicles
What Does Property Insurance Cover?
Cookie-cutter insurance coverage is not sufficient for a pet food and supply store. You need a package of business insurance policies that are tailored to your unique risk exposures.
Your first major risk is physical damage to your building or property caused by unexpected events like fires, lightning, tornadoes, wind, and hail.
Commercial property insurance covers your building and its contents, including computers and cash registers, inventory, equipment, furniture, fixtures, and more. It helps you rebuild or make repairs when unexpected events (like a fire or severe weather) destroy your merchandise and your physical space (structure).
After a property loss, you’ll probably need some time to replace your inventory and fixtures and rebuild your store. Business interruption coverage compensates you for lost business income and pays for certain operating expenses if you must temporarily close after a covered loss.
Business interruption coverage is typically included in your commercial property policy.
What Does Liability Insurance Cover?
You also have a significant liability risk, which means that you are responsible for compensating any customer or member of the public who gets injured on your property or as a result of buying something from you.
Commercial general liability (CGL) insurance pays for claims of bodily injury and property damage to third parties due to your negligence. Your CGL policy offers two specific kinds of coverage:
- Premises liability coverage protects you when someone gets injured or sustains property damage while on your premises. This comes into play when you have a simple slip-and-fall incident in your store, or if your store is responsible for causing some type of property damage.
- Products and completed operations coverage protects you when someone is injured or sustains property damage after coming into contact with a product from your store or as a result of your services (completed operations). A dog could become ill after eating tainted food purchased in your store (this would be considered property damage because the dog is the customer’s property).
Claims for product-related damages are usually related to manufacturing or production flaws, design defects, or defective warnings or instructions. If you are negligent (and even if you are not,) you can be sued and required to pay for medical costs, compensatory damages, attorney fees, court costs, and more.
In some circumstances, the product liability coverage offered in your CGL policy may not sufficiently cover your risks. An independent insurance agent can help you determine how much and what type of product liability coverage you need.
Do My Property and Liability Policies Cover Pet Grooming Services?
Many pet food and supply stores also offer pet grooming services. While you hire qualified professionals to bathe, brush, clip nails, and perform a variety of other services, offering grooming services opens you up to numerous additional liability exposures.
Pet groomers must address the public liability risks associated with the general public and unpredictable pets coming into contact and sharing space on their premises.
If a customer was bitten by another customer’s dog, your general liability policy would respond. The CGL policy would also respond if a dog got loose from your building, ran into the street, and caused a car crash.
Your property insurance should include coverage for the contents of your grooming space, including office furniture, waiting room furniture or fixtures, grooming and washing stations, shampoos and grooming tools, leashes, kennels and crates, and more.
What Is Animal Bailees Coverage?
Pet food and supply stores that offer grooming services take on some additional risk when they take other people’s pets, which are their possessions, into the care, custody, and control of the store. What if an animal in your care runs away or is stolen, lost, or injured?
Animal bailees coverage is insurance designed for pet groomers and others in the pet services industry that temporarily take possession of other people’s pets, with the expectation that they will be returned unharmed.
Animal bailees coverage provides protection where your standard property policy does not (your property insurance only covers your own property, not someone else’s property).
Bailees coverage may pay for resulting veterinary costs if an animal is injured or becomes ill while in your care, and may even pay for costs related to lawsuits after such an incident.
Do Dog Groomers Need Professional Liability Insurance?
If you offer grooming services at your pet food and supply store, you might also need pet groomers professional liability insurance, or errors and omissions insurance. This is tailored liability coverage that protects you if a client claims you have been negligent in providing professional services.
- Example: A customer claims that a show dog doesn’t win a prize because of a poor haircut.
Regardless of whether you are at fault, you will still need to pay for your legal defense. Pet groomers professional liability insurance will help with those costs, as well as any settlements or judgments that you are required to pay.
You may have some coverage for professional liability claims in your CGL policy, but the coverage may not be sufficient. Talk with your independent insurance agent about how to obtain the right amount of professional liability coverage for your needs.
Other Coverage for Pet Food and Supply Stores
Pet food and supply stores are likely to face additional risks other than those described above. Talk to your independent insurance agent about your need for the following types of coverage.
- Workers’ compensation insurance protects employees who are injured on the job. Your employees face all kinds of risks, from dealing with many unpredictable pets, to slips, falls, and repetitive motion injuries. This valuable insurance protection is required for most businesses that have employees, and will keep you from being sued if an employee is injured while working for you.
- Commercial umbrella insurance, or excess liability insurance, provides an extra layer of liability protection above and beyond the limits of your CGL and certain other liability policies. It provides coverage when those other applicable policies have been exhausted. If you are involved in a significant claim or lawsuit, this coverage can be the difference between staying in business and closing up shop for good.
- Commercial auto insurance is a necessity if you offer delivery services or have any business-owned vehicles. It provides liability coverage if one of your drivers causes an accident, and pays for damage to your own vehicle if it is damaged in some type of non-collision incident (e.g., sustains hail damage, is hit by a falling tree).
- Crime coverage protects your business if an employee or a group of employees engage in theft, forgery, or fraud that damages your business.It also offers coverage in cases of shoplifting and vandalism.
- Sign coverage pays for damage to outdoor signs that are not attached to your building when the damage is caused by weather, vandalism, fire, etc.
- Utility interruption coverage provides income protection if you are unable to operate due to a covered utility (water, electrical) interruption.
- Cyber liability insurance is necessary if you sell pet food or supplies online. It helps you protect your business and your customers’ privacy by paying for investigative expenses, notification expenses (the cost to notify your customers of the breach), future credit card and fraud monitoring services for your customers, your legal defense, settlements and judgments, and even PR and other related expenses.
How Much Does Pet Food and Supply Store Insurance Cost?
Insurance for a pet food and supply store can range from several hundreds of dollars per month to thousands. It depends on:
- The size of your business
- The location of your business
- The number of employees
- Whether you offer additional services like delivery or grooming
- The value of the inventory and other business property you keep on your premises
- The types of coverage and amount of coverage that you need
If you are a sole proprietor with just a few employees, you can expect to pay far less for your business insurance than a multi-location business with numerous employees, a warehouse, and a large and valuable inventory.
Ultimately the types and amounts of coverage you need to adequately cover your risks will dictate the cost of your coverage.
Find and Compare Quotes
An independent insurance agent can work with you one-on-one to determine the types and amounts of coverage you need. Your agent can get quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can evaluate the cost and coverage options and make the best choice.
Benefits of an Independent Agent
Independent insurance agents simplify the search process for finding the right pet food and supply store insurance. They’ll walk you through some handpicked policy options and explain the details and options.
Most importantly, they’ll be there for you when claim time comes. They know the ins and outs of the process and will make sure your claim is handled appropriately.
The Lowdown on Online Quotes
Online quotes can be tempting. They are fast and easy to get—but are they accurate? And are you getting quotes for the right coverage? For business owners, choosing speed over accuracy can cost you.
Online quotes can’t and don’t see the whole picture. They can leave out important coverage that will leave you devastated if something unexpected happens. And they can leave out cost-saving opportunities that an agent can help you take advantage of.
Instead of getting an online quote, find an independent insurance agent now, and get one-on-one consultation and affordable options for the best coverage for your unique needs.