Pet stores are far more than just retail establishments where people can buy supplies to care for their pets. They also house many animals, and this leads to their having more risks and exposures than most stores face. Animals can be unpredictable, which increases the risk of injuries or liability claims. Furthermore, disruptions in power or disasters such as a fire can threaten the health and lives of the animals in your care. It is therefore vitally important that you protect your business with a suitable pet store insurance policy.
2014 Pet Shop Industry Facts from IBISWorld
- There are approximately 13,500 pet stores currently operating in the United States.
- These stores employ nearly 120,000 people.
- The pet store industry is responsible for about $18 billion in revenue each year.
You Need Sufficient Property Damage Coverage
In addition to insuring the pet supplies and other retail items in your store, you must also insure your animals as property. If a disaster kills or injures the animals in your store, you may be compensated in the amount that it would cost to replace them with animals of the same breed.
Of course, there are always exceptions to what can be covered under general property insurance. For example, if an extended power outage is responsible for animal deaths, whether due to lack of climate control or failure for pumps to aerate water in fish tanks, it is unlikely that your policy’s contents coverage will provide compensation. In this case, you would need to have spoilage insurance. This coverage is available with most commercial insurance policies, though in most cases, you do have to specifically request it.
Another example of something that would not be covered by your property insurance is if animals in your store succumb to a major illness. In this case, you may need inland marine insurance, which protects you against losses related to animal mortality. An independent agent can help you determine whether this coverage is a good fit for you, as may be the case if you keep a lot of highly valuable breeds.
Finally, pets belonging to other people but left in your care, custody or control may not be covered by your standard property insurance. Therefore, if your pet store offers veterinary, grooming or kenneling services, you may want to discuss bailee insurance with your agent.
There are insurance companies that provide policy packages designed specifically to meet the needs of pet store owners. An independent agent can help you find this type of package policy or can help you build a comparable commercial insurance policy that meets your specific coverage needs.
Be Sure To Have Proper Liability Insurance
Pet stores include animals, and animals can sometimes bite. This may put your store at risk for being on the wrong side of a liability lawsuit. If a customer is injured while in your store, whether due to a slip-and-fall type injury or a bite from an animal, your commercial general liability insurance will most likely provide coverage for legal fees and financial damages, if any are assessed.
On the other hand, if an employee is bitten by an animal or injured in any other way while on the job, coverage for necessary medical treatment may be provided through workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage is required in most states, though a few states waive the requirement. Regardless, as medical costs can be quite expensive, workers' compensation insurance is always a good idea.
What Other Pet Shop Insurance Coverage Do You Need?
In addition to the property and liability coverage mentioned above, you may have to get or at least consider other insurance coverage types. They are the following:
- Business Income Insurance: Disasters, both natural and man-made, can force your business to close its doors for an extended period of time while repairs are made. Business income insurance provides your pet shop with a continuation of income until normal business operations can recommence. This coverage is typically limited to one year.
- Flood Insurance: Flood damage can result in property loss and can necessitate expensive repairs. Business insurance policies rarely cover flood damage, so it is strongly advised that you invest in a commercial flood insurance policy through the NFIP.
- Health and Life Insurance: If you plan to include this type of coverage as part of your employees’ benefits package, it pays to shop around.
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance: This is meant to cover legal defense fees and potential punitive damages in the event that an employee sues your business for illegal practices such as discrimination or sexual harassment.
- Employee Dishonesty Insurance: This coverage protects your business from financial loss in the event that one of your employees steals from your business or engages in other illegal behavior while working for you.
Get Help Building a Strong Pet Store Insurance Policy
There may be additional types of insurance that are a good fit for your specific pet store. An independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network can help you realize your many different risks and can help you find appropriate policies to mitigate those exposures. Your agent can also work with a number of different insurance companies to help you build a policy that is both appropriate and competitively priced. Find a Trusted Choice agent near you to learn more about pet shop insurance coverage.