Billions of dollars are spent every year on pet sitting, boarding, grooming, walking, and other pet services. As more families bring pets into their homes, the demand for these services continues to grow.
If you own a pet sitting business, you provide a wonderful service to passionate pet owners. And you’ve likely worked hard to build your business and to secure regular clients for whom your trustworthiness is of the utmost importance.
While your customers may be cute and fluffy, your role as a business owner is fraught with risks that can hinder your success or even force you out of business. In order to protect your reputation and your livelihood for the long term, you need business insurance that addresses your unique exposures. An independent insurance agent can help you get the pet sitting service insurance that you need.
Why Do You Need Pet Sitting Service Insurance?
According to the latest survey from the American Pet Products Association, there are pets in 67% of US households, equating to over 84 million homes with pets.
With more pets in more homes, the spending on pets and various pet services continues to rise, as well. According to the same survey:
- Total US pet industry expenditures in 2020 were $103.6 billion
- Total expenditures on boarding, grooming, insurance, training, pet sitting and walking, and all services outside of veterinary care were $8.1 billion
Pet sitters typically offer pet sitting services in the client’s home. But you may also care for pets in your own home, depending on the circumstances. The pets that you care for may include cats, dogs, fish, reptiles, and other small animals. Your services may include everything from feeding and exercising the pets to administering important daily medications.
Offering in-home services allows your clients (and you) to avoid certain problems with the pets you care for, like exposing them to other animals and keeping them in kennels or other stressful environments. At the same time, when pet owners invite you into their homes, an entirely new set of problems can arise that can cost you time, money, and your reputation.
If you’re responsible for harming a pet, damaging someone’s property, or even if you face a property loss of your own in the course if doing business, it’ll cost money to replace damaged property or respond to a lawsuit.
That’s where pet sitting service insurance comes in. You need comprehensive, tailored business insurance to help protect your livelihood from everything that can go wrong.
What Does Pet Sitting Service Insurance Cover?
If you own a pet sitting business, your clients trust you to take care of their animals when they can’t. Pet sitters who work in clients’ homes may be tasked with a variety of activities other than just pet care. You may be asked to gather mail, water plants, and more. Because pet sitting businesses vary so dramatically, it is wise for any pet sitting business to work closely with an independent insurance agent to find the appropriate mix of insurance coverage for your unique business.
When you talk with your agent, consider the following types of pet sitting service insurance:
- Commercial general liability insurance (CGL): This is for claims of bodily injury and property damage to third parties while you are pet sitting. It protects you whether you are in your own home, a client’s home, or even if you are out walking a client’s dog.
- Commercial property insurance: This is for damage to or loss of your business property, even if you have a home office. Homeowners insurance typically does not cover business property in your home, so you may need a separate commercial property policy to cover your home office, including phone systems, computers, records, office furniture, and so on.
- Business interruption insurance: This is to help you with business expenses and lost income if you must temporarily close due to a covered property loss (fire, weather event, etc.).
- Business owners policy (BOP): This is for the convenience of comprehensive coverage in an affordable package policy.
- Professional liability insurance: This protects you when a client accuses you of providing negligent professional services.
- Animal bailee’s insurance: This covers costs related to animals that are injured, get sick, or even die while in your care, custody, or control. It may pay for related veterinary bills and legal costs related to these types of claims.
A Note about Bonds for Pet Sitting Services
Pet sitters and other pet services businesses often advertise themselves as “licensed, bonded, and insured.” What does this mean? First, you are likely required to have certain permits or licenses to operate in your state or municipality. Next, your insurance needs have been outlined in this article. Finally, what is a bond, and why would a pet sitter need one?
A fidelity bond (or dishonesty bond) is an insurance product that protects you in the event that you or one of your employees is accused of theft or other dishonest acts. Typically, only pet sitters who have employees need this type of protection. But sole proprietors often obtain bonds simply for their clients’ peace of mind when they invite you into their homes. A surety bond can protect both you and your clients from the costs of a theft claim. It may also protect you if you are unable to complete the requirements of a contract.
Other Insurance Policies for Pet Sitting Services
Pet sitters may face additional risks other than those described above. For example, if you have employees, you will likely need workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees who are injured on the job. Your employees face all kinds of risks, from dealing with 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.
You may also want to look into commercial umbrella insurance, or excess liability insurance. It provides an extra layer of liability protection above and beyond the limits of your CGL and certain other liability policies. It kicks in and 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.
The need for commercial auto insurance will vary among pet sitting businesses. If your business owns autos of any kind—even just one—you need commercial auto insurance. What’s more, if you or any employees drive personal vehicles for business purposes, you need non-owned auto liability coverage. Talk to your independent insurance agent about how vehicles and driving are involved in your day-to-day operations in order to obtain the best coverage for your needs.
How Much Does Pet Sitting Service Insurance Cost?
In general, pet sitting service insurance costs will vary depending on the size of your business, the number of employees you have, the amount and value of your commercial property, the location of your business, and a variety of other variables.
An independent insurance agent can guide you though your options so you get coverage that meets your needs and budget.
Benefits of an Independent Agent
You may have some things in common with other businesses, but in many ways your business is unique. Don’t trust your livelihood to a faceless online quote or an insurance company representative who doesn’t know the ins and outs of your business. A local, independent insurance agent will get to know you and your business.
Independent agents can work with numerous, reputable insurance companies who specialize in your type of business. Together you can review a variety of proposals and choose the best mix of coverage that meets your needs and budget.
What’s more, your agent will 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.
Find and Compare Quotes for Pet Sitting Insurance
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.
Your agent will work with you free of charge to get quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can make the best choice.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
©2021, Consumer Agent Portal, LLC. All rights reserved.