Dog Trainer Insurance

Dogs Bring Big Business - Are You Covered?

Dog training can be rewarding and challenging work. Dogs have minds of their own, and bring with them owners who don't always understand safety and obedience. These sometimes unpredictable creatures are loving and often misunderstood, and as a dog trainer, you strive to teach them skills that make them better "canine citizens." However, you face some danger as a dog trainer - bites and other injuries to you, injury to the dog, and an unhappy client are all possible outcomes of a training session. You need to have a properly-designed dog trainer insurance policy to protect you from the risks these outcomes can bring. Insurance can be an excellent tool to protect you from unexpected injuries, legal claims, and lawsuits.

Dogs in the U.S.: Pets Are Popular

  • From 1956 to 1996, households containing dogs increased from 35% to 43%
  • 57% of American households have a dog or cat in residence currently
  • Socialization is the most important learning activity for a young dog
  • In 1995, Americans spent more than $1 billion on dog treats compared with $281 million in 1981

Dog Trainer Liability Insurance

When you look into dog trainer liability insurance, it's a good idea to get quotes on these two main forms of coverage:

  • General liability insurance: covers you for bodily injury or property damage resulting from your business activity
  • Professional liability insurance: if you face allegations that your training was ineffective, improper or produced a result that caused property damage or injury to another person, this will protect you from major litigation expenses

If you own a facility and bring clients and their dogs inside for training sessions, general liability coverage is a must. If a client suffers a loss due to property damage or bodily injury, your insurance can cover these losses and related legal expenses up to the limit of your policy.

If you put a dog through socialization training and after being returned to its owner, the dog bites someone, you could face a situation where you need professional liability coverage. If the incident leads to a claim against you, your professional liability insurance will kick in to protect you from large financial losses.

Other Essential Dog Trainer Insurance Coverage

The insurance coverage you need is partly dependent on how you operate. If you are a business with your own facilities, you will need more coverage than if you are a sole proprietor doing your training at the customer's location. Here are the options for insurance for dog trainers you may want to consider:

  • Property coverage: This insurance compensates you if you sustain loss or damage to the structure of your building (if you own your own facility) and your business contents.
  • Commercial automobile coverage: If you use vehicles in your business, you'll need special coverage to protect you. If you or an employee is involved in an auto accident with a vehicle used for commercial purposes, this insurance can help cover your liability risks, damage to your vehicle and contents, and more.
  • Products liability: If you sell any product to your customer, you run the risk of a manufacturing defect or other problem with the product causing harm to your customers. This coverage can be added to the general liability coverage in a BOP to give you optimal protection.
  • Care, custody and control (CCC): This provides coverage if you provide boarding, grooming, and pet sitting services that place a client's dog in your care.
  • Workers compensation coverage: If you have employees who might be injured on the job, this is good coverage to carry. Most likely you'll be required by law to carry this coverage for any employee in your company.

It is important to note that none of the basic programs for dog trainer insurance will provide coverage if you are training dogs for attack, guard or fighting purposes.

The Care Custody and Control Exclusion

All general liability policies exclude coverage for damage to property in your care, custody and control. The legal system and the insurance industry classify pets, including dogs, as property - so this insurance is particularly important to consider.

Some companies who offer dog trainer insurance will offer coverage on dogs in your care, custody and control for an additional premium. This could be particularly important if you work with or board a number of animals at the same time.

An independent agent can obtain quotes for the cost of adding this important coverage to your basic policy. Contact a member of the Trusted Choice network who will understand your insurance needs and help you obtain the dog trainer insurance that is right for you.

Occupational Injuries

Training and caring for dogs involves a lot of physical activity. The risk of injury is always present. There are several scenarios that can affect your business.

First, if you have employees, you must have workers compensation to cover your liability as an employer and to comply with your state's laws. Some states do not require you to carry workers compensation if you have less than a certain number of employees (frequently three). However, you may still be held liable to the employees if they are injured on the job. Without a workers compensation policy, you could expose your personal or business assets to a sizable loss if one of your employees is injured on the job. If you are a sole proprietor and opt not to carry workers compensation insurance, you may have no protection if you are injured unless you carry personal medical and/or accident insurance.

The most prudent solution is to carry a workers compensation on all your employees and yourself even if you are not legally obligated to do so. This could save you from a catastrophic personal loss in the future.

Premiums for Dog Trainer Insurance

There isn't a set premium for dog trainer liability insurance. It depends on your company's size and your activities. The premium for a sole proprietor doing basic training will run in the range of several hundred dollars a year.

The key to managing your dog trainer insurance cost is to work with a member of the Trusted Choice network. An independent agent can obtain multiple quotes for dog trainer insurance and help you pick the lowest rate for the policy that will meet your needs.

Obtaining Dog Trainer Liability Insurance

Training dogs may seem like a simple business, but you have a number of potential risks that need to be addressed in a properly designed policy offering insurance for dog trainers. When you're searching for coverage that's right for your needs and budget, there are a few things that can save you time:

  • Talk to colleagues: Do you have other connections in the dog training world? Ask what coverage they use. It's good to get some first-hand feedback before you buy.
  • Shop around: The first quote you find might not be the best one. Doing web research and searching for customer reviews of the agency you plan to work with are common ways to weed out less than ideal insurers.
  • Talk to the professionals: Speaking with insurance agents, lawyers, and financial advisers are all good ways to figure out what policies you need to cover the risks you face. Every dog trainer is different, and every business is different too - make sure you find something that is tailored exactly to your needs.