Have you heard about the skyrocketing popularity of dog walking services? It's true! According to the stats, the dog walking services industry in the US has been on fire, growing by an average of 2.4% per year between 2017 and 2022.
With so many people relying on dog walkers these days, it's no surprise that the demand continues to surge. But as the industry grows, so does the risk of liability. Imagine getting injured while out on a dog walk, or worse, if the dog ends up causing harm to someone else. Yikes! This is why it's so important for dog walkers to have business insurance.
In this article, we'll dig deep into why dog walking insurance is important for your peace of mind and your business’s success. We'll also discuss what kind of insurance is needed to walk dogs, and the meaning of being “licensed, insured, and bonded.” Plus, we’ll give you some valuable tips that will make your dog walking insurance work wonders for taking your business to the next level.
So whether you're just starting out as a dog walker, or looking to expand your furry empire, stick with us to discover how having the right insurance can protect both you and your loyal canine clientele. Let’s get started…
What is Dog Walking Insurance?
Dog walking insurance is a type of liability insurance that protects dog walkers from financial losses that may occur as a result of their work. This could include things like being sued if a dog bites someone, or if the dog damages someone's property. Think of dog-walking pet insurance as a safety net that provides coverage and financial security in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Do I Need Insurance for Dog Walking?
Absolutely! As a dog walker or pet sitter, having insurance coverage is not just a good idea—it's essential. And here’s why…
When you're out and about with furry companions, there are inherent risks involved. Dogs can be unpredictable, and even the most well-behaved pup can find themselves in a situation that leads to injury or property damage. As a dog walker, you're responsible for the safety and well-being of the dogs in your care, as well as the people and property around you.
Here are some potential risks and incidents that make professional liability insurance a necessity for dog walkers and pet sitters:
- Dog Bites: Even the friendliest dogs can sometimes react unexpectedly, resulting in a bite or injury. If a dog you're walking or caring for bites someone, you could be held liable for their medical expenses and potential legal claims. Professional liability insurance protects you in such cases.
- Property Damage: Dogs, being playful and curious creatures, may unintentionally scratch floors, chew on rugs, or break items while on walks or during pet-sitting visits. Without insurance coverage, you would personally bear the financial responsibility of repairing or replacing the damaged property.
By understanding the potential risks and incidents that can occur in the pet care industry, it becomes clear why having business insurance is vital for dog walkers and pet sitters.
This brings us to our next question…
What Does Dog Walking Business Insurance Cover?
Dog walking insurance is like having a safety net that gives you peace of mind while you do what you love—taking care of adorable furry friends.
Let's dive into the fantastic benefits of dog walking insurance:
Property Damage Coverage
Accidents happen, and dogs can unintentionally cause damage to property while on walks or during pet-sitting visits. Dog walking business insurance often includes coverage for property damage, ensuring that you can handle any necessary repairs or replacements without incurring significant costs.
Veterinary Expense Coverage
Some dog walking insurance policies offer coverage for veterinary expenses. If a dog in your care requires medical attention due to an accident or injury, the insurance can help cover the costs. This coverage provides financial relief, ensuring that the animals receive proper medical care.
Lost Key Coverage
Losing a client's keys can be stressful and costly. Dog walking and pet sitting insurance often includes coverage for lost keys, allowing you to handle the expenses associated with rekeying or replacing locks. This coverage protects your clients' security and gives them peace of mind.
Dog walking insurance policies are often customizable, allowing you to tailor the coverage to your specific needs. Whether you offer additional services like pet boarding, mobile grooming, or pet transportation, you can find a policy that suits your unique requirements and provides the right level of protection.
Insurance protects your financial stability by covering potential liabilities and unforeseen expenses. Without insurance, you would be personally responsible for paying for injuries, damages, or legal claims, which could be financially devastating. Having insurance provides a safety net, ensuring that your personal assets remain protected.
If you have employees or plan to hire staff in the future, dog walking insurance can include worker's compensation coverage. This coverage protects your employees in case of work-related injuries or illnesses, providing medical benefits and wage replacement, which is essential for their well-being and your legal compliance.
In the event of a liability claim or lawsuit, some insurance policies may provide access to legal resources and support. This assistance can be invaluable in navigating legal processes and ensuring your rights are protected.
Now that you're familiar with the fantastic benefits of dog walking insurance, let's move on to the next important aspect…
How To Get Bonded and Insured For Dog Walking
First and foremost, why is bonding relevant to dog walking? Well, it's all about showing your clients that you're serious about their trust and the safety of their furry pals. When you get bonded, you're assuring them that if anything unexpected happens, like theft or property damage, they won't be left high and dry.
Bonding also provides an extra level of protection for you, the dog walker! If someone claims that you did something fishy or if an accident occurs, the bond has your back. It's like having a magical shield that helps address the situation and protects your reputation.
Now, depending on where you live, bonding requirements can vary. Some states make it a must-have before registering your business or getting insurance. But here's the deal—even if it's not mandatory, getting bonded is a smart move. It's like a badge of trust that shows potential clients you're the real deal, committed to their furry friends' well-being.
So, how do you get bonded and insured?
- Do Your Research: Start by checking out insurance providers that specialize in pet care businesses. Look for those that offer liability coverage and other types of coverage you might need, like commercial auto insurance if you use a vehicle for your services. Companies like State Farm or CCC are good places to start.
- Assess Your Coverage Needs: Take a moment to think about your specific needs. Consider the type of services you offer, like dog boarding or pet sitting, and whether you work independently or have employees. These details will help determine the coverage you require.
- Get a Quote: Reach out to insurance agents or companies and request a quote. Give them all the information they need about your business, such as the number of dogs you board or walk. This will help them provide you with an accurate quote.
- Make Sure You Choose Liability Coverage: Liability coverage is crucial for dog walkers and pet sitters. It protects you in case something goes wrong, like a dog getting injured or property damage occurring during your services.
- Consider Additional Coverage: Depending on your business setup, you might want to think about other coverage options. If you work as an independent contractor, professional liability insurance might be worth considering to protect against claims of negligence. Discuss your specific needs with the insurance agent to ensure you have the right coverage in place.
- Complete the Application: Once you've chosen your insurance policy and understood the bonding requirements, it's time to complete the application process. Fill out the necessary forms, providing accurate information about your business and coverage needs.
- Pay and Get Proof of Insurance: Once you're satisfied with the policy, pay the premiums as specified by the insurer. After payment, you'll receive proof of insurance, which might be a certificate or policy document. Keep this document handy, as clients may ask to see proof of your insurance coverage.
- Stay in Touch: As your business evolves, keep your insurance agent in the loop. If you expand your services, hire employees, or make any changes, let them know. It's important to ensure your coverage remains up-to-date and tailored to your specific needs.
By following these steps and getting the right liability coverage, bonding, and additional coverage as needed, you'll be well-prepared to protect yourself, your clients, and your business. So, what is the best protection for dog walking?
9 Best Insurance for Dog Walkers
When it comes to finding the best insurance for dog walkers and pet sitters, there are several reputable providers to consider. Let’s take a closer look:
1. Pet Sitters Associates
When it comes to insurance for pet sitters and dog walkers, Pet Sitters Associates has got you covered! They specialize in providing comprehensive coverage specifically tailored for businesses that handle animal care. Whether you're a dog walker, pet sitter, groomer, dog trainer, or even a pet boarder, their policies include professional liability and general liability coverage to protect you against liability claims and property damage. Plus, they offer customized products like animal bailee and vet expense reimbursement to meet your unique needs.
2. Business Insurers of the Carolinas
Don't let the name fool you—Business Insurers of the Carolinas provide insurance to dog walkers and pet sitters across all 50 states. Their policies come with professional liability and general liability coverage, giving you peace of mind against potential risks in your line of work. They've been working closely with the largest pet-sitting associations in the US for over 25 years, so you know you're in good hands.
3. Kennel Pro
As a pet care professional, you can trust Kennel Pro to provide you with specialized insurance coverage. Their policies include general liability and professional liability, ensuring you're protected in various situations. They've been in the business since 1933, working through Mourer Foster Bonds and Insurance. To get a quote, simply fill out their easy-to-use form.
4. Pet Care Insurance
If you're looking for one plan that covers it all, Pet Care Insurance has got you covered! They specialize in insurance for animal care businesses and offer a comprehensive policy that includes general liability, business personal property, and animal bailee. Plus, they allow you to include unlimited additional insureds for just $10. With Pet Care Insurance, you can provide sitting, walking, pet grooming, training, and more with peace of mind.
When you need flexibility and coverage that fits your schedule, Thimble has you covered. They offer on-demand insurance policies that you can customize to your specific needs as a dog walker or pet sitter. Whether you're looking for professional liability or general liability coverage, they've got the options you need. Thimble caters to various professions and activities like dog daycares, trainers, groomers, sitters, and of course, dog walkers!
6. State Farm
You may be surprised to know that State Farm, a well-known commercial auto insurance provider, also offers coverage for pet sitters and dog walkers. In addition to auto insurance, State Farm provides property, general liability, and professional liability protection to help you manage unexpected risks as a dog walker or pet sitter. Consider their Business Owners Policy to get the coverage you need.
If you're a Canadian pet sitter, look no further than BINKS, PSI's Preferred Canadian Provider for pet-sitter insurance. They're proud to be the exclusive Insurance Broker for the Canadian Members of Pet Sitters International. With their comprehensive insurance program tailored to the special needs of pet sitters, you can have peace of mind knowing you're protected.
Another trusted name in Canada is PROFUR, offering insurance specifically tailored to the needs of pet sitters and dog walkers. Their comprehensive coverage ensures that you can take care of your furry clients with confidence.
9. Canadian Pet Pro
Canadian Pet Pro is a noteworthy insurance provider catering to pet sitters and dog walkers in Canada. Their Canadian Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers Insurance Plan is designed with your needs in mind, providing excellent coverage for business liability, including pets in your care, and fidelity bonding. Their plan covers members, spouses, and up to 5 employees at no additional cost, with no hidden fees involved.
Now, let's talk about…
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Insurance for Your Pet Care Business
Don't make the common mistake of assuming that all insurance policies are the same. Each insurance company offers different coverage limits and features, so it's essential to carefully evaluate and compare them.
When selecting an insurance provider, ask yourself the following important questions:
- How do people perceive the reputation and customer satisfaction of the insurance company you're considering?
- Is the insurance company properly licensed to do business in your state? You'll want to make sure they're operating legally in your area.
- When it comes to handling claims, who will be there to assist you? Is it the insurance company themselves or a third-party service?
- Will the insurance policy you choose cover any damage or loss to your clients' personal belongings while they're under your care? It's important to have the right coverage in case of unexpected incidents.
- If a pet under your watch sustains an injury that isn't your fault, what is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay to cover the veterinary expenses?
- If, heaven forbid, a client's dog was to escape and get hit by a car, resulting in hefty vet bills exceeding $20,000, what's the maximum coverage provided by the insurance company? It's crucial to know if you're adequately protected in such situations.
Also, ensure your coverage includes protection for clients' personal property and pets while they're under your care. You don't want any unexpected surprises when it comes to coverage limits, especially in case of unforeseen events.
Here are a couple of key things to keep in mind. Avoid choosing the lowest level of Care, Custody, or Control (CCC) coverage. It's wise to opt for a higher limit to protect yourself in case of claims that exceed the minimum coverage amount.
Remember that general liability insurance won't cover injuries or illnesses you sustain while pet-sitting or dog walking. To protect yourself in those situations, consider getting workers' compensation insurance, even if it's not legally required.
Lastly, as your pet care business grows and you offer additional services like dog boarding, consult your insurance provider to see if you need separate policies or additional coverage. This ensures that you have comprehensive protection and can offer a wide range of services to your clients.
This brings us to our next question…
How Much Will My Dog Walking Insurance Cost?
The cost of dog walking insurance can vary depending on multiple factors. While it is possible to find a basic dog walking policy for under $150 per year, it's important to remember that opting for cheap insurance may come with compromises. Lower-cost policies often offer less comprehensive coverage and have lower benefit payouts.
It's crucial to consider the potential risks and legal exposures specific to your dog-walking business. Saving money on insurance premiums may not be worth it if it leaves you inadequately covered.
To ensure you have the right protection, it's recommended to carefully assess your needs and seek insurance options that provide sufficient coverage for your specific business requirements.
Now, you might be wondering…
Are You Covered if You Join a Dog Walking Service like Wag or Rover?
Being a part of a dog walking service like Wag or Rover doesn't automatically mean you're fully covered by insurance. While these platforms may provide some level of insurance, it is often limited and may not offer comprehensive protection for all the risks involved in dog walking.
It's crucial to carefully review the terms and conditions of the dog walking service to understand the extent of the insurance coverage they offer. Keep in mind that there may be limitations or exclusions in their policy that could leave you exposed to potential risks. For instance, they may not cover you in the event of a negligence lawsuit or if you accidentally damage a client's property.
To ensure you have sufficient coverage, it is advisable to consider obtaining your own insurance policy. By having your own insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that you're adequately protected against a wider range of risks. Your own insurance policy can provide comprehensive coverage for liability claims, property damage, and other potential incidents that may occur during your dog walking activities.
This brings us to…
Tips that will make your dog walking insurance work wonders for your business
Here are some tips to help you maximize the benefits of your dog walking insurance and protect your business, clients, and furry friends:
- Know your coverage: Read and understand your insurance policy to comprehend the coverage, exclusions, and limitations in detail.
- Personalize your protection: Tailor your insurance to align with the specific risks and requirements of your dog-walking venture.
- Regularly assess and update: Stay proactive by reviewing and adjusting your policy as your business evolves to ensure it remains current.
- Maintain meticulous records: Keep organized documentation of client agreements, incident reports, and proof of insurance for quick reference and easy access.
- Foster transparent communication: Build trust and confidence with clients by openly discussing your insurance coverage, and demonstrating professionalism.
- Implement risk management strategies: Evaluate dogs, practice safe handling techniques, and maintain control to minimize potential risks and accidents.
In addition to these tips, you can also streamline your business needs with a reliable Customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Here at Practice, we offer an exceptional CRM system designed to enhance your pet care experience and make your life easier.
You can count on us to:
- Guard client info: Privacy and security are our top priorities, ensuring your clients' personal information is protected at all times.
- Simplify document sharing: From dog walker contracts to pet boarding forms and even veterinary release waiver templates, we make sharing and managing important documents a walk in the park.
- Foster seamless communication: Stay connected with your clients through our messaging system, exchanging essential information and documents with ease. Plus, we'll keep you in the loop with timely notifications to provide the best care possible.
- Empower you with secure payment options: No need to worry about the financial side of your business – our secure payment options will have you fetching the funds hassle-free.
With Practice, you'll slash expenses, boost employee efficiency, and become the top dog in providing exceptional care for every precious pet in your charge.
Bottom line: Your dog walking and pet-sitting business matters to us, and we want to support your success. That's why we urge you to choose the ideal insurance provider for your pet care business from the list above.
Additionally, let us take care of the operational details to streamline your business, allowing you to devote your time and energy to what you love most – giving outstanding care to your beloved pet clients. Contact us today!