Pet Business Insurance

Whether you are a dog walker, pet sitter or groomer, protect yourself from potential liabilities with Pet Business Insurance

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Zensurance - Pet Care Business Owner
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Insurance for Pet Professionals

For over one-half of Canadians, the companionship and emotional support that comes with having a pet are well worth the time and financial commitment. With pets in high demand due to the social isolation imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the pet services industry is rapidly expanding to keep up.

 However, as with any business, there is always a risk when you work directly with people (and animals!). If a client is dissatisfied or a pet is injured in your care, you may be liable. Whether you offer dog walking part-time or own a pet sitting business, a strong risk management strategy is essential to your business’s survival. 

 At Zensurance, we know what makes your business unique. With more than fifty insurance partners, we’ve helped over 100,000 entrepreneurs protect their businesses with insurance policies customized to meet their specific needs. 

 Our mission is to make insurance as accessible as possible. We wrote this guide to help you navigate the basics of liability insurance for your pet care business.

What is Pet Business Insurance?

When it comes to insuring your business, there are unique factors, such as services offered, training, and location, that are considered when finding the perfect coverage for your business.

 Pet Business Insurance is a policy package designed to protect against the specific risks associated with pet services, such as third-party injuries, negligence, or property damage.

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What does it cover?

Every pet business is unique, and insurance requirements may vary by specialization; however, a comprehensive policy package for pet service providers will typically include the following coverages:

  • Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance: Commercial General Liability Insurance is a coverage that protects you and your business against day-to-day risks. It covers your business against claims of third-party bodily injury (e.g., slip and fall) or property damage (e.g., damaged floors) that occur in your office or at a client’s home. For example, a client comes to pick their dog up from a grooming session and slips on an unattended puddle, injuring their wrist. CGL could cover the medical fees and legal expenses, regardless of the lawsuit’s outcome.
  • Product Liability Insurance: Often included in your CGL policy, Product Liability Insurance protects against claims alleging a product you distribute, manufacture, or sell caused property damage or bodily injury. Damages usually covered by product liability are usually the result of a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect, such as missing safety warnings or incorrect labeling. For example, a customer claims the strap on the saddle you sold to them snapped and injured their horse. Your Product Liability Insurance could cover the veterinary fees, as well as any legal expenses incurred.
  • Professional Liability Insurance (PLI): Also known as Errors & Omissions Insurance (E&O), Professional Liability Insurance offers coverage for misconduct, negligence, or failure to deliver a service as advertised. Whether you provide your services in-person (e.g., grooming) or online (e.g., training tutorials), if a client feels the service you provided didn’t have the expected results, they could sue. For example, you provide behavioral training services to animals. One of the dogs that graduated from your advanced training program continuously ignores commands, which has led to the dog injuring people and property. In this scenario, the owner may sue you for negligent training, and your Professional Liability Insurance could cover legal fees incurred while settling.
  • Commercial Property Insurance: Commercial Property Insurance is critical for business owners, as it protects your property (i.e., office, equipment, inventory) from an event that is covered by your insurance policy, such as a fire or theft. Commercial Property Insurance policies can include Business Interruption (a.k.a. business income) coverage as an option, which provides reimbursement for net income lost following an insured event. For example, a fire partially destroys your pet supplies store and inventory. Your Commercial Property Insurance could cover the cost to repair the store and replace the stock, while your Business Interruption coverage could cover the income lost during repairs.
    •  Please note, business interruption coverage will not cover income lost due to a pandemic, infectious disease, or government-mandated closure.
  • Cyber Insurance: Whether you provide digital offerings (e.g., training, appointments) as part of your business model or use a Point of Sale system if you store any client data (e.g., financial), you are liable to protect this information. Cyber Insurance covers costs associated with electronic incidents (e.g., cyber hack, data breach) involving your technology systems and data. For example, an employee at your pet daycare facility opens a malicious link, compromising your client’s financial information. Your Cyber Liability Insurance could cover the cost to notify your clients, implement a security system, and any legal fees.

Who needs it?

Any professional or business providing pet care services should protect their business with a comprehensive insurance policy. We’ve helped 1000s of pet service providers; some of our client’s businesses include: 

  • Pet Training
  • Pet Daycare
  • Pet Grooming
  • Therapy Pet Operations
  • Dog Walkers
  • Pet Boarding
  • Pet Transportation
  • Microchipping
  • Greyhound and Pound Dog Assessment 

 Not only will carrying insurance protect you from financial loss, but it may also help secure jobs, as clients want to see the people taking care of their pets are adequately insured.

How much does it cost?

Your insurance premium cost varies based on factors such as training, services, and annual revenue. For example, a dog walker can anticipate spending $100 a year on insurance with $1M CGL and $1M Professional Liability coverage.

 In the online quote application, we ask your business some questions to understand your coverage needs better. 

The following factors are typically taken into consideration when determining the cost of your premium:

  • Services Offered
  • Years of Experience
  • Number of Employees
  • Annual and Projected Revenue

We’ve partnered with over fifty insurance providers to offer you different options that suit your pet business needs at the best price.

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Business considerations

Beyond the animals you help, there are specific risks involved in running a business. Here’s some advice to help you choose the right insurance policies for your business.

Insurance for Dog Walkers

As a dog walker, you provide an invaluable service to dog-owners who are short on time and need help ensuring their furry best friend gets enough exercise. Whether you’re an independent contractor or run a dog walking business with multiple employees, you need comprehensive coverage that can accompany you on all of your walking routes. A Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance policy could protect you against accidental injury to others (including the dogs) or property damage. For example, you are walking a client’s dog, and it bites someone passing by. The person suffers severe wounds from the event. Your CGL could cover the medical fees related to the bite, as well as legal expenses. As a service provider, you will want to protect your business with Professional Liability Insurance, which covers costs associated with claims alleging negligence or failure to deliver a service as promised. For example, you forget to lock a client’s door after returning their dog from a walk. Thieves rob the house, and your client sues you for negligence. Finally, suppose you use a Point of Sale system to collect payments or an app to schedule sessions. In that case, you will want to protect yourself with Cyber Liability Insurance should an electronic incident occur and compromise your client’s sensitive data, such as their address or credit card information. 

Suggested Coverage for Dog Walkers: 

  • Commercial General Liability Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Cyber Liability Insurance

Pet Groomers

Comprehensive coverage that can withstand grooming pets, managing employees, and general business liability risks is essential to running a thriving pet grooming business. In addition to Commercial Property Insurance, which is often required to rent or lease a space, several other policies can protect your grooming business from claims and lawsuits.

When you have a pet grooming business, you have the opportunity to operate from various locations – clients may visit you at your grooming salon, you have a mobile business, visit clients at their homes, or they see you at yours. Regardless of where you conduct business, Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance is critical, as it protects you against claims alleging property damage or bodily injury due to your business operations. For example, you accidentally damage a client’s sink while grooming their dog at their home. Your CGL could cover the cost to repair or replace the sink. A note for groomers operating from home, most homeowner’s policies do not cover damages to your home that result from business-related activities. Speak with your broker to ensure you have full coverage.

Grooming business owners who sell or manufacture products are advised to add Product Liability Insurance to their policy, which covers injuries or property damage resulting from a product you manufacture, sell, or distribute. For example, you sell shampoo for cats at your salon, which several clients claim caused a severe rash to them when used. Your Product Liability Insurance could cover medical expenses for the owners.

As a service provider, a Professional Liability Insurance policy will protect your business from claims alleging negligence or failure to deliver a service as promised. For example, you are hired to groom an award-winning show horse before a competition. The client, unhappy with how you cut their horse’s mane and tail, claims your services caused the horse to lose the competition. Your Professional Liability Insurance could cover the associated legal fees.

If you store any client data, use a Point of Sale or scheduling software (e.g., Groomsoft), Cyber Liability Insurance will help your business recover from an electronic incident, such as a cyber attack or data breach.

If you have full-time employees, they are likely covered by your pet business liability insurance. However, it is essential to note that your coverage limit applies to all employees of your business, not each employee. One option to accommodate all of your employees is to increase your limit. Hiring independent contractors that carry liability insurance is another way to ensure everyone has adequate coverage.

Suggested Coverage for Pet Groomers:

  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance
  • Product Liability Insurance 
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Cyber Liability Insurance

Pet Boards/Sitters

Many owners prefer boarding their pets while they are away, ensuring round-the-clock care and personal attention. As a pet boarder, you require a flexible policy that can withstand managing many pets (and owners!) with different temperaments and needs, as well as employees and common business risks. In addition to Commercial Property Insurance, which is often required to rent or lease a facility, several other policies can protect your pet boarding business. 

Commercial General Liability can protect against claims or lawsuits from third parties alleging property damage or bodily injury (including pets) resulting from your business activities. For example, you own a cat kennel that provides boarding services. Two of the cats in your care get into a fight and need medical attention for their scratches. In this scenario, your Commercial General Liability policy might provide coverage for the stitches the animals need. 

Boarding business owners who sell or distribute products are advised to add Product Liability Insurance to their policy, which covers injuries or property damage resulting from a product you manufacture, sell, or distribute. For example, you give the pets at your hotel a calming treat to help them wind down at night. Unfortunately, one of the dogs in your care suffers from a severe allergic reaction. Your Product Liability Insurance could provide coverage for the veterinary fees, as well as legal expenses. 

Since you provide a service, a Professional Liability Insurance policy is necessary to protect your business from claims alleging negligence or failure to deliver a service as promised. For example, a customer claims you did not feed their pet following the specific diet outlined in the intake form and sues you for negligence. 

If you store any client data, use a Point of Sale or scheduling software (e.g., Kennel Link), Cyber Liability Insurance will help your business recover from an electronic incident, such as a cyber attack or data breach.

Suggested Coverage for Pet Groomers:

  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance
  • Product Liability Insurance 
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Cyber Liability Insurance

Common claims scenarios

Getting insured is quick and easy!

You’ve built a career out of helping people take care of their pets; you deserve a broker dedicated to providing you with the same level of care. If you’re ready to get your free quote, start your online application today. If you need more information or prefer to speak with a broker, our friendly team will always help guide you through the process.

Mistakes can happen and disrupt your business in a matter of minutes. We know what makes your business unique; leave it to us to find the best fit for you.

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