If you’re running a pet sitting business, you will need pet sitter insurance. As much as we all love them, animals are unpredictable creatures. Combine that fact with just a few seconds of human inattention and anything can happen, leaving you liable for unexpected incidents from torn-up turf through an injury to a person or animal.
But while possible liability is the first and most obvious reason to get pet sitter insurance, another reason is to gain the confidence of your customers who will view you as a responsible, reputable business.
Pet Sitter Insurance Versus Bonding
Bonding, which is regarded as fidelity bonding in the pet sitting industry, is a type of business insurance that protects customers from theft by employees. It’s an advantage to your pet sitting business to be bonded because it automatically gives your customers a higher level of trust in your business. However, because bonding is very specific coverage, it’s not the only type of insurance you want to get for your pet sitter business.
Types of Insurance for Your Pet Sitting Business
To some extent, the type of insurance you need should be based on the services you provide to customers. Every pet sitter company needs to have certain types of coverage, such as the following:
- General liability insurance. Liability coverage protects you from being held personally responsible for damage. Every pet business needs to have general liability insurance to protect against claims arising from accidental injury to people or pets or accidental property damage. Make sure that you have the kind of liability insurance that covers damage to property as well as injury to people and pets.
- Professional liability insurance. You may also need professional liability insurance if you provide instruction or advice to your clients about their pets. This insurance protects you from claims or damage resulting from your professional advice or actions. Error and omissions insurance is one such type of professional liability coverage. For example, suppose that you’re a dog trainer as well as a pet sitter and you advised one of your clients to feed their dog a particular type of food that caused all the dog’s hair to fall out. General liability insurance may be no protection in this case, but professional liability insurance would cover you.
- Coverage for injury or loss of customers' pets. A lot can happen to a pet while its owner is away—and not all of it is pleasant. As a pet sitter, you will have to deal with dogs, cats, or other pets that get sick or injured, run away, or even die on your watch. You need the kind of insurance to help you pay for unexpected expenses such as emergency trips to the vet.
- Lost key coverage. As your pet business grows, so will the number of customers' keys passing through your hands. If you or one of your employees ever loses a key, this kind of insurance pays for replacing the locks at the affected customer’s home.
According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, in 2018 cats continued to outnumber dogs with 8.3 million cats considered household pets, while dog ownership increased to 8.2 million.
Pet Sitter Insurance Providers
Once you've decided on the best coverage for your pet sitting services, you will need to review different insurance policies to determine which providers offer the best deal. In Canada, PROfur Pet Sitting Insurance and Canadian Pet Pro are two main insurance providers.
You may also save money on your insurance by purchasing a package or by becoming a member of an international organization such as Pet Sitters International. Canadian members can get a special rate through Binks Insurance Pet Sitters Insurance. Also, your local insurance broker may also be able to direct you to a deal.
Pet sitting businesses continue to be a popular choice among new business owners looking to serve an increasing number of dog and cat owners. An important consideration in running a pet sitting business is choosing the proper insurance coverage. Business owners should research insurers and the types of coverage they offer to find the best deal for their business.