Pet Sitting Insurance
Why Pet Sitting Insurance?
Okay, it's not the sexiest topic... I considered a puppy bikini contest to draw attention - but that's just wrong!
Professional pet sitters need insurance-Period.
The reason I differentiate "professional" is because the pet sitting industry is "hot" and there are a lot of new businesses popping up every day. Not everyone is motivated to care for the animals out of love or passion or even a commitment to business integrity or excellence.
I don't want to immediately start off on the wrong paw paw... so I will clarify...
I do not think there is anything wrong with entering the pet sitting industry out of desire for profit. There is no point getting into any business if we can not profit.
My only reference is to those who enter the business because they think it is an easy quick buck and do not intend to develop their business to a professional level.
Having pet sitting insurance certainly differentiates the true professionals from the "poopy" business owners.
Pet Sitting Insurance can be confusing - even if you are in the pet care business in some other form. Insurance requirements for pet
sitting is different and requires a bit more attention to detail than most other types of business insurance.
We say that because there is no unbiased single source resource for you to research pet sitting liability insurance. Sure, there are pet sitting associations, which I wholeheartedly support and encourage you to join...but each aligns itself with a provider.
Your decision must come from research you've done based on your specific business requirements. That is why I wrote this article.
I have put together a list of providers and some basic information about what to look for in a pet sitter insurance policy.
I hope the research we've done is useful and this single source of information helps saves you time and energy when choosing your insurance provider.
In addition to the list of Pet Sitting insurance providers I have outlined some sample policy coverage details and prices.
My disclaimer: Please obtain a copy of the policy and coverage to compare and choose a policy that best fits your business needs. This information is for educational purposes only. The information is not to be considered complete and I am not responsible for changes made by the insurer since our research data was collected.
Furthermore, We are not affiliated with any insurer, association or organization and do not endorse any particular insurer, association or organization. So I have no vested interest one way or another in which policy you choose...just a sincere desire to help you make an informed decision.
♥ As you read through the policy information below...remember, this article is an easy, single source, unbiased information aggregator (not aggravator) to make your decision a little faster and easier.
♥ I have attempted to offer you a thorough overview of what a typical policy covers, what additional riders are available and a list of insurance providers. This is not a complete list of all providers, I have chosen the top providers based on percentage of market share. You may want to print this page out to better evaluate your options.
The real benefits outweigh the coverage you receive even if you never have an occasion to use your pet sitting insurance.
The fact that you have it and can demonstrate that to your
prospects and clients identifies you as a professional and will
help you grow your business.
→ → As a pet sitter you are asking individuals to trust you
with their beloved animals; and in most cases you are also
asking them to trust you enough to give you access to their
Consider Pet Sitter Insurance an investment in your business and a
requirement if you are serious about your business.
Having the correct pet sitter insurance that covers the way you
run your business is critical. We hope the information we have
provided helps you find the policy that is right for your business.
Once you obtain your pet sitter insurance I recommend you provide proof of your insurance on every new client interview you go on; use it in all marketing you do; add it to your business card; hold seminars on the importance of pet sitting insurance for the safety of the client and their pet.
Remember, please do not substitute this information for actually contacting the insurance providers. Always request hard copy quotes. Remember your insurance needs change as you add services, employees, change locations, depending on the original policy, even as you add new clients.
Review your insurance needs quarterly and any time you have a change in your business.
Grab a cup of coffee, a bowl of water, whatever...here comes the exciting section...the policy coverage overview...
If you keep reading I'll give you a "treat"! I learned that in puppy obedience school.
I Only Trust My Baby To Insured Pet Sitters!
Not Every Provider Covers In Home Pet Sitting!
What Coverage Do I Need?
This Article will answer the questions:
- What is Pet Sitting Insurance?
- What does it cover?
- What doesn't it cover?
- How much do I need?
- What does it cost?
- Who offers Pet Sitting Insurance?
- How do I know which policy and provider is right for me?
One of the ways I like to define Pet Sitting Insurance (because policies vary so much in what they cover) is to first define what it is not.
Pet Sitting Insurance is not:
- medical insurance for you or your employees
- workers compensation
- property damage insurance (your property or the property in your rent or lease)
- a luxury
Pet Sitting Insurance is (always confirm what is covered with your chosen provider):
Ie., if a dog in your care bites someone
Ie., a dog in your care damages someone else's property. For example, Fido eats the wheels off the neighbors bicycle while under your care and supervision.
Personal and Advertising Injury Liability
Coverage for negligence that causes damage or harm to others.
As you consider each companies services, coverage, rates and benefits please keep in mind that no information provided over the phone with a customer care rep is to be considered binding. Always get your quotes in writing.
Write down the agents name and be sure to get the date and time you spoke and ask for his paw print on the quote. (just checking to see if you fell asleep in your coffee yet!)
Do not assume all providers cover all services. For example, some providers only cover pet sitting while performed in a business property and not in a home setting.
Things to consider when requesting a Pet Sitting Policy Quote:
- Does the policy cover employees?
- Does the policy cover pet sitting in YOUR home?
- Does the policy cover pet sitting in the clients' home?
- Does the policy cover transportation liability?
- Does the policy cover independent contractors?
- Is Personal Property Damage Included in the coverage? (usually requires additional coverage)
- Does the policy cover employee theft?
If you offer other services or plan to offer additional services such as dog walking, grooming, training, doggy day care - it is crucial to discuss additional coverage options. Some policies allow you to add on coverage but will limit the number of pets in your care and the number of pets you can board.
Be sure the policy meets your needs today and if you plan to expand your services soon after initiating this policy -be sure it will meet your needs in the near future as well.
Now that you are really revved up by this stimulating topic ♥ ...here come the sample policy quotes.
I think this might be a good place to tell you about the "treat" I promised you. If you post a comment at the end of this article...not only will you get free publicity for you business but if you leave your e-mail address I will send you your choice of one of these two articles: The 7 Easiest Ways To Generate an Additional $1000 A Week in Your Pet Sitting Business or, How to Become A Groomer - A Quick Start Guide.
I am about to go grab my puppy Lucy (she is the star in the articles photo's)...she is grabbing hold of her big sister's tail and I fear about to get nipped.
- Mourer-Foster, Inc.
Mourer-Foster provides a variety of insurance products including coverage for a variety of pet care businesses. Pet Sitters, trainers, day cares, kennels, sporting dog trainers, groomers, dog handlers and more.
- INSFAC - For Pet Sitters Association Members
Insurance for Pet Sitters Association Members only. Provides standardized liability insurance for claims as a result of negligence. Coverage includes incidents while transporting in an automobile. General liability insurance has a total limit $2000.
- PSI - For NAPPS Members
Insurance for members of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. Administered by Village Insurance Agency, DBA Business Insurers of the Carolinas. They claim to provide the broadest bond coverage in the pet sitting market.
- Pet Sitters Associates, LLC
General Liability insurance in included in the Pet Sitters Association membership dues. The policy covers pet sitting, walking, transportation and pooper scooper services. Coverage for personal property damage is available for an additional $95.
Who's "Sitting" Who?
Pet Care Marketing Strategies
Providers and Typical Coverage
Expect premiums around $350 - $500 per year depending on the coverage you choose.
See Below For Sample Policy (rates below were quoted for an Alabama business and were valid as of 11/2007):
Mourer-Foster sample policy:
Commercial General Liability USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, Limited Worldwide Policy
- $0 deductible
- $2,000,000 Per Occurrence
- $4,000,000 General Aggregate
- $2,000,000 Personal & Advertising Injury
- $ 10,000 Medical Expenses - Any One Person
- $ 300,000 Damages to Premises Rented to You
Care, Custody and Control Limits $10,000 (higher limits available)
This provides coverage for both medical and replacement for animals in your care, custody and control.
- Limits: $10,000 (higher limits available)
- Coverage Territory: USA and Canada
- Deductible: $250.00
- Minimum Premium: $350.00 annually
- Payment Options: Annual, Semi annual* or Quarterly*
*$7.00 service fee for billing applied.
Optional Employee Dishonesty Bond
Limits Available (Based on 5 employees or less including owner)
- $ 5,000 - $100.00
- $10,000 - $114.82
- $25,000 - $170.10
Business Insurers of the Carolinas
- http://www.mourerfoster.com/business.shtml Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Coverage for Pet Sitters Association or Napps Members only. See both listed below.
For Pet Sitters Association Members only
- Dues (1/2008) $164/year
- Additional coverage available - see application form on site for rates
Individual Policy Features (individual proprietorships only)
Basic Liability Limits:
- $2 Million General Aggregate
- $1 Million Products/Complete Operations
- $1 Million Personal & Advertising Injury
- $1 Million Each Occurrence
- $100,000 Fire Legal Liability
- $5,000 Medical
- $100 Deductible
Basic Liability Coverage:
- Premises/operations liability
- Products/Complete Operations
- Host Liquir Liability
- Incidental Malpractice Liability
- Incidental Contractual Liability
Unique Policy Features
- Covers animals in your care, custody and control 10,000/25,000 limits
- Lost Key /Re-key coverage up to $2,500
pet grooming, limited in Your home pet care, and housesitting, Care Custody and Control of all other property
Pet Sitter Dishonesty Bond
Coverage for employee theft. Theft must be proven prior to bond payment
Standard Policy includes the above plus the below features are included and not optional:
- Coverage for damage to property in your care, custody and control - including the pet
- Coverage for employees
- Lost Key Coverage
- Blanket Independent Contractors Coverage
Coverage for Pet Grooming, Limited To In Your Home Pet Care and Housesitting
For NAPPS Members (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters)*
- Company Memberships $140
- Sole Proprietorships, partnerships or corporations
- Individual Memberships $ 75
- Associate Memberships - 4 types available from $100 - $2,000
*See website for details on membership definitions
Canadian and UK providers listed below:
- Mourer-Foster, Inc.
- Scholfield-Aker Aviva
- Pet Business Insurance
Does Your Policy Cover Dogs Off Leash?
Once you get your policy - remember, to use it as a selling tool with your prospects and clients. Provide a copy of your coverage on all new prospect calls and display it prominently if you have a place of business.
Don't be afraid of "using it as a selling tool". I would never leave my babies with a sitter who isn't insured. You would be doing me (by that you should interpret it as Your Clients, Your Prospects) an enourmous favor by relieving my stress and anxiety when looking for a trustworthy sitter.
If I am a new pet owner, I might not even think of asking about it. If you advertise your insurance status - then I pick your name out of the yellow pages instead of Bubba's Pet Sitting.
If I am new to the neighborhood...(by the way, huge marketing tip here...target new residents with your marketing)...I need a fast, easy way to select a pet sitter. I might ask around but since I am new, everyone I ask is also new to me. I don't know who to trust.
And then suddenly, I see a flyer, a mailer or a yellow pages ad that clearly states that your pet sitting business is insured and bonded...bow wow, I think I'll give you a call!
You may never know how much business you win because you advertise that you are insured and bonded. I suggest surveying your clients and ask them how important insurance coverage is to them. List a few of the features your policy covers and ask them to rate the importance on a 1 to 5 scale.
This is an effective marketing strategy on many levels. First, it keeps the dialog between you and your customers active. It also reminds your clients of one of the reasons they are doing business with you. It will help keep competitors away from your clients. Using a survey as a soft marketing strategy...what a dog gone good idea!
Watch Your Business Prosper.
P.S. Don't forget to post a comment and let me know which
article you want me to send as your free "treat".