Do I need pet sitting insurance?
I offer professional pet sitting through my business in San Diego called Run That Mutt.
Pet sitting insurance is important for pet sitters, dog walkers and dog runners. Not only is pet sitting insurance important for your own protection, but it helps you stand out as a professional.
In this post I’ll go over the reasons why I won’t go without pet sitting insurance.
Why pet sitting insurance is important for pet sitters
Any responsible pet sitter will carry insurance for her own protection. As a pet sitter, you will be working with animals on someone else’s property. Pet sitting insurance will cover instances (up to a certain amount) such as:
- Property damage you accidentally cause to a client’s property
- Property damage the pet causes while under your care
- Medical expenses if the pet is injured while under your care
- Medical expenses if the pet injures someone else while under your care
- Key and lock replacement if you lose a client’s key
Of course, you will need to check with each specific insurance company and the specific policy to make sure you understand what is or isn’t covered.
What doesn’t pet sitting insurance cover?
Each specific company and policy will be different. Here are some instances that pet sitting insurance typically does not cover:
- Medical costs if you (the pet sitter) are injured while caring for a client’s pet
- Medical costs if your spouse or business partner is injured while caring for a client’s pet
- Medical costs if an employee or contract worker is injured while caring for a client’s pet
Sometimes pet sitters are under the impression that their pet sitting insurance will cover their medical costs if they are bitten by a dog. This is generally not the case. For example, I chose to seek medical attention in one instance due to a dog bite. I used my personal health insurance for this instance because I knew it would not be covered by my pet sitting insurance.
This is why you should have pet sitting liability forms for all your clients to sign.
Pet sitting liability forms
Your pet sitting liability form should state that the client will be responsible for all medical costs if his or her dog bites you (the pet sitter) or injures you in any other way. This is where you would also include your policies for vaccination records, what you will do in emergencies, etc. For your own protection, do not care for a client’s pet until he or she signs your liability contract.
*Purchase a copy of my editable liability contract here.
What do pet sitters mean when they say they are “bonded” and insured?
When you see pet sitting companies claiming they are “bonded” and insured, it means the business owner is covered in case an employee or contract worker steals or is accused of stealing from a client. In other words, it is extra protection for the pet sitter.
Bonding is not necessary if you do not have any employees or contract workers. Sometimes bonding is included in the general pet sitting insurance policy, and sometimes it is purchased separately.
How much does pet sitting insurance cost?
Pet sitting insurance is about $180 to $240 per year, depending on the company and plan you choose. You will pay more if you need coverage for a spouse or employee. You may also need to pay more if you want to include coverage at your own home for dog daycare or if you plan to offer dog training or grooming.
Tips to keep in mind when choosing a pet sitting insurance company
- Some companies charge an additional “membership” fee in addition to the cost of the insurance
- Don’t choose a pet sitting insurance company that discriminates against certain breeds or types of dogs.