If a pet is lost or injured or injures someone else while in your care, you can be held liable. At the very least, you may have to defend yourself in court, and without insurance, guess who has to pay the legal fees? Insurance will protect you from having to foot the legal bills yourself.
How Do I Know If I Have The Right Coverage For a Pet Care Business? Whether you already have insurance or are just looking for coverage now, be sure to ask these key questions:
Does the Insurance Cover Loss or Injury to Animals? This is the main coverage you need as a pet care service business as it’s likely the biggest risk you have AND it’s coverage that most standard business insurance policies do not include. At the minimum, pet groomers, dog trainers and pet therapists need to have professional liability coverage (sometimes called malpractice insurance) on thier policy. Some policies may include other amendments to give you even broader coverage for animals – your broker should be able to give you the details if you ask. If your policy doesn’t cover loss or injury to animals, keep searching until you find a company who will give you this coverage, or ask other pet care professional who they use.
Is There Coverage for Emergency Vet Bills? A $200 vet bill might not be fun to pay out of your own pocket, but probably can be done to help diffuse a sticky situation. What about a $2,000 vet bill or more? If that’s a little harder to pay from your own pocket, then ask your insurance broker if there is any coverage for emergency vet bills – not everyone offers it, but it is available if this would give you some more peace of mind. And be sure to ask if a deductible will apply to these claims, or if you have to be sued in order to use this coverage (some policies will only pay if you get sued – a good policy will cover the emergency vet bill once the accident has occurred so it helps preserve your good reputation). Of course, it’s always a good idea to have pet 1st aid training to give an injured pet the best care possilbe if they decided to zig when you zagged. Walks ‘n Wags offers pet 1st aid training across Canada and is probably the most common course provider taken by our clients.
Is There Any Coverage for Runaways? Did the golden lab manage to get over and around your double door system? Did the cat make a quick hole in the screen to jump to freedom? Some policies will give you coverage to help pay for a reward and to cover the expenses to recover a runaway. In the worst case scenario where the pet isn’t recovered or doesn’t survive to tell the tale, will your policy at least help you try to make the best of a bad situation and allow you to at least offer to pay to replace the lost animal? Policies designed for pet care professionals will offer this coverage.
Don’t Forget the Basics. It’s almost a no brainer that when you get a business insurance policy you’ll get coverage for your tools, equipment and stock, liability for your premises, along with business interruption coverage (so if you do have a claim that shuts down your salon for a while, like a fire or storm damage, you’ll be able to keep paying yourself, key staff and any ongoing expenses you might have while you’re shut down). Most policies will cover these items automatically, but you should ask to be certain, especially if you have a home based business that is insured by an extension from your home insurance policy as it’s normally a stripped down version of a real business insurance policy.
What if I Get Bit? If you’re injured at work – let’s say you get a dog or cat bite on you can’t work until you recover – a business insurance policy doesn’t cover your lost business or wages. You need a different type of policy altogether that’s called disability insurance, which is normally available from life insurance agents, or you need to be covered under a provincial workers compensation plan.
As always, if you have any questions about the insurance coverage you need, just ask us!