According to data from the American Pet Products Association, 65 percent of U.S. households had a pet in 2015-2016, and the estimated number of pet dogs numbered 77.8 million. When people are away at work or on vacation, many trust a dog walker to come exercise their precious pooch. Dog walking is a flexible, active way to earn income. But it’s also a high-risk profession with many variables that make it unpredictable.
Dog walking business insurance can help protect your finances in the face of a liability lawsuit, damaged property, or an unfortunate accident. Don’t leave your livelihood up to chance! Compare your coverage options with CoverHound.
It’s a Risky Business
General liability is a solid safety net for dog walkers, as it covers claims of property damage to others, bodily harm to others, and advertising injury. If a third-party sues you for any of these claims, commercial general liability (CGL) insurance could cover the legal fees and the damages if you’re found liable.
If a dog slips out of his leash and causes someone to fall and break an arm, the dog walker could be on the hook for their medical bills and missed work. If you turn your back on Fido and he chews up someone’s expensive yard art, you would be liable for the damages to their property. If a competitor sues you for copyright infringement of their logo, you’re facing a court case that could put you out of business without proper insurance in place. CGL provides a safety net against unpredictability.
Adding Property Protection
You can’t assume that your renters or homeowners insurance covers your business-related property against damages from fire, vandalism, theft, wind, and more. Whether you have special equipment related to your dog-related business or a high-end work computer that you use to keep client information, you’ll likely want to take out property insurance. One easy to way to combine commercial general liability insurance with property protection is to choose a business owners policy (BOP) that bundles them together.
Unpredictable Job Duties
Even if you have general liability coverage, you’re vulnerable to lawsuits regarding professional negligence. Professional liability insurance (also called errors and omissions) protects your finances if a client claims your services or advice led to losses for them.
Nolo outlines another possible situation that would lead to liability for the dog walker on the basis of negligence: “An employee of a dog-walking service carelessly leaves a dog in a parked car on a hot day; the dog dies of heat prostration.” That’s an extreme example, but you know better than anyone that animals can sustain unpredictable injuries. Professional liability insurance also covers you if a client claims you didn’t show up at your scheduled time, resulting in their dog wrecking their antique sofa. Or if they believe you did not complete the agreed-upon route on your walk, or deviated from your contract in any way that led to loss for them.
In Case You Get Injured
One major injury could hinder you from doing your job for weeks, not to mention rack up medical bills. Workers’ compensation is a requirement for businesses, and is especially important for dog walkers who aren’t sure what conditions and animals they’ll face daily. Cover yourself and any employees you have with a workers' compensation package.
Before you reach for your leash and doggie bags, compare dog walking business insurance options and make sure you’re fully covered! CoverHound’s experts are here to help.