Being a professional dog walker may be your dream come true, but it’s also a risky business. the most obvious risk is your liability if someone is bitten by the dog you are walking. But many dog walkers don’t consider the significant costs of injury to pets or damage to property in their care.
Dog walking insurance and bond are a must if you have a dog walking business or if you are an independent contractor making extra money. Accidents happen, and insurance protects you, your business, your customers, and their pets from a financial nightmare.
what is dog walking insurance?
As a professional dog walker, you are responsible for the financial ramifications of working with multiple dogs. These can include expensive medical injury claims, legal costs, vet bills, and costs related to property damage and theft.
Dog walking insurance doesn’t just cover you. the best policies protect your business, including your employees. it is also crucial to your professional reputation. Here are some examples of costly accidents that insurance will cover.
- the dog you are walking lunges at a pedestrian and bites him in the leg.
- You are at a dog park with a customer’s dog, who gets into a fight with another dog, causing injuries to both.
- a dog in his care gets away from him and gets hit by a car.
- a dog in your care eats something toxic at home or on a walk.
- You forget to lock your client’s front door and his house is robbed.
- arrest, detention or false imprisonment
- malicious prosecution
- improper eviction or improper entry
- oral or written publications that defame or slander a person or organization
- oral or written materials that violate a person’s right to privacy
- use of someone else’s advertising idea in your marketing
how to get a bond and dog walking insurance
Not all insurance companies offer dog walking policies, but more are entering the market as professional dog walking continues to grow. The best way to find reliable insurance coverage is to do your research.
We recommend pet care insurance through Veracity Insurance Solutions and Lloyds of London. You can also ask other dog walkers what they use and check with a local insurance professional.
In addition to commercial dog walking insurance, you should research bonding requirements in your area. Many companies that offer dog-walking or pet-sitting insurance also provide bonds.
why is bonding important?
first, what is linking? Generally speaking, the bond is a type of insurance that protects your clients against any loss caused by the contractor (the walker). specifically, being bonded as a dog walker provides your clients with compensation in the event of property theft or damage.
binding requirements vary by state. Some states require bonding before you can register your business or purchase insurance. Even if it’s optional in your state, you still need to get bail. why?
Buying a pet care voucher is an excellent business practice. being attached helps assure potential clients that you are trustworthy and will not abuse your access to their home or the welfare of a family member.
Tip: If you have employees, you should get a fidelity bond to protect yourself as a business owner. this type of bond covers you against any loss resulting from dishonest acts on the part of your dog walking staff.
what does commercial dog walking insurance cover?
all dog walking policies include dog walking general liability insurance, which helps you with the cost of legal claims against you for injuries or damages suffered by a third party during your operations commercial. Features of this coverage may include the following.
A common feature of general liability insurance, medical coverage reimburses the costs of medical bills associated with people who have been injured by a dog in their care.
products/operations carried out
products/completed operations covers your liability for property damage or injury to a third party once you cease your contracted operations.
personal and advertising damages
Many dog walking insurance policies include advertising and personal injury clauses, which are common in many commercial insurance policies. This coverage includes claims arising from one or more of the following situations:
animal depository coverage provides coverage due to the loss or destruction of animals in your care, custody and control. This is important if you are worried that the owners of the dogs you work for will hold you responsible for any damage to their pet while walking.
Veterinary Expense Reimbursement coverage protects you from veterinary expenses (regardless of fault) for your client’s pet while in your custody up to the policy limit. if your customer has pet health insurance, they may not need this feature.
If you lose your clients’ keys, you are covered for the cost of replacing or resetting the locks on your client’s home.
how much does dog walking insurance cost?
The best dog walking insurance policies average$300 to $600 per year.
Get a quote from Veracity Pet Care Insurance Division
You can find a basic dog-walking policy for less than $150 a year, but keep in mind: cheap insurance can often mean less comprehensive coverage and much lower benefit payments. saving money may not be worth it if you don’t cover all your legal exposures.
how to grow your dog walking business
This short video from jump consulting gives you great tips on how to grow your customer base for your dog walking business.
Are you covered if you join a dog-walking service?
If you’re not sure you want to start your own dog walking business, you have other options. Existing national companies like Rover (read our detailed Rover review) and WAG have some significant benefits for dog walkers, including insurance coverage. this way, you don’t have to pay yearly premiums out of pocket.
What are the disadvantages of working for an existing service? Some companies do not allow you to set your own rates and take a percentage of your profits. still, it might be worth it if you don’t want all the stress of launching and running your own business.
Be sure to check out our reviews of the best dog walking services and best pet sitting services to learn more about these companies, to work for, or to learn about the competition.