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Pet Sitting Insurance: What Is It? And Where to Buy It?

Do you sometimes watch a loved one’s pet? Or do you run a full pet-sitting operation? Whether pet sitting is just a side venture to help out friends and family or it’s a major undertaking to pay your bills, you may want to look into pet sitting insurance.  

Put simply, pet sitting insurance is a type of liability coverage that offers protection if something goes wrong while watching someone else’s pet. Below we’ll cover what it is in more detail, why it’s important and where to find such policies.

Pet Sitting Insurance: Why It’s Important 

Pet sitting is a surprisingly risky venture. When many people think of pet sitting, they picture playing with a cute little fur ball and giving it food once or twice per day. But like any business venture, pet sitting can carry a certain amount of risk.  

For instance, a few situations where pet sitting could go wrong include:

  • The cat you’re watching gets outside and runs away.
  • The dog you’re watching bites another dog while you’re out walking him.
  • Two dogs get into a fight while you’re watching them and one needs extensive emergency veterinary care.
  • A dog you’re watching chews up all the furniture because you forgot to latch the kennel door before you left.
  • A cat eats some tinsel that it can’t digest and you have to take the cat to the vet to have the tinsel removed.
  • An employee you hired forgot to close a birdcage door and the bird flew away. 

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The fact is, owning and watching animals comes with the risk of illness and injury. No matter how good you are at keeping an eye on an animal, it’s a living creature with its own will. Even if you think you did everything correctly, a dog could still worm his way over a loose dog gate and chew up the whole sofa. 

>>MORE: What does Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet sitting insurance protects you against third party legal action attempting to reclaim costs and damage in relation to these unfortunate situations. So unlike regular pet insurance, pet sitting insurance is for businesses.   

>>MORE: The Best Pet Insurance That Covers Pre-Existing Conditions

How Pet Sitting Insurance Works

The central part of pet sitting insurance is general liability. This protects your business against bodily injury and property damage caused by your business. It covers you in the event of third party claims against you or your staff member’s negligence. General liabilities can be quite generous, like Petcare Insurance’s $2,000,000 general liability aggregate limit on its base policy. Plans start at $129 per year.     

Some other common parts of pet sitting insurance cover: 

  • Veterinarian Expense Reimbursement Coverage: Sometimes with a $250 deductible and $5,000 aggregate limit.
  • Animal Bailee: Covers expenses in relation to an animal’s injury or death that you are legally liable for while it was in your care, custody or control, according to Petcare Insurance. As in the case of Petcare Insurance, you may see $5,000 per occurrence or a $10,000 aggregate limit. There are also higher limits.
  • Employee Dishonesty Coverage: Covers you against fraudulent or dishonest actions that an employee performed. This often stands instead of employee dishonesty bonding, which can protect you against theft and isn’t considered to be a type of insurance.
  • Lost Key Liability Coverage: Covers in case locks need to be changed because you lost a key, for example. You’ll sometimes see $2,000 in coverage for an aggregate limit. 

Pet Sitting Insurance is not meant to protect you in the event of injury or damages to you or your employees. You will have to get an individual workers’ compensation insurance plan if you want coverage for that. Some groups, like the Business Insurers of the Carolinas, allow you to access these policies as well.     

>>MORE: Finding the Best Pet Dental Insurance

Where to Find Pet Sitting Insurance

There are a number of larger companies that cover pet sitting insurance: 

Petcare Insurance: This is one of the first companies that pops up during a search. The company has comprehensive coverage like lost key liability coverage, employee dishonesty coverage and animal bailee, to name a few. Yearly rates start at $129 per year, as mentioned above.

Pets Sitters Associates: This company also has fairly comprehensive coverage with up to $2,000,000 annually for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury and advertising injury, as a few examples. The company also has a number of add-ons for options like added spouses or partners on the plan, obedience training insurance or grooming insurance. Basic plans start at $190 per year.     

Business Insurers of the Carolinas: This group offers general liability and bonding insurance specifically for professional pet sitters, as well as access to workers’ comp insurance. Active members of Pet Sitters International have access to discounted rates. Basic liability also sits at $2,000,000 in general aggregate limits.  

Kennel Pro: Kennel Pro allows you to choose between different tier packages to customize your coverage. The silver package is for those who work with animals but do not own business property. The gold package is for people in a similar situation who run animal rescues and dog training operations. The platinum package offers the highest level of coverage for those who own business property.   

>>MORE: Pet Insurance that Covers Preventative Care

Final Thoughts:

  • Pet sitting insurance is important for anyone who runs a pet sitting venture. Many things can go wrong while watching an animal. Pet sitting insurance protects you in the event that someone attempts to hold you liable in a court of law.
  • The core part of pet sitting insurance policies is general liability. There are also other types of coverage, like lost key liability.
  • You can find pet sitting insurance from a number of major insurers. It’s common to see prices in the range of $100-200 annually.
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