Pet Sitter Insurance & Pet Sitting Bonding in Canada

What to Look for in Pet Sitter Insurance & Pet Sitting Bonding in Canada

Woman playing with toy and cat on sofa.
Pet sitter insurance and bonding. Image (c) Tim Kitchen/ Getty Images

 

If you’re running a pet sitting business, you need pet sitter insurance. As much as we all love them, animals are unpredictable creatures. Combine that fact with just a few seconds of human inattention and anything can happen, leaving you liable for anything from torn up turf through an injury to a person or animal. 

But while possible liability is the first and most obvious reason to get pet sitter insurance, there is another - the increasingly crowded nature of the pet sitting field.

Perhaps because the barriers to entry are low or perhaps because new dog and cat ownership continues to expand at nearly 4% per year, pet sitting businesses are currently one of the most popular businesses to start.

(Looking for a different  animal-related business to start? Read 18 Pet Business Ideas.)

So how do you get your business to stand out and attract customers in such a crowded field? One way is to make sure your pet sitting business is bonded and insured, making your business more trustworthy in customers’ eyes.

What’s the Difference Between Pet Sitter Insurance and Bonding?

Actually, bonding is a type of business insurance. When we think and talk of bonding in relationship to pet sitting, we’re referring to a type of bond known as a fidelity bond which protects your customers from theft by your employees. (See Why and How to Get Bonded in Canada for more on the different types of business bonds available and how to get them.)

It’s an advantage to your pet sitting business to be bonded because it automatically gives your customers a higher level of trust in your business.

However, because bonding is very specific coverage, it’s certainly not the only type of insurance you will want to get for your pet sitter business.

Other Types of Insurance Your Pet Sitting Business Will Need

The pet sitting insurance you need will be determined to some extent by the services you provide your customers, but there is some business insurance that every pet sitter company will need to have:

1) Liability – Liability coverage protects you from being held personally responsible for damage. Every pet business will need to have general liability insurance to protect against claims arising from accidental injury to people or pets and/or accidental property damage.

One thing to look for is to be sure that you have the kind of liability insurance that covers damage to property as well as injury to people and pets.

For instance, if you are in someone’s house pet sitting and knock over an expensive vase, you want to have insurance to cover the replacement cost.

You may also need professional liability insurance if you provide instruction or advice to your clients about their pets. This is the kind of insurance that protects you from claims of damage resulting from your professional advice or actions. Error and omissions insurance is one such type of professional liability coverage.

Suppose that you’re a dog trainer as well as a pet sitter and you advised one of your clients to feed their dog a particular type of food that caused all the dog’s hair to fall out. General liability insurance may be no protection in this case, but professional liability insurance would cover you.

2) Coverage for injury or loss of customer’s pets. A lot can happen to a pet while its owner is away – and not all of it is pleasant.

As a pet sitter, sooner or later you’re going to have to deal with dogs, cats or other pets that get sick or injured, run away or even die on your watch. You need the kind of insurance that will help you pay for unexpected expenses such as emergency trips to the vet.

3) Lost Key Coverage -  As your pet business grows, so will the number of people’s keys passing through your hands. If you (or one of your employees) ever lose one, this kind of insurance will pay for replacing the locks at the affected customer’s home.

Pet Sitter Insurance Providers

Once you’ve decided what types of insurance you need to cover the services your pet sitting business provides, you’re ready to check out different insurance providers and see which provides the best deal for your needs. You may be able to save money on your insurance by purchasing a package deal or by becoming a member of an international organization such as Pet Sitters International.

  U.S. members of this organization receive a special group rate at Business Insurers of the Carolinas while Canadian members can get a special rate through Binks Insurance Pet Sitters Insurance.

Professional United Pet Sitters LLC offers a USA Dog Walking & Pet Sitting Business Insurance Comparison Chart which you may find useful.

In Canada, PROfur Pet Sitting Insurance and Canadian Pet Pro  are two of the other main pet sitter insurance providers.

Don’t forget to ask your local insurance broker too. He or she may be able to direct you to a deal you would never have heard about otherwise. And with business insurance, it always pays to shop around.