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    What types of insurance policies do pet service professionals need?

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    Pet owners are growing in numbers as everyone recognizes the benefits of a furry companion. As a result, the demand for professionals such as groomers and trainers has also increased.

    If you’re a pet service professional, you may be busy giving a puppy their first haircut or teaching them to sit. But it’s also essential to recognize the risks of your business and how you can mitigate them. Being a pet service professional is risky work, as pets can get hurt or go missing in your care.

    This article sets out the insurance policies pet professionals should consider to protect themselves and their business from a potential lawsuit.

    General liability insurance

    General liability insurance is a standard policy for any business owner, especially if you have a storefront. This kind of policy protects against accidental injuries to clients and their pets and against property damage while people are at your business premise.

    For example, a client may slip and fall on a patch of ice outside your door. They could injure themselves, as a result, and attempt to sue your business to compensate for their injury. General liability insurance would step in, in this case, to pay for any related legal fees or a damage award if your business is found legally liable.

    If, instead, their expensive laptop breaks when they slip, and the client sues you to compensate for the broken device, general liability insurance could similarly cover legal costs and damage awards.

    Personal liability insurance 

    Also known as Errors & Omissions insurance, a personal liability policy can pay for legal fees and damage awards if a client sues due to personal negligence. For instance, while grooming a pet, you accidentally injure the animal, and the owner incurs vet expenses as a result. The owner may then sue you for such costs. In this case, personal liability insurance would cover the cost of such a lawsuit.

    Care, custody, or control coverage

    But what happens if an animal is hurt or injured while in your care, and it’s not due to your negligence? Even after taking precautions, a pet may run away or injure itself. This gets more complicated, but you may still be legally liable because the pet was under your care.

    Effectively, care, custody, or control coverage protects you when you’re held legally liable for injuries or damage to an animal in your care, custody, or control when you’re not at fault. This coverage can pay for veterinarian costs or any related legal fees if you’re sued.

    Care, custody, or control coverage can differ between insurers, and there are situations that they don’t cover. It’s essential to understand what these not-covered situations are. For example, come policies won’t cover animal injuries due to negligence. Thus, you’ll still need personal liability insurance to cover such scenarios.

    Commercial property insurance

    While general liability insurance protects against lawsuits arising from clients and pets on your premise, commercial property insurance protects your actual premise. Most commercial property policies contemplate instances where vandalism, weather, or a fire damages your storefront. In these cases, a property insurance policy can provide compensation, up to the policy’s limit, to make the necessary repairs.

    Some policies go further to insure the contents of your premise such as furniture and equipment. So, you also won’t have to worry about computers or specialized tools being unaccounted for if disaster strikes.

    Business interruption coverage

    And if disaster strikes your storefront, it’s unlikely you could immediately resume your business. You may need a specialized space to practice your grooming, training, or other pet services. This could ultimately mean lost revenues for your company until your location is up and running again.

    Business interruption coverage can help in this instance, as it can compensate for lost earnings due to unexpected disasters. So, if a fire burns down your pet grooming spa, you won’t have to worry about how you’ll pay employees or yourself. Like the other policies, this coverage can provide peace of mind knowing you won’t lose your income if something stops your business.

    You face plenty of risks as a pet-service professional. Whether it’s due to your storefront or while you’re taking care of an animal, the proper insurance can mitigate some of your business risks.

    Originally published June 29, 2021, updated August 25, 2023

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