According to Statista, an estimated 12.5 million households were reported to own a dog between 2020 and 2021, and following multiple lockdowns, many of these dogs are unaccustomed to being alone.
This is good news for dog walkers, who are likely to see an increase in custom as dog owners return to the office.
However, as dog owners, we only trust the best people with pet care, and a dog walking business will need to prove that they are reliable and trustworthy.
One of the best ways in which new dog walkers can build confidence is by equipping themselves with the right insurances. But, with so much information available it can be difficult to know which insurance is required, the best one to choose or even where to start in the process.
With that in mind, the team at GoWalkies have pulled together an informative guide to provide valuable insight:
What is dog walking insurance?
Although it isn’t a legal requirement, dog walker insurance enables you to protect your business and let prospective clients know that you’re covered, whilst building trust in your services.
It’s not always easy for a potential client to hand their beloved pet over to a new dog walker but taking all the right steps to make the transition as comfortable as possible is key to building client confidence and ensuring that they rebook with you time and time again.
Implementing the right insurance policy is vital for your own peace of mind as a business owner, too, giving you the confidence to run your business safely and efficiently.
What are the areas covered by dog walking insurance?
When searching for your dog walkers’ insurance, it’s worth considering what other services you may be providing – such as pet grooming or pet sitting.
Think about the aspects of your job; for example, are you collecting the dog from their home, in which case will you hold clients’ keys and are you transporting dogs in your car?
Depending on the aspects of your business, there are a number of types of cover to consider:
- Public liability insurance
As a dog walker, you’ll spent a lot of your time outside around members of the public, and any business that has the public at heart should consider public liability insurance.
If someone hurts themselves by tripping over a lead and you are found at fault, your business could face a compensation claim. Someone could also claim if you damaged their property or possessions when collecting a dog from their home.
Claims can be costly, so having the right insurance can cover any financial pay outs and protect you from the fallout.
- Care, custody, and control cover
While it’s important to protect people, we know that dog owners will often prioritise their pets’ healthcare above their own, so it is undoubtedly important to them that any dog in your care is protected.
Depending on the insurance company and the policies available, some can cover injury and illnesses that occur while on a walk, as part of your public liability insurance.
Looking after someone’s canine companion is a big responsibility, and unfortunately, things can go wrong so it’s important to be prepared. This type of insurance is specifically for pet businesses and can ensure you’re covered in the event of injury, loss, or death when in your care.
- Business equipment insurance
As a dog walker, you’re likely to have specialist equipment to hand, such as leads and harnesses, and potentially specific shoes and backpacks. If this equipment was lost or stolen, could this effect how quickly you could get back to work?
It’s not just specialist equipment either, as it can also cover the laptop and/or phone that you use to make bookings and keep in contact with your clients.
Insurance can help you replace the items lost or stolen, so your business can ensure no pooch goes without their walk.
- Business legal protection
Legal fees can be expensive, whether you’re defending your dog walking or pet sitting business, or you’re the one making a claim.
If you found yourself involved in an employment tribunal, tax investigation, or civil action brought under the Data Protection Act, you can rest easier knowing your fees are covered by insurance.
- Personal accident insurance
As a dog walker, you’re out and about a lot, and working with animals brings an increased risk of accidents. Insurance can cover you 24/7 for accidents both inside and outside of work.
Money paid out following an accident could help pay for things such as medical costs (such as private healthcare or physiotherapy) or go towards lost income.
Please do note that personal accident insurance is often used to cover serious injury or death, so consider your requirements before potentially adding it to your existing policy or getting a quote.
- Employers’ liability insurance
If you’ve grown your business beyond just yourself, and now have a team of walkers working for you (or anybody working for you at all), you’ll likely need employers’ liability insurance.
If you do need it and are found not to have it, you could be at risk of being fined £2,500 for every day you’re without cover.
Employees face risks when working for a business, and if they were to get seriously ill or injured and blame your business, they could claim compensation. Having insurance can protect you against the cost of these claims, which can become very expensive.
Why should dog walkers apply for dog walking insurance?
You should apply for dog walking insurance because it will financially protect you and your business against claims that could arrive due to an accident while dog walking.
If the dogs you’re walking get injured, go missing or are killed, or a member of the public is injured by a dog in your care, dog walking insurance will cover compensation claims, vet bills and more.
How to get bonded and insured for walking
When choosing your policy, it’s important that you consider an insurance company that has experience with your business or even specialises in the profession.
Their wealth of experience in the industry means that they will understand the protection your business needs and can offer cover that suits all of your requirements.
Compare the market because prices can vary drastically from one insurer to another. You could also consider choosing a higher excess, as this is a way to potentially achieve a discount on your policy. However, this may not suit everyone, and the premium reduction could be quite insignificant when you consider the additional amount you’d need to pay in the event of a covered claim.
A good way to save money on insurance is by paying upfront for the year. According to Nimblefins, paying annually could keep your dog walking insurance cost as much as 12.5% lower, as they will save you from paying interest or charges that are usually applied to monthly payments.
How much does dog walking insurance cost?
The average cost of dog walking insurance starts from around £54 for the year, or £6.50 a month for a sole trader in the UK. It’s a reasonable amount considering that a dog walker could earn over £10 for a single walk.
However, the cost of a pet sitting insurance, pet business insurance, or a dog walkers insurance policy depends on the type of pet care you’re providing, so the cost of the insurance is affected by three factors:
- The experience you and your business has accumulated over time
- The cover you require – which might include some optional covers
- Any previous claims you may have made
Do dog walking services have you covered?
If you provide other services, like a dog grooming parlour, you may want to consider taking out shop insurance to protect stock and contents you keep on the premises.
You’ll also need to consider whether you’re using your car or van to transport dogs. If yes, you’ll need to tell your car insurance provider as this could affect your premium.
You may be wondering whether or not dog walking insurance is worth the cost, but the cost per year, or cost per month depending on how you pay, is small in comparison to the amount you could pay out if something goes wrong.
If you have any questions about dog walking insurance and would like to learn more, contact the Go Walkies team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in dog walking insurance, please click the following link.