What does it mean for a pet sitter or dog walker to be “insured” and/or “bonded”?
When you’re looking for a qualified pet sitter to join your family, choosing an insured and bonded pet sitter is one of the smartest decisions you can make to protect your pets and property.
But, even though the phrase ‘insured pet sitter’ sounds comforting, have you ever wondered what pet sitter liability insurance actually covers? Or if it’s even important to ask for?
“I think I’ll ask my neighbor/friend/kid down the street to watch my pets while I’m gone. What’s the WORST that can happen?”
Don’t make this common and dangerous mistake! Having a neighbor or friend watch your house and pets might seem like a convenience, but putting inexperienced and uninsured people in charge of your home and animals can be worse than you might think.
Think About It:
- If one of your pets experiences a medical emergency, will your friend be willing and able to leave work or other commitments immediately to transport your pet to the vet on a moment’s notice?
- Will that kid down the street be walking around your house alone and unsupervised?
- Can your neighbor provide specialized care and potential medical support for your parrot, iguana, or other exotic or special needs pet?
Typically minors, friends, and neighbors don’t carry any kind of business liability insurance and generally don’t have the specialized skills necessary to handle pet or home-related emergencies or special medical needs for pets.
Even worse, if a minor is injured or killed by someone’s pet, the owner can be held liable. Likewise, if a minor commits a theft or causes property damage, the child’s guardian/s can be held liable.
In addition, your local connections may not have the same vacation or work schedule as you, and conflicts in availability can rise, especially when school season starts.
Do you really want to put your personal and financial relationships with your relatives, friends, and neighbors at risk?
Understanding Pet Insurance
At the heart of pet sitter or dog walker insurance lies a critical component known as “Care, Custody & Control” (CCC) Coverage.
CCC Coverage forms the liability insurance backbone for pet sitters. It covers your pets and personal property under the sitter’s care, custody, or control, extending to pets in transit via pet taxis or other transport means, and also covers any damage to your property.
Veterinary medical expenses are also a part of Care, Custody & Control Coverage and the pet sitter’s insurance policy pays for claims, regardless of the negligence/fault for accidents or injuries to pets.
Understanding the Importance of Bonding
“Bonding” insurance protects you from damage or acts of theft in your home on the part of your service provider’s employees or contractors. Bonding helps ensure that the job the sitter has been hired to do is performed and that the customer is protected against losses from theft or damage done by a company’s employees or contractors.
However, if a pet sitting business operates without employees or independent contractors, bonding isn’t a requirement.
Pet Sitter Insurance & Bonding Can Save You from Financial Loss and Legal Troubles
Smart, conscientious, and reputable pet sitters and dog walkers take their pet care and home sitting services very seriously and prioritize the safety and wellness of client pets, ensuring that their insurance coverage is sufficient to cover any damages, accidents, or injuries to your pets and property.
You should also look for a sitter who is Pet First Aid and CPR Certified. This additional expertise offers pet owners an extra layer of security and protection for their pets.
How Much Can Hiring a Non-Professional Cost You?
The following data is provided by Pet Sitters International and provides an eye-opening look at how expensive (and unexpected) accidents or injuries to pets and people can be.
Imagine if any of the following happened while a neighbor, friend, or teenager were caring for your pets and property:
Pet sitter insurance claims (as provided by Pet Sitters International):
Pet sitter clogged toilet in client’s apartment causing damage to two apartments below
While getting out of pet sitter’s vehicle, the dog fell and broke its leg
Pet sitter’s car was broken into and ring of keys were stolen, client’s locks were changed
Jogger attempted to pass dog walker and was bitten on the leg by client’s dog
Dog in pet sitter’s care bit a pedestrian on the leg, back and arm while on walk
Investing in a professional pet sitter’s services means you’re placing your trust and your pet’s care in their hands.
Though a qualified sitter’s rates might be a bit higher, those rates reflect the care, time, financial investment, and expertise the sitter puts into their business, and into their services as your pet’s protector while you’re away.
Make sure they’re insured and bonded, it’s a small detail that makes a big difference. You owe it to your pets and your peace of mind.