A very important question to ask when choosing a pet sitting company is, “Is your pet sitting company bonded and insured?” Many clients, when they first contact us for pet sitting services or dog walking services in Windermere or Orlando, wish to find out if PAWSitive Strides is bonded and insured.
Insurance and bonding may seem to some like a small matter, but it is very important to ensure that any person or service you select to care for your pets has the appropriate insurance as well as bonding.
In this article, we will consider first what types of insurance your pet sitting or dog walking service should offer and why. In addition, we will take a look at bonding – what it is and why it is important.
What Types of Insurance Should Your Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Service Have?
Most, if not all, professional pet sitting services have liability insurance. Liability insurance covers damage to your pet, your home, or a bystander (or bystander’s pet) who may be hurt by your pet. This insurance is in effect while your pet sitting or dog walking service is caring for your pet.
This type of insurance is very important because, unfortunately, when dealing with pets, accidents can happen. Pets can be unpredictable at times, and it is good to be prepared with insurance, should something arise.
If the pet sitting or dog walking service you use is not properly insured, the cost of damage will more than likely end up falling on you. Most people, unfortunately, don’t think about the necessity of having this coverage until something happens to them or their home or pet.
Here are some recent examples of liability claims from the September/October 2016 issue of Pet Sitter’s World Magazine:
- During a walk in the woods with an insured pet sitter, a client’s dog suffered an injury to its paw. Total paid $1,195
- While running, a dog in an insured sitter’s care, tore its ACL. Total paid $4,168
- A cat in a pet sitter’s care was bitten by another cat and the wound became infected, requiring a visit to the veterinarian. Total paid $2,294
Unlike liability insurance, most professional pet sitting companies do not have worker’s compensation for their sitters. Why is worker’s compensation an important type of insurance for your pet sitting or dog walking service to have? Doesn’t liability insurance cover it all?
The answer is no. Liability insurance does not cover any injury to a pet sitter or dog walker while he or she is taking care of your pet. Traditionally, pet sitting and dog walking services use independent contractors, and these should, technically, carry their own insurance. The reality is that most, if not all, do not. Therefore, if something happens to the pet sitter or dog walker while in your home or out walking your dog, the liability will fall on you.
How necessary is worker’s compensation?
Here are some recent examples of worker’s compensation claims from the September/October 2016 issue of Pet Sitter’s World Magazine:
- A cat bit a pet sitting service’s employee on the forearm while the employee was petting it. Total paid $1,261
- An employee was bitten on the finger by a client’s dog while returning to the home from a walk. Total paid $10,058
- An employee sitting for a client’s dog was holding onto its leash with her left hand while trying to lock the door with her right hand. The client’s dog noticed other dogs, started to growl and took off. The employee suffered injury to her fingers. Total paid $8,296
- In an attempt to leave a client’s home, a sitting service’s employee was bitten on the hand by the client’s dog. Total paid $2,107
That same article made the following interesting observation: “I’d be willing to bet most of the pet owners don’t realize the exposure… and that they may potentially be sued for the sitter’s injuries… I believe most pet sitting clients would not want to hire a sitter if they were aware that the sitter did not have adequate protection in place – and that the homeowner could be held liable for injuries. Professional pet sitters are aware of this risk to their business and obtain workers compensation insurance.”
Bonding – What is It?
Bonding is actually not insurance. It is, instead, an agreement that if an employee steals from a client, the bonding company will reimburse the client for the loss and then go after the guilty person to recover the loss.
Any professional pet sitting or dog walking service should have bonding to protect clients from potential theft. Of course, any professional pet sitting or dog walking company will, in addition to carrying bonding, have a stringent interview process, background check, and reference check, to ensure that it has top-notch employees working for your peace of mind.
At PAWSitive Strides, we are bonded, have liability insurance and, in addition, have worker’s compensation insurance should a pet sitter or dog walker get hurt in your home. Our goal is always to strive for our clients’ peace of mind. Want to find out more about us or schedule a free consultation? Contact us here.