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What our Nerds say about pet business insurance

Pet ownership boomed during the pandemic, with more than 60% of households in the UK owning a pet in 2021/22, according to data analyst Statista. And while more pets might mean more business for walkers, groomers, sitters and trainers, it might also increase the chance that something could go wrong.

As loved as they are, pets are animals, and animals can be unpredictable – as happy destroying a carpet or running into the middle of the road as they are eating, playing, or taking a nap.

Pet business insurance could be a way to protect your business from the financial cost of an animal-related disaster. But what is pet business insurance? What does it cover? And how much does it cost?

What is pet business insurance?

Pet business insurance is not one policy, but a term used for a package of products that can cover you for activities relating to pet-based businesses, such as walking, sitting, grooming, training, boarding, and selling.

Whether a pet in your care is injured or killed, goes missing, or causes injury to people or damage to property, insurance can provide financial cover in the event that a claim is made against you.

The primary types of insurance in a pet business insurance policy are usually public liability insurance and care, custody and control cover.

Public liability insurance may be included as standard in a pet business insurance package and provides financial support if a claim is made against you by a member of the public, including your clients but it's always worth checking that it is. In the event that your business activity causes injury, or even death, or that it results in damage or loss of a third party’s property, public liability insurance can help to cover compensation and legal costs.

Care, custody and control insurance specifically covers you for claims resulting from injury, illness, or death of an animal in your care. For example, if a dog is injured by a sharp implement during grooming, this product could cover the vet’s fees for the dog’s treatment. You should consider making sure the amount of cover you potentially take out is enough to cover the value of the animals you’re responsible for, as well as the kinds of incidents you might encounter.

You may also consider equipment cover which could compensate you if the tools of your trade are lost, stolen or damaged. Typically, business equipment insurance can cover the cost of replacing tools, as well as potentially covering the loss of revenue you may experience for the time you can’t work.

Non-negligent cover is a product pet business owners may consider. It provides protection for you in the event that an animal is harmed through no fault of your own. For example, if a dog were to twist its leg while playing, non-negligent cover could help to cover the cost of treatment. It could even provide cover in the event that an animal is lost or killed.

Employers’ liability insurance is legally required for any business owner that employs staff who are not family members or based abroad. If you employ anyone, you will need at least £5 million worth of cover. Not having this insurance can result in a fine of £2,500 for every day you are not covered.

Key cover is another product you may consider. More likely to be relevant for sitters or walkers with access to their client’s home, this form of insurance can help to cover the costs associated with lost keys, such as the expense of replacing locks or resetting burglar alarms.

» MORE: Everything you need to know about business pet insurance

Do I need pet business insurance?

Pets are fun, but they can also be unpredictable and pose a danger to people, property and themselves. You might not think it will happen to your business, but you can’t bank on it, and the financial costs of an accident can be high. That’s why you may consider a pet business insurance policy.

Employers’ liability insurance is legally required if you have staff, even if you only have one employee. The only exception is your staff are immediate family members or based abroad. If a dog were to bite one of your employees, for example, employers’ liability could cover legal and compensation costs.

» MORE: Business liability insurance explained

What is usually included in pet business insurance?

The following could be included as standard in a pet insurance policy:

  • public liability
  • care custody and control
  • personal accident
  • equipment insurance
  • key cover

You may need to consider additional products. Vehicle insurance, for instance, is rarely included as standard in business insurance policies and so you would need to consider this separately.

Likewise, you would need to consider employers’ liability insurance if you employ staff or product liability insurance if you intend to sell or supply products to clients.

How much does pet business insurance cost in the UK?

Most pet business insurers will provide general cover for a variety of activities, whether it’s grooming, sitting, or training.

What may affect your premium is your exposure to risk, based on the value of your premises and equipment, and how frequently you engage with the public.

Some pet-based businesses may also incur a higher cost because the risks may be higher or the animals or equipment may be more expensive to replace. For example, premiums are likely to be higher for someone who works on falconry displays than for a dog walker.

How to choose the best pet business insurance policy for you

In order to get the right pet business insurance policy for your business, you need to spend some time collating relevant information about your operations and assessing your exposure to risk.

Once you’ve done that you can start comparing quotes. Just click 'start your quote' at the top of this page.

Pet business insurance FAQs

What insurance do I need to start a pet business?

If you’re starting or running a pet business, you might consider taking out a pet business insurance policy that includes as a minimum public liability insurance and care, custody, and control cover. This could cover you for accidents and damage to the public or their property, and for injury, loss, or death of a pet.

If you employ any staff outside your family and who are based in the UK, you are also legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance worth £5 million.

Why do I need pet business insurance?

Animals can be unpredictable and accident-prone. Whether they cause damage to your property, your employees, or themselves, incidents can be costly. Pet business insurance could help ensure an animal-related accident won’t result in your business being put down.

What insurance do you need to sell dog treats?

You may consider taking out product liability insurance if you want to sell dog treats. This policy is designed to protect you from the financial cost if an item you supply results in damage, illness, or even death.

Do I need insurance to sell homemade dog treats?

While it’s not a legal requirement to have insurance in order to supply or sell dog treats, you are liable in the event that an animal falls ill or even dies because of them. Product liability insurance could offer a level of protection, providing support with legal or compensation costs.

However, some insurance providers will require you to have taken steps to ensure the quality of your product – for example, if your products have not been tested to the right standard, they may not be covered by your insurance.

» MORE: Do you need business insurance?

About the author

Henry Williams
Henry is passionate about helping individuals and businesses stay informed. Over the last 8 years, he’s written for startup and small business sites, with a focus on finance, insurance, and websites. Read more
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