As we all know, business insurance is NOT compulsory here in the UK, the only compulsory insurances are vehicle and employer’s liability. However, buying a robust business insurance policy could ultimately save you from substantial financial loss.

There are many providers on the market, we would recommend you speak with as many as you can to get the best possible level of cover for yourself.

A standard dog walking / pet care business insurance policy would usually cover you for public liability; care, custody and control, non-negligent cover, key cover.

Additional cover options might be available such as equipment cover, personal accident, professional indemnity (PI) if you are providing advice, employers liability if you intend to take staff on (employers liability is compulsory in the UK), legal representation or other activities such as, but not limited to, home boarding, pet sitting, pet taxi, dog training, showing, charity fund raising.

Costs may vary depending on the services you provide, your area, how much public liability you need, (expected), annual turnover, number of employees and of course any add on options you may require.

Public Liability

Public liability cover forms a vital part of any pet business insurance policy and can save you and your business from substantial financial problems. If a third-party claim that you have caused them injury or damaged their property, you could find yourself and your business being sued. So, for example, if a dog you were walking was to bite a member of the public and they deem it to be your fault, you could be covered. The same principle would be applied if the damage was caused to a third party’s property. Regardless of whether it was you or a dog you are walking that caused the damage, if you are deemed to be blamed in some way, public liability cover may protect you.

Most insurers provide between £1 million and £10 million worth of public liability cover.

Care, Custody and Control

Provides you with protection should one of your client’s pets get injured, go missing or even die whilst in your care.

Non-Negligent cover

If an animal in your care was to injure itself and require treatment, through no fault of your own. Check if your provider offers cover for non-negligent third-party claims.

Key cover

Most dog walkers will take charge of a client’s keys to collect dogs for the daily walks. Losing the key to someone’s home may have a two-fold effect. Firstly, the cost of a new key and secondly the cost of replacing the locks that would need to be broken to get back into the property. Some policies will cover the replacement of lost keys and damaged locks, costs involved in setting or resetting intruder alarms and temporary security protection while the above is arranged.

Most insurance companies provide cover for a maximum of 6 dogs walked together by one person. As an organisation, we advocate a maximum of 4 well behaved dogs. Local authority or independent parks may have a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) or licensing system in place which might cover the number of dogs which may be walked at one time by one
person with a minimum public liability value. These numbers and limits may be different compared to what your policy allows, so check everything.

Discuss with your insurer each service you provide, how you work and understand exactly what you are covered for. For example, not all companies automatically provide cover for all pet care related services or equine / small-holding / poultry care; some don’t provide cover for your own pet dog on a small group walk; some may not provide cover if
you are walking 2+ groups with other business colleagues in the same area; 3rd party non-negligent (accidental) cover to name a few.

Devise a written, accessible procedure for dealing with a mishap at the time. Risk assessments are in place to help recognise and minimise potential issues but unfortunately, accidents and incidents may still occur, shock can quickly take over and the ability to focus on what to do may be temporarily forgotten.

Please note, this article is for information and does not constitute legal advice. Specialist legal or business advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

Created by Professional Dog Walkers
Association, 10 May 2019, copyright 2019