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Dog training is a rewarding profession, but there are risks that come with helping people train their pets. Many dog trainers work independently and will need to purchase their own business insurance to protect them from unfortunate incidents such as a dog or human being injured. You could be held liable if a client is injured or someone else’s property is damaged; insurance can provide financial protection from these risks.
What insurance coverage do I need as a dog trainer?
There are many types of insurance coverage to consider, but these policies are particularly relevant to dog trainers:
General liability insurance covers claims of accidental third-party bodily injury and property damage. Since dog trainers work with large numbers of clients at a variety of locations and are often given access to clients’ homes, this is a crucial coverage to secure.
Even though you are doubtless very careful, you could accidentally damage property at a client’s home or another third-party location or unintentionally cause an injury to a client, pet, or other third party. Dogs can be unpredictable at times, and if you lose control of a client’s dog, there could be unintentional damages you’re held liable for.
- Bodily injury: You accidentally drop the leash of a dog you are working with in a park, and the dog runs into the path of a passerby who trips over it and falls, sustaining a broken nose. Your general liability insurance will cover medical costs and any legal fees if the injured person sues.
- Property damage: You are at a client’s home providing a private training class. You back up while training the dog to stay, but don’t see the valuable sculpture behind you. You knock it over and it shatters. General liability insurance would cover the damages.
Dog trainers may work with dogs while their owners are not present, making them responsible for the dog’s safety. If a pet is injured or lost while in your care, you could be held liable. Since animal behavior can be erratic at times, even if you are very careful, there’s always a possibility that an injury could occur while you are training a dog.
Bailee’s coverage, sometimes called animal bailee coverage, can step in to cover customer losses if a pet is harmed while it is in your care, custody, or control. Some insurers will add this coverage to a general liability policy by endorsement; it is also available separately.
- You are out training a dog when it is scared by a loud noise, slips its leash, and runs into oncoming traffic. The dog is injured and requires surgery. Bailee’s insurance would pay for the dog’s medical costs.
Professional liability insurance protects you if your clients sue you claiming that your training was ineffective or negligent. When you work as a dog trainer, clients may sue you if your services did not have the expected effect on their dog, and they suffered financial loss as a result.
Even if you are found not to be at fault in court, lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming to cope with. Professional liability insurance can step in to provide funds to cover legal fees and settlement costs if you are sued as a result of your professional services.
- You work with a dog for several weeks to help solve its food aggression problem. Unfortunately, a few weeks after your last session, the dog bites someone who gets too close to its food bowl. The dog’s owners sue you, claiming that you said the problem had been solved and your training was insufficient. Professional liability insurance would cover your legal fees and any settlement that results.
Fidelity bonds will protect your company if your employees commit theft, fraud, or other dishonest acts. If your company has employees that work at clients’ homes, there is a possibility of an employee stealing from a client. Fidelity bonds can provide financial protection if such an incident occurs, and they can also protect your company from internal theft or fraud committed by an employee.
- While working with a dog in a client’s home, one of your newer employees steals a box of jewelry. Surveillance footage shows him holding it as he gets in his car. Your fidelity bond would reimburse the client for the stolen items.
Dog trainers typically drive to many locations to hold classes or work with clients. If your business owns or leases vehicles, or if your employees use their own personal vehicles for business purposes, commercial auto insurance is a key coverage that is legally required in most states.
If you are involved in a car crash, commercial auto insurance can provide coverage for physical damage to vehicles, third-party bodily injury, and property damage. Commercial auto insurance can also provide coverage for damage to your vehicles caused by covered perils, including theft, falling objects, fire, and more.
It’s important to note that personal auto insurance may not be sufficient if you or an employee are at fault in an accident while driving a personal vehicle for work purposes. Hired and non-owned auto insurance can provide coverage in these situations; it can be purchased as an endorsement on a commercial auto policy or obtained separately.
- You are driving to meet a client at the dog park when you accidentally crash into another person’s parked car. Your commercial auto insurance would cover the damages to both vehicles.
- Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees’ medical costs and a portion of lost income if they suffer an injury or illness caused by their job. Most states legally require this coverage for companies with employees. Dog trainers who work independently and have no employees would likely not be required to have this coverage, but if your business employs other dog trainers, your state laws may require you to secure this coverage.
- If you own or rent a physical location for your dog training business, it’s a good idea to protect its value with commercial property insurance. Commercial property insurance will provide funds to replace or repair your business property if it is destroyed or damaged. Commonly covered perils include windstorms, hail, fire, vandalism, and water damage.
- Inland marine insurance provides financial protection for your business property that does not remain at a fixed location and is not covered by a commercial property policy. If you own specialized dog agility equipment or other valuable items that you transport from location to location, you may need this coverage.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for business insurance will vary based on the type of insurance coverage and the risk profile of your business. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a dog trainer with a history of frequent claims will face higher premiums. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer coverage for pet trainers:
|Provider||General Liability||Professional Liability||Business Owner's Policy|
When you work as a dog trainer, it’s critical to assess the risks that your business could face and protect yourself against them. From lawsuits brought by injured clients to veterinary bills for injured dogs or costly auto accidents, there are many incidents that could have a devastating effect on your business. Purchasing a broad range of business insurance policies can give you financial protection and peace of mind, knowing that your business can survive unfortunate events.