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Pet boarding and day care facilities provide a crucial service for people who are traveling or working and cannot care for their pets, but these businesses also bring unique risks. You could be sued if an animal dies or is injured in your care, unexpected disasters could destroy your property, and employees or visitors could sustain accidental injuries. Purchasing the right selection of business insurance can provide financial protection from these and other hazards.
What insurance coverage do I need for my pet boarding business?
There are many types of insurance coverage to consider, but these policies are particularly relevant to pet boarding businesses:
As a pet boarding facility, you take custody of your customers’ pets and are responsible for their care. If a customer’s pet is harmed while in your care, you could be held liable. Although strong safety procedures can reduce the likelihood of pets dying or being injured in your care, there’s always a possibility that an accident may occur. Bailee’s insurance covers the property of others when it is in your care, custody, or control; animal bailee insurance is a specialized coverage designed to cover other people’s animals while they are in your care.
- A dog slips its leash while one of your employees is walking it and runs into the road, where it is hit by a car and injured. Animal bailee insurance will cover the dog’s medical expenses.
Pet boarding businesses rely heavily on their physical locations to operate, which means that any unexpected disaster could be devastating. This makes commercial property insurance an essential coverage in order to protect the value of your boarding facility and equipment. If your property is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril, commercial property insurance will provide funds for repairs or replacements. Common perils covered by commercial property insurance include fire, theft, vandalism, windstorm, and water damage.
- A dryer in your laundry room develops a fault and overheats, starting a fire that damages equipment, floors, and walls. Your commercial property insurance would pay for you to replace damaged laundry equipment and repair the room.
Your pet boarding and day care business relies on specialized space to house animals and cannot easily move to another location; if a disaster such as a fire makes your boarding facility uninhabitable, it would be difficult to continue operating your business.
Business interruption insurance—also called business income insurance—can be added to your commercial property or business owner’s policy. This coverage will reimburse your business for lost income and operating expenses if you are forced to temporarily stop operating due to property damage from a covered peril. Commonly covered perils include fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, explosion, and vandalism.
- A heavy storm severely damages the roof of your boarding facility, and you are unable to accept animals to board for four weeks while the roof is repaired. Business interruption insurance would cover rent payments, employee salaries, and lost profits while you are unable to operate your business.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides financial and medical benefits to your employees if they are injured or fall ill as a result of their work. This coverage can also provide funeral, burial, and death benefits to dependents in the case of a work-related death.
Workers’ compensation is required by law in most states, and it is a key coverage for pet boarding facilities since their employees have a high risk of injury—animals can be unpredictable and may bite or scratch workers, causing potentially serious injuries. Although training employees in proper animal handling and restraint techniques can lessen the chance of injuries, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of an animal injuring a worker. In addition, employees may suffer back injuries from heavy lifting, trip and fall, or catch diseases from animals.
- One of your employees is bitten by a cat being boarded at your facility. The employee develops a serious infection and requires medical attention. Your insurer would cover the employee’s medical costs as well as a portion of her lost wages while she is recovering and unable to work.
General liability insurance covers incidents of third-party bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury. This coverage will protect your business if clients accidentally injure themselves on your premises or if you damage someone else’s property. Visitors to pet boarding facilities may suffer trips, slips, falls, or injuries from animals, especially if they are able to access kennel areas.
General liability policies also typically include coverage for third-party bodily injury or property damage caused by your products and completed operations. Pet boarding facilities may sell pet food, treats, and other items; if these items harm a pet, you could be held liable. Your general liability insurance would provide funds to defend you from these claims.
In addition, general liability policies include a personal and advertising injury component, which provides coverage for a number of non-physical injuries, including libel, slander, and copyright infringement.
- Bodily injury: A dog gets loose from your facility and runs into a hallway, tripping up a customer who is dropping off his pet. The customer falls and fractures his elbow. Your general liability insurance would pay for medical expenses and legal fees if the customer sues.
- Product liability: A customer purchases dog food from you. The dog dies after eating the food. It turns out that there was a recall on the product, but your employees had accidentally failed to remove the food from your shelves. The customer sues you. Your insurer would cover your legal fees and any resulting settlements.
Commercial crime insurance provides funds to reimburse you for losses caused by theft, robbery, fraud, forgery, burglary, and other crimes. This coverage applies both to crimes committed by outside parties and crimes committed by your own employees. Pet boarding facilities have many employees who handle cash and credit card transactions. Some breeds of animals can also be valuable and vulnerable to theft.
- You discover that one of your employees has been making fraudulent charges to customers and pocketing the payments. Your commercial crime insurance would cover the loss.
- Cyber liability insurance protects your business from the financial consequences of cyberattacks, data breaches, and other cyber threats. As a pet boarding facility, you may store customers’ credit card information and other personal data; if this data is breached, you could be held liable. Cyber liability insurance can provide the funds to defend your business in a lawsuit, as well as any expenses necessary to recover from a cyber event.
- Commercial auto insurance is necessary to cover any vehicles owned by your pet boarding facility. If your employees drive their personal vehicles to run business errands, you may need hired and non-owned auto insurance to cover any accidents they may be involved in while driving for work purposes.
- A business owner’s policy (BOP) can be a good choice for many qualifying pet boarding businesses. It combines general liability, property, business income, and extra expense coverage into a single package. BOPs are typically more cost-effective for small and midsize businesses than buying each insurance policy separately, and they can help you ensure that you have a wide range of coverage.
- Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) provides financial protection for your business against lawsuits by current, past, or prospective employees accusing your business of wrongful treatment such as discrimination, harassment, or other employment-related issues.
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 pet boarding business 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 boarding and day care businesses:
|Provider||General Liability||Professional Liability||Business Owner's Policy|
When you run a pet boarding facility, you doubtless work hard to provide a safe environment for pets, employees, and customers, but no matter how careful you are, there’s always a possibility that an accident may occur. From common risks such as fires or storms that destroy property to the risk of an animal dying in your care, there are many hazards that can put a heavy financial strain on your business. Purchasing a broad range of insurance policies designed for your business can provide financial protection that will help your company weather any unexpected lawsuits or disasters.