Professional dog walker with four dogs under her control

As a professional dog walker, you will be aware of the responsibility you have to the dogs you walk, their owners, and other people you meet when out walking. This may leave you wondering whether you need dog walking insurance and, if so, what types of policies.

What is dog walking insurance?

You may have heard of different types of dog walking insurance, such as:

  • public liability insurance
  • accidents and injuries insurance
  • personal accident insurance
  • employers’ liability insurance

When you come across an insurance policy, it’s always important to check what’s covered and included.

Dog on lead jumping to greet woman while out walking

Accidents and injury insurance

Accidents and injury insurance covers your liability for loss of, or injury to, dogs in your care, custody or control. It covers animals with you as part of your business, not your own pets or those of your staff.

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance will cover you should a dog or dogs you are walking cause an accident or injury to someone or damage their property.

It should also cover you if a dog you are responsible for is injured or lost. This could include a situation in which a dog in your care bites someone or badly injures their dog.

Personal accident insurance

Personal accident insurance provides cover in the event you are injured or harmed while working. For example, you would be covered if you were bitten and had medical bills to pay, but couldn’t work for a while.

Employers’ liability insurance

You will need employers’ liability insurance if you employ anyone else, even if they are a volunteer and you don’t actually pay them.

Animal illness cover

Finally, animal illness cover (aka ‘vet fees insurance’) will ensure that any costs arising from veterinary treatment needed for an animal displaying signs of clinical illness while in your care, custody or control will be covered.

Small dog wearing a muzzle secured by pet business owner with dog walking insurance

Other optional insurance types

There may also be other types of insurance relevant to your business, depending on what you do. For example, you will need suitable insurance for your vehicle if you use it for work, e.g. the transportation of dogs.

If you’re not sure what insurance you need, talk to a reliable pet business insurer.

Some overlap may exist between the different types of insurance policies. Consequently, you may be able to get consolidated insurance policies to cover some or all these areas.

Am I legally required to have dog walking insurance?

Currently, the dog walking industry is largely unregulated. What you are legally required to have may vary from one area or local authority to another.

For example, you do not need qualifications to become a dog walker. However, some local authorities may require dog walkers to have a licence, depending on how many dogs you’re walking and in which locality.

If you are in any doubt, you should check with your local authority, or that of the target area you serve or intend to work within.

When it comes to insurance, the only legal requirement is that you must have employers’ liability insurance if you employ anyone (including volunteers). You can be fined £2,500 for every day you don’t have it.

Whatever the legal requirements, it is important to have proper dog walking insurance in place. Most businesses that come into contact with members of the public or clients will have insurance. As a professional dog walking business, you are no exception.

Professional dog walker kneeling to greet a client's dog

Why is dog walking insurance important?

Whatever experience you have with dogs, and however well trained the dogs are, things can and do go wrong. For example, you may meet a horse that is ‘spooked’ by a dog you are walking, or encounter a poorly disciplined dog that fights one of your own.

Small moments can suddenly escalate, resulting in serious consequences such as a dog that needs veterinary treatment which amounts to thousands of pounds.

If you don’t have insurance, you can be left with a large bill that you will have to pay yourself, and which can also include expensive legal fees.

Having proper insurance will not only give you peace of mind because you know you’re covered should something go wrong.

It also sends an important signal to clients. Professional dog walkers must foster and maintain a positive reputation within their community and the area(s) they choose to serve.

Having insurance is therefore important for communicating the reliability of the business to others, and for ensuring that, if things do go wrong, you are able to resolve matters quickly and responsibly for you and your clients.

How much will my dog walking insurance cost?

You need to apply for a quote to find out exactly how much it will cost, as this will vary depending on several factors. These can include:

  • business turnover
  • whether you’ve made any previous claims

Reliable dog walking insurance providers

Finding an insurer you can trust, and who understands your business, is an important element when deciding on dog walking insurance.

With Pet Business Insurance, you can be certain the service and advice you receive comes from established industry experts.

For almost two decades, we’ve specialised in the provision of insurance for a range of small- and medium-sized pet businesses.

In addition to core products for professional dog walkers, such as public liability and accident and injury cover, we also include free extras, such as loss of keys cover.

To discuss your dog walking insurance requirements, get in touch with Pet Business Insurance today. Call 01284 736 874, or complete our online enquiry form.

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