In this article, we explain what insurance professional dog walkers in the UK need and review dog walking insurance companies to help you work out which one is best for you.
If you're looking for insurance right now, you can get an online quote for dog walking insurance at the Petplan Sanctuary website and if you purchase you'll have immediate access to your policy documentation.
How do I get insurance for a Dog Walking business? | What insurance do professional Dog Walkers need? | How much does Dog Walking insurance cost? | Which companies provide insurance cover for Dog Walkers? | National Association of Registered Pet Sitters | Simply Business comparison service for Dog Walkers | How do I get Van Insurance for a dog walking business?
How do I get insurance for a Dog Walking business?
There are 3 options:
- Go direct to a specialist insurance company such as Petplan Sanctuary.
- Pay to join the National Association of Registered Pet Sitters & Dog Walkers (NARPS) and then arrange discounted insurance through their scheme.
- Use an online comparison service from a general business insurance broker like Simply Business.
What insurance do I need for Dog Walking?
Regulations for dog walkers differ depending on where you live. We recommend that you contact your local authority to see if they have specific requirements about the number of animals you can walk and insurance cover levels.
Dog walking insurance usually offers the following cover:
- Public Liability Insurance, in case a dog you are walking bites a passer-by or causes an accident (remember Fenton?)
- Insurance for dogs in your care, in case you accidentally harm or lose a dog you are walking
- Key cover, in case you lose the house keys of one of your customers
- Employer's Liability Insurance. This is a requirement of UK law if you have staff who help with running your dog walking business (even if they are unpaid volunteers). It covers you for legal claims made against you by one of your employees.
It is also possible to add insurance for a range of other risks associated with running a dog walking business, including loss of money and damage to goods in transit.
If a dog causes damage or injury, legal claims can easily cost tens of thousands of pounds so professional insurance is well worth considering.
How much does Dog Walking insurance cost?
The average cost of the quotes we received was about £130 per year. This was based on finding business insurance for a professional dog walker with a turnover of £25,000 after 3 years in business, in an MK postcode.
But as every dog walking business has its own individual circumstances, you might pay more or less than that amount. The main factors that can influence the cost of dog walking insurance are as follows:
- The annual turnover of your dog walking business
- The amount of insurance cover you choose
- How many staff you employ
- How long your dog walking business has been trading
- Where in the UK your business is based
If you have previously made claims on a dog walking insurance policy, or if legal action has been taken against your dog walking business in the past, this may affect your price and should be disclosed when getting a quote.
Which companies provide insurance cover for Dog Walkers?
Petplan Sanctuary Dog Walking Insurance Review
Petplan is the UK's No. 1 Pet Insurance company and has been in business for more than 40 years. In addition to insuring pet dogs, they also provide insurance for dog walking and other pet businesses under the brand Petplan Sanctuary.
Petplan Sanctuary does not restrict the number of dogs that you can take on a walk.
Petplan Sanctuary dog walking insurance provides £3m of public liability cover, £100,000 of professional indemnity, £1,500 of key cover, £1,250 of insurance for dogs in your care and £10,000 in respect of negligence to animals in your care. One of the benefits of the Petplan Sanctuary policy is that you do not have to be sued by a pet's owner for the policy to pay out, any communication from the owner claiming negligence can be forwarded for consideration.
There's also the option to add £10m of employer's liability cover for an additional premium.
The annual cost for our dog walker is £127.75 - or £12.78 per month over 10 monthly interest-free payments. The price rises to £160.75 when you add employer's liability insurance for up to 10 people (prices correct in December 2016).
Cliverton Dog Walking Insurance Review
Based in Fakenham in Norfolk, Cliverton is a specialist insurance company focused on pet and animal businesses. Cliverton is actually a trading name of Lycetts Insurance, which is part of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group.
Cliverton's dog walking insurance policy provides £5m of public liability insurance, £15,000 of insurance for dogs in your care, £10,000 key cover, and £10m of employer's liability cover as standard.
The price quoted by Cliverton for our dog walker was just £110, but this rose to £232 when we increased the annual turnover of the dog walking business from £25,000 to £50,000.
Payment of the insurance premium to Cliverton can be split into 6 monthly installments.
Protectivity Dog Walking Insurance Review
With Protectivity, dog walkers can choose Public Liability insurance of between £1m and £10m. There is also up to £25,000 of cover for animals in your care, and key cover of £10,000 with no excess. Its policies include £250 of equipment cover for things like grooming gear.
The quote for our example pet sitter was just £109. Including £500,000 of professional indemnity insurance increased the quote to £148.
Protectivity says prices start from £63.07 a year or £5.04 a month. Quotes with £1m professional indemnity cover start at £84.97 a year or £6.79 a month.
Pet Business Insurance Dog Walking Insurance Review
Another specialist, Pet Business Insurance is a division of LRMS, an insurance company which provides cover for livestock, bloodstock, zoos, and animal transportation.
Pet Business Insurance's cover levels are almost identical to Cliverton's with the main point of differentiation being that there is no excess charged on key cover. The cost of a quote for our dog walker from Pet Business Insurance was £138.
Insurance through membership of the National Association of Registered Pet Sitters (NARPS)
Joining NARPS entitles members to discounted prices on dog walking insurance from Pet Business Insurance, reducing the cost of insurance by approximately 50%.
The cost of NARPS membership is as follows:
- Bronze: £20 per month
- Silver: £144 + £8 per month
- Gold: £150 + 10 per month
Online comparison services for dog walking insurance
Simply Business has a large panel of business insurers, three of which (Ageas, Finsbury Insurance Services, and Maltings Insurance) were able to provide quotes for dog walking businesses.
However, the prices quoted were generally higher than those quoted by Petplan Sanctuary, Cliverton, and Simply Business Insurance, particularly when Employer's Liability Insurance was included.
How do I get Van Insurance for a dog walking business?
If you're buying a van for the first time, you'll need to be specific that it is for "Business Use" when you sort out your insurance. We went through the quote process with Direct Line, selecting "Pet Minder" as occupation (Dog Walker isn't in their list).
The quote for an experienced driver with a 2012 Mercedes Vito was £753 per year, covering both the policyholder and their spouse. This was based on using a Milton Keynes postcode, 5 years no claims bonus, and driving 15,000 miles per year.
If you already own and insure a van, but you're starting a dog walking business, you will need to let your insurance company know. Otherwise, it's possible they might turn down future claims, arguing that you had not been clear about how the van was being used. Depending on your circumstances, they may charge extra to insure your van for business use.
Always make sure you read the full policy wording when you buy van insurance to make sure that your business's circumstances will be covered by the policy.