In this article, we explain what insurance professional dog walkers in the UK need, and then review the different dog walking insurance companies to help you work out which one is best for you.
If you're looking for insurance straight away, you can get an online quote for dog walking insurance at the Petplan Sanctuary website.
Read the guide to learn:
- 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?
- 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 (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?
Dog walking insurance is usually made up of the following elements:
- 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.
How much does Dog Walking insurance cost?
When we were researching this article, the average cost of the quotes we received was £129 per year. This was based on finding business insurance for one 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 is also likely to affect the price you are quoted.
Which companies provide insurance cover for Dog Walkers?
Petplan Sanctuary Dog Walking Insurance
Petplan is the UK's No. 1 Pet Insurance company and has been in business for 37 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 dog walking insurance provides £3m of public liability cover, £1,250 of insurance for dogs in your care, and £1,500 of key cover, with the option to add £10m of employer's liability cover.
The total cost for our dog walker was £124 - or £12.37 per month as dog walkers insuring their business with Petplan Sanctuary have the option to spread the cost over 10 monthly payments. The price rose to £155 when employer's liability insurance was included.
Protectivity Dog Walking Insurance
A newer name in dog walking insurance, Protectivity was recommended to us as a low-cost alternative to Petplan Sanctuary by a Bought By Many member (many thanks Sandi!).
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.
Cliverton Dog Walking Insurance
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.
Pet Business Insurance Dog Walking Insurance
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.