If you’re a business owner, you are probably already familiar with business insurance policies. While this covers the bureaucratic aspects of your business, what about the actual pets that you’re grooming? When you’re working with live animals, it makes sense that you’re protected against liability risks.
Lots of pet owners choose to drop off their pets when they do their regular grooming appointments. During this time, these dogs are in your facility, under your care. Not only are you responsible for ensuring that they receive the services their owners paid for, but that the dogs themselves are safe and well-cared-for. But as much as you try to prevent them, accidents do happen in the workplace. Insurance is integral to any business, but it can be difficult to find insurance that protects both yourself and the dogs that walk into your salon!
Read on to find out what you need to know about the different types of insurance policies available to you and your dog grooming business!
Should you get insurance?
First of all, you have to decide whether or not you should get insurance. Some types of insurance are mandatory (as we’ll soon discuss) and others are optional but can come in handy when you’d least expect it. There will always be people who think that they’re special and, after having good luck for a few years, are taking their chances with insurance. But the truth of the matter is, you’re never immune to accidents, natural disasters, or robbery. Not only will getting insured protect you and your business, but it can also look really good to potential and current clients if you adopt fairly comprehensive insurance policies. You would be able to assure your clients that if anything were to happen to their loved ones when going in for a regular grooming appointment, they would be totally covered.
One of the main types of insurance you should be considering, general liability insurance covers a client and/or their pet if they are accidentally injured while in your facility. If you are leasing a salon or studio, you are usually expected to provide a proof of general liability limit of $1 million or more. With this, you can protect yourself if you are sued for negligence. This also applies if you run your business from your home. If you’re using your house as a professional space, regular home insurance isn’t going to cut it!
This type of insurance covers you if you injure the dog or if they suffer some sort of loss when you’re performing (or failing to perform) your professional services. Loss generally constitutes death, escape, and injury. This is different from general liability as it is not as a result of negligence. Professional liability insurance is directly linked to the practice of your services and is often referred to as “malpractice” insurance. As such, this insurance protects you from lawsuits against your company. So long as you’re charging for your professional skills and expertise, you’ll be needing this!
Commercial Property Insurance
The aptly named commercial property insurance covers replacement costs for tools and equipment in transit, storage, or even in use! Anything from furnishings, stock, and renovations to your studio or home, or the benefit of your practice is covered here. The property may be destroyed or rendered unusable by any number of reasons: natural disasters, arson, theft, or vandalism, and with commercial property insurance, you won’t suffer double the loss. If you’ve ever had to first pay out-of-pocket to replace everything and suffer profit loss from being unable to operate due to property damage, you know this type of insurance can be a godsend.
Business Interruption Coverage
On the subject of losses while unable to operate, business interruption coverage deals with any loss of business and profit while you are waiting for other property damage claims to go through. What if there’s a fire that burned down a wall or two and destroyed key pieces of equipment? You’ll need this type of coverage to pay yourself and any employees when you aren’t able to keep your storefront open for business.
You may have to do some additional digging if the provider of your choice doesn’t already include coverage for these considerations. Here’s some more information on what else you may want protection from as a professional dog groomer!
If you’re a mobile groomer or offer a pickup/drop off service, you’ll want to look into this. The policy insures the pets while being transported, and insures you as well when you do the transporting.
Imagine turning around and realizing that the dog you were halfway through grooming has somehow slipped off the leash and ran out of your studio – how can you explain that to the owner? General pet insurance policies probably won’t cover this. You’ll want to look into specific insurance policies that deal with these unique type of situations. Pets are irreplaceable in an owner’s mind, but making sure you’re covered can help you do your best to aid the owner.
If you notice a skin disease or any sort of injury when you are grooming the dog, you’ll have to seek the help of a veterinarian. You may have to pay to get the dog into the vet’s office, so having insurance to cover vet bills can make sure you aren’t losing money during a grooming job.
Personal accident / disability:
If you are involved in a workplace accident and can’t work due to personal injury, this policy will cover loss of income during your period of recovery.
This policy covers any third party who is injured by a pet in your care. Imagine you’re transporting the dog to and from your home to groom and the dog bites a stranger on the side of the road—you really wouldn’t want to be sued over that!
How to get insurance:
Besides buying the first one you see, you may be able to get insurance by joining a grooming association! Most professional dog groomers seek to join grooming associations anyway, so a lot of associations are starting to offer discounted insurance packages as part of their membership fees. Remember, associations are completely optional, but you may as well choose to put your money toward a membership with the most benefits. The National Dog Groomers Association of America and the National Groomer Association of Canada are both associations with great insurance programs!
You have options when starting your dog grooming business!
Casey Bechard of Off The Leash Pet Grooming is a QC Pet Studies graduate. Read all about her favorite breeds and pet haircuts as a certified groomer!
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