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8 Must-Have Insurance Coverages for Your Pet Business

Are you protected? Learn about the most common insurance coverages for pet businesses, then meet with an agent ASAP.

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WHAT ARE THE risk exposures for your business? Does your insurance cover them? If you cannot answer these questions, put “Talk to a licensed agent who specializes in the pet industry” atop your to-do list. You can prepare for the conversation by learning more about common coverages.

General liability — Regardless of the products sold or services provided, without exception every pet business should have this coverage. It protects against bodily injury or property damage to a third party such as clients, employees, independent contractors. Most policies include defense costs, outside the policy limit, which means the insurance company will provide legal defense until it determines that your business was either negligent or that the cost of a drawn-out defense outweighs the cost of a settlement payment, based on facts presented.

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Workers compensation — If you or an employee is injured on the job, this covers medical costs and lost wages. All states except Texas mandate this coverage, but benefits and laws vary.

Employment practices liability — This protects your business against claims made by employees alleging discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, etc. in the workplace.

Commercial property insurance — If you own the physical location for your business, this will cover the building, improvements and betterments (if leasing, what you paid to improve the space), contents/business personal property, and business income/extra expenses, also known as business interruption.

Commercial auto insurance — Vehicles owned by your business and used for delivery, transport or other business use need this coverage. If your employees drive their personal vehicles on behalf of the business, opt for non-owned auto liability coverage.

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Cyber liability and data breach — If your business has a website or devices that accept credit cards or personal information, seriously consider this protection. Most people think they do not need this if they use a third-party vendor, however, that is not the case. If a person’s credit card info is breached/stolen on your site, the customer does not know the third-party vendor, so they will look to sue your business for losses/damages.

Employee dishonesty bond — If you or your employees go into a client’s homes when they are not present, this assures clients that their personal property is protected against theft by you or your staff.

Animal bailee — If you have pets in your care, custody or control, you will want to carry this to cover injuries to the pets, as well as professional liability to cover any errors or omissions made by your staff. Not all pet injuries are a result of negligence, though, so be sure your coverage includes regardless-of-fault coverage to be certain all injuries are covered.

These are the most common coverages for a business in the pet industry, but you may have additional risk that only a licensed insurance agent can help you determine. For example, if you own a pet supply store and have refrigerated or frozen foods for sale or if you own a pet business located in an area known for natural catastrophes, you will want to discuss all available coverages and costs. Most property policies do not automatically include coverage for losses resulting from utilities interruption, but they can be provided for additional cost.

What are you waiting for? Make that appointment!

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David Pearsall, CIC, is co-owner of Business Insurers of the Carolinas, a multi-line commercial insurance agency specializing in the pet industry. He is licensed in all 50 states. Email him at dp@business-insurers.com

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