It is that time of year again when I get a reminder to renew my dog walker insurance. Life has taught me that cheap insurance might be good when you buy it, but if you need to claim you might encounter costly problems. The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ really does apply to insurance companies.
If you do an internet search of dog walkers it is interesting to see how many do not advertise the fact they have 3rd party liability insurance as a minimum. Most likely, these businesses are not strictly legal in that they are not registered with HMRC and have no insurance to cover 3rd party liability claims or injuries to the dog whilst in their care. Whilst is it is not a legal requirement to have insurance; I wonder how many owners are actually aware their trusted dog walker has no insurance?
What is Dog Walker Insurance?
The minimum insurance a responsible dog walker should have is 3rd Party Liability Insurance. This will cover them if a dog, under their control, attacks another dog or person and is then sued. It would also cover the walker if the dog ran out into a road and caused an accident and it was seen as negligence on the part of the walker. Just because you don’t have dog walker insurance does not mean you will not be sued!!
You can also get Care, Custody and Control cover. This will take care of the vet bills of the injured dog in your care if they suffer due to your professional negligence. Dog walkers I have spoken to are not aware you can get this cover or that; as a dog walker, you do have a duty of care towards the dogs entrusted to you. I have seen a number of dog walking websites who put in their terms that they are not responsible if the dog injuries itself and the owner is liable. However, this may not stand up in law because when you take the owners money to walk the dog you are for that time the ‘owner’ and responsible. Why should the owner be responsible for expensive vet bills when the dog was in your care and was injured due to your negligence? The likely outcome would they would sue you to recover those costs.
You can also get cover for injuries to the dog which are deemed Non-Negligent Claims. This means that the insurance company will cover the vet fees for injuries which are not as a result of the walker’s negligence.
Loss of Key cover can also be included in this type of insurance. Any dog walker will know how many keys they can carry and what the cost implications could be if they lost all of them.
I have taken out an extra policy on top of the ones I have discussed which is Personal Accident cover if I am injured whilst working.
All this sounds expensive and most dog walkers won’t be covered because of the cost. What is surprising though is I pay £10 a month to have the cover above. Whilst it is not a legal requirement to have dog walker insurance, the financial risk to the dog walker, if they are sued, could be life-changing.