In the past few years, Americans have spent record-breaking amounts on their pets. The pet services industry - which includes grooming and mobile grooming services - raked in $4.16 billion in 2012 alone, according to the American Pet Products Association, making it the fastest growing sector of the pet industry. It makes sense. More people than ever own pets - and grooming, as you know, is an essential part of daily pet health care.
Professional grooming is necessary because pet owners - while skilled with a brush and comb - might not be equipped to trim fur, clip nails, and provide dental care.
Caring for animals - and especially pets - comes with certain liabilities. Pets can be unpredictable, especially when in unfamiliar settings. A well-crafted business insurance plan can protect you from potential lawsuits and ensure that your grooming or mobile grooming business flourishes in the future. Below is a list of the insurance policies crucial for pet groomers…
And just as you don't groom a poodle the same way you'd groom a Shih-Tzu, your grooming business might not need the same kind of insurance as the groomer down the street. That's why each one of these policies is customizable to match the services you provide your clients.
General Liability Insurance for Pet Groomers & Mobile Pet Groomers
When you purchase a General Liability Insurance policy, you protect your pet grooming or mobile pet grooming business from some of the most common liability claims small-business owner's face, including…
- Third-party property damage. This is when someone accuses your business of damaging their property. Let's say one of your groomers breaks a client's expensive travel carrier. That client could sue.
- Bodily Injury. If your company is responsible for hurting someone - like if someone slipped on ice on your walkway and broke a bone - that person could file a lawsuit.
- Personal / Advertising Injury. These are claims of non-physical injury like privacy invasion, libel, slander, copyright infringement, etc.
If and when your grooming or mobile grooming business is charged with one of these allegations, your General Liability policy will help you pay for the associated costs - legal defense, medical bills, judgments, and settlements - up to stated policy limits. And good news for mobile dog groomers: This coverage protects you both in your shop and in a client's home.
Property Insurance for Pet Groomers & Mobile Pet Groomers
Property Insurance is an important policy for any pet groomer - mobile or not - because when you carry it, you know you'll be able to repair or replace damaged or stolen property and keep your grooming business up and running. Property Insurance can protect your property after an unforeseen event, like a fire, theft, or high winds.
But what, exactly, can Property Insurance cover?
- Owned business space. This includes structural elements, like roofs.
- Furnishings. Your desk, grooming stations, dog washes, etc.
- Equipment. Computers, grooming aids, brushes, clippers.
- Supplies. Shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste, finishing supplies.
- Inventory. Many groomers carry leashes and grooming products to sell.
And because the pet grooming business requires that you keep your clients' pets in your temporary care, it's a good idea to look into Bailee's Insurance, particularly if you are not traveling to your clients' homes to provide services. Bailee's Insurance protects your clients' property - in this case, pets - while it is in your custody. Should an animal get sick or injured (or die) in your care, this insurance helps pay for the resulting veterinary costs and potential lawsuits.
Business Owner's Policies: Helping Pet Groomers & Mobile Pet Groomers Save on Their Business Insurance Plan
As a pet groomer or mobile pet groomer, you may be able to save money on your business insurance plan by buying a Business Owner's Policy instead of separate General Liability and Property Insurance policies.
A Business Owner's Policy - or a BOP - combines GLI and PI coverage into one insurance package for a discounted rate. To be eligible to purchase a BOP, your insurance provider must consider your grooming business to be at a low risk for GLI and PI claims - which many grooming businesses are. To find out for sure, contact an insureon agent.
Commercial Auto Insurance for Mobile Pet Groomers
Mobile pet groomers rely on their business vehicles to get them to and from clients' houses. Your mobility may give you an edge over brick-and-mortar pet groomers, but it does come at a cost: added liability. That's why it's so important for mobile pet groomers to carry Commercial Auto Insurance.
This type of policy can cover any vehicle - passenger car, truck, van - that you own primarily for business use by helping you pay for vehicle damage, potential lawsuits, and medical expenses should an unfortunate accident occur, including…
- Auto accidents. Even if the accident is your business's fault.
- Other collisions. Like accidently running over a client's mailbox.
- Natural disasters. When a tree falls onto your van.
- Vandalism & theft. Someone throws rocks that crack your windows and dent your van's exterior.
But what if you are a groomer who doesn't own a business vehicle but uses your personal car? Often, your Personal Auto policy will not cover business-related accidents. The good news is you can purchase Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance, which can protect your vehicle when your personal policy doesn't.
Inland Marine Insurance for Mobile Pet Grooming Businesses
If you own a mobile pet grooming business, the chances are pretty good that you'll need Inland Marine Insurance, which protects the tools and other equipment you take with you to your clients' homes. Why bother? Regular Property Insurance policies don't cover tools and equipment once they leave your business property. And a Commercial Auto Insurance policy only protects vehicles, not the tools being transported in them.
Let's say, on the way to a client's house, someone runs you off the road and into a retention pond. Thankfully, you escape unscathed, but your laptop and all your grooming equipment are still at the bottom of the pond. Without Inland Marine Insurance, you'd have to replace the equipment with your own money.
Professional Liability Insurance for Pet Groomers and Mobile Pet Groomers
Pet groomers and mobile pet groomers - just like other small businesses - are often the target of Professional Liability Insurance claims, which allege that you or an employee made a negligent mistake while conducting business. These claims can come in many forms, including…
- Breaches of contract. Your grooming business did not provide full contracted services.
- Professional mistakes. You accidently use a shampoo that the pet owner explained the dog was allergic to.
- Questions of quality. Your client believes that your services are not what they ought to be.
Some of these claims arise out of simple miscommunications - clear, written contracts go a long way to prevent those issues. For everything else, there's Professional Liability Insurance, which will help you pay for claim-related costs.
Workers' Compensation Insurance for Pet Grooming Businesses
When you work with pets, you always run the risk of injury. Workers' Compensation Insurance helps business owners pay the medical bills of employees who are injured on the job. Most plans also reimburse employees for a portion of their lost wages.
Without Workers' Compensation Insurance, business owners are often responsible for paying the bills out of pocket - but it's unlikely that, as an employer, you'd be able to get away without carrying this policy, regardless. That's because Workers' Compensation Insurance is state-regulated, and most states require that you carry coverage for your full- and part-time employees. You state may have more detailed requirements, and insureon can make sure your policy is up to snuff.
Pet Groomers: Want More Protection? Buy Umbrella Insurance
Umbrella Insurance is an affordable way for pet groomers to add extra coverage to their business insurance plan. One Umbrella policy can boost the coverage limits of many of you primary policies, including General Liability and Commercial Auto. It protects you by covering additional costs when your business faces a claim that is more expensive than the limit of your primary policy.
How likely is it that your pet grooming business will face such a claim? Not very - but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Think about an auto accident. A devastating wreck can easily rack up the bills - medical expenses, vehicle repair, legal costs. Let's say, all told, your company is responsible for a $800,000 Commercial Auto claim. If you policy only covers up to $600,000, who's going to pay the extra $200,000? An Umbrella policy can, but if you don't have Umbrella coverage, you'll be responsible.
Pet Groomers: How Would You Like Your Business Insurance Quotes?
Ready to receive business insurance quotes for your pet grooming business? Contact an insureon agent who will work with insurance providers to get you multiple quotes, often by the end of the day. You can also fill out one of our online forms and have your quotes sent directly to your inbox.