The majority of pet owners are well aware of the advantages of leaving their pets at home when they go away on vacation. Some of these benefits include that the pets feel safer and happier and experience a lot less stress in their own environment. Another benefit is that their exercise routines and diets are not interrupted and the risk of exposure to certain types of illnesses is also reduced.
Due to these benefits the industry associated with pet-sitting has grown phenomenally in the last few years. If you have decided to find a pet sitter to take care of your pet during your next vacation whereby you will be leaving your animals at home or you use the same pet sitters every year, it is advisable that you ask for the proof that the sitter has insurance coverage. This coverage should also be verified before you leave your house keys with some-one you barely know.
Similar to local plumbers or electricians that perform tasks such as wiring a new alarm system or fixing a leaking pipe, pet sitters must also maintain the right bonding and liability coverage that protects your home and you against a claim that could come about due to this person’s negligence.
However, many home and pet owners often overlook this importance when they hire some-one to look after their pets. In most cases they often use a friend, neighbor or the neighbors or friends child or teenager. They often are not aware of the liability risks or exposures that are involved. This is somewhat surprising as pet sitters will generally have full access to a home that is unsupervised for much longer time frames when compared to any other service contractor type. Over and above this, pet sitters take on an added responsibility in the way of protecting the owner of the pet against a possible injury to property or other people when the animal is taken outside of the premises. If you want to hire a pet sitter, there are some steps you must take to ensure you only avail yourself of the best help available out there.
Below are a few examples that are able to portray why it is so important to only hire bonded, insured and professional pet sitters:
- The owner of the pet asks a neighbors teenager to come over and care for the dog as well as collect the mail while they are away. When the family arrives home the backyard and home is littered with cigarettes and beer bottles. Inside the home the contents and furniture are in complete disarray and there are cigarette burns in the carpet.
- Pet owners contact a pet sitter out of the local newspaper to care for their black 7 month old lab. They tell the sitter that the dog should be crated at night if inside the home and that the dog is incredibly scared of thunderstorms. One fatal night a thunderstorm occurs and the sitter has forgotten to put the puppy in the crate. The next day the sitter returns to find Persian rugs and expensive couches that have been destroyed and that the dog has gone to the toilet in various parts of the home.
- The owner of a dog tells the pet sitter that the dog will need to be taken for a walk on daily basis at the nearby park. The sitter decides to play Frisbee with the dog. When the dog is returning to the sitter he sees a woman who has stopped to have a conversation with the sitter. The dog jumps up on the woman and knocks her to the ground which results in her tearing ligaments in the area of her knee.
The above examples are all based on actual insurance claims that have been received. However, these claims do not even touch on more serious issues such as the damage or trauma that can occur to the pet when the sitter decides not to show-up or perhaps the sitter does not provide the pet with adequate care.
For a home owner to adequately protect their pets, home and themselves from any potential financial harm or damages, they should only ever consider using insured and bonded pet sitters that are able to prove that they carry this coverage.
Bonded and insured pet sitters will mean that the person has general liability insurance that includes coverage for the property and pets that will be in their care. They will also have control and custody and bonding. The other alternative would be what is known as employee-dishonesty coverage that will cover any type of potential theft claim.
In most cases these types of insurance policies are provided to associations as the members are able to portray a commitment to this profession. In addition, associations such as PSI (Professional Pet Sitters) are able to draw in more of the professional type pet sitters when compared to fly-by-night or inexperienced individuals.
PSI is the biggest educational association in the world for professional pet-sitters and is driven to educate pet sitters, recognize excellence, support and promote these individuals who are truly interested in the pet-care industries.