Insurance - what you should know when pet sitting at home

by PetCloud / Pet Sitter Resources / 6 Oct 2015

Insurance for pets

So you thought you'd give pet sitting a go. You have pet insurance for your own dog.  The visiting pet's Owner has pet insurance, and you have home insurance which covers your house, right?

Wrong.

In fact, most insurers will actually refuse claims for household items damaged by dogs, cats, budgies and even goldfish.  Others will only cover damage caused by pets if you take out full accidental damage cover alongside your home contents policy. 

Before taking out a policy, it is therefore vital for Pet Sitters to read Product Disclosure Statements to see whether one-off accidental damage caused by furry guests will be covered.

For example, some insurers say they will cover for animal damage - however you need to read the PDS to understand under what circumstances they will cover animal damage.  For example, they might cover you if a gecko wees on electrical wires or circuit boards that break an airconditioning unit, but they may not cover damage by your own pet, a flatmate's pet, or a visiting guest pet you are pet sitting.  ?Don't feel intimidated by PDS's.

Standard contents policies include some cover for incidences of accidental damage - including stereo equipment and glass built into furniture. However, they don't cover accidental damage to other goods or to furnishings themselves. It may therefore be well worth paying an extra premium for accidental damage cover to be added to your policy.  Even then, the bad news for Pet Sitters is that many home insurance providers may not cover chewing, tearing, scratching, vomiting, or toileting damage caused by visiting animals.

A chewed chair leg from a visiting Pet

Above: A chewed chair leg from a visiting Pet.

 

Damage to the Pet Sitter's or Pet Owners personal property (such as damage to home or vehicles) by the visiting pet is also not covered by many companies Pet Sitter Liability Insurance and needs to be raised with the Pet Owner for direct cost reimbursement on a case-by-case-basis.

When you are a Pet Sitter, the type of Insurance you want to know you are covered for is called "Liability Insurance". This is insurance cover in case your actions as a Sitter lead to loss, injury or damage to property.  When you are a Pet Sitter on PetCloud, we have already purchased this cover for all bookings done through our website and Sitters don't need to purchase additional liability cover. For more information about our Pet Sitting Insurance, see our website.

While liability insurance makes good business sense, it is no replacement for common sense, conducting thorough Meet and Greets, Home & Backyard inspections (to check for obstructions or any holes in the fence), and ensuring you have all the information you need to care for the visiting pet while they are in your care.

A Dog Photo

Pet Accident and Illness Insurance Cover

In relation to Pet Accidents, jounalist John Collett wrote an article published by the Sydney Morning Herald, advising there are three basic types of pet insurance policies:

  1. "Accident-only" cover provides cover for injuries caused by accidents, such as being hit by a car and snake bites. One thing to check is exclusions of some accidents, with tick and flea bites often not covered.
  2. Then there is "Accident and Illness" cover. These policies usually cover cancer, infectious diseases and hereditary conditions,
  3. Finally, there is "Comprehensive" cover which covers accidents, illness and some routine care, like some preventive health treatments.

Pet owners can easily be left out of pocket for hundreds of dollars or more should their pets suffer an illness or have an accident.

In summary, Justine Davies, from research and ratings company, Canstar advises that as a Pet Owner, you need to be aware of the following common exclusions and conditions for insurance cover:

  1. Expect to have pet insurance premiums increase as your pet gets older
  2. Expect to pay more for insurance, the bigger the dog you own.
  3. Expect to pay more if the breed of your dog is "unknown"  (Note: Good news for cat owners - the price of insurance for cats doesn't differ according to breed like it does for dogs)
  4. A pre-existing medical condition will be generally excluded from the insurance cover.
  5. Some pet insurance products won't provide insurance cover after your pet reaches a certain age (around 8-9 years old).
  6. Insurance can be voided if vaccinations are not kept up-to-date.

Great advice.

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