About General Liability Insurance
All businesses, regardless of industry, face risks that should be covered by insurance. The most common and comprehensive type of policy business owners invest in is general liability insurance (or CGL).
Some of the risks CGL insurance covers are:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Legal defense and judgment
- Personal and advertising injury
While businesses aren’t legally required to carry general liability insurance, operating without it is extremely risky. If your business is sued, you could end up facing fees totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). Having a sufficient CGL policy in place to help compensate for these damages is the only way to prevent this type of event from devastating your business.
COMMON SITUATIONS THAT GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE WOULD COVER FOR A MOBILE DOG GROOMER
Example 1: An expensive dog is frightened by a loud noise from some of your grooming equipment. It escapes your grasp and runs into the street where it is fatally hit by a vehicle driving by. If held liable, your business would probably have some coverage under a general liability insurance policy for damages incurred or a settlement reached outside of court.
Example 2: A customer’s toddler is playing while you perform your grooming services on the family dog. During the last few minutes of a shampoo session, you quickly run out to your car for an extension cord for your blow dryer. The dog lashes out and bites the child, who is rushed to the hospital. If liable, your business would probably be covered for some of the resulting damages.
Example 3: While talking with a customer, his priceless show dog, a special purebred, gets into your purse and consumes a large portion of dark chocolate that you left inside. The dog is fatally poisoned. If you were found liable, general liability insurance would probably help cover some of the damages or any settlement reached between your business and the customer.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of perils a general liability insurance policy will cover, and some conditions may result in a particular peril not being covered. It’s always best to talk to your agent in-depth about the specifics of your policy to avoid blind spots in coverage.
COST OF GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
The average mobile dog groomer in America spends between $300-$700 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.
Check out the chart below for a snapshot of average CGL expenditure across a variety of industries:
Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:
- Number of employees
- Per-occurrence limit
- General aggregate limit
You may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owner’s policy (BOP) rather than as a standalone policy. A BOP is a more comprehensive solution that includes multiple forms of coverage, such as business interruption and property insurance.
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OTHER TYPES OF COVERAGE MOBILE DOG GROOMERS NEED
While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some other types of insurance all mobile dog groomers should obtain:
Commercial Auto Insurance
As a mobile groomer, you will be moving from customer to customer. Any vehicle utilized for commercial purposes must be covered by auto insurance. Commercial auto insurance provides your grooming business coverage in the event of automotive accidents on the road.
Professional Liability Insurance
Businesses that advise customers or perform skilled services can be held liable for any resulting damages. Since your grooming business will be both serving and advising customers regarding their pets, this is an important policy to acquire.
TYPES OF COVERAGE SOME MOBILE DOG GROOMERS MAY NEED
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your mobile dog groomers may require depending on certain aspects of your operations. Some of these might not apply to you, so be sure to ask your agent which policies are right for your business.
Workers' Compensation Insurance
If your mobile dog groomer business has any employees (full-time or part-time), you are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This type of coverage will help compensate your employees in the case that they get injured on the job.
Product Liability Insurance
This policy is designed for businesses that sell products. In this case, you might sell certain shampoos or dog-grooming accessories to your customers. If a customer or their pet suffers some kind of injury from your products, a product liability policy can keep your business covered.
ADDITIONAL STEPS TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS
Although it’s easy (and essential) to invest in business insurance, it should not be your frontline defense. Yes, insurance will compensate for your business’ financial losses after an incident occurs, but it’s much better to avoid losses altogether.
With this in mind, here are three things you can do to better protect your business:
- Use legally robust contracts and other business documents. (We offer free templates for some of the most common legal forms.)
- Set up a limited liability company (LLC) to protect your personal assets. (Refer to our guide for step-by-step instructions on how to form an LLC in your state.)
- Streamline your business’ internal processes. This will remove unnecessary variables from common tasks and create a safe, consistent environment for conducting business.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is included in a business owner’s policy?
A typical business owner’s policy includes general liability, business interruption, and property insurance. However, BOPs are often customizable, so your agent may recommend adding professional liability, commercial auto, or other types of coverage to your package depending on your company’s needs.
What is the difference between business insurance and general liability insurance?
“Business insurance” is a generic term used to describe many different types of coverage a business may need. General liability insurance, on the other hand, is a specific type of coverage that business owners need to protect their assets.
Do I need insurance before I start a business?
You should invest in coverage for your business before your first interaction with a customer. Although the cost of insurance may seem high for a brand new business, it’s best to be proactive when it comes to protecting your assets. After all, you can’t buy insurance to cover a loss that has already occurred.
Will insurance protect my business from everything?
Not necessarily. Certain exceptions may be written directly into your policy, and some perils may be entirely uninsurable. Be sure to discuss the scope of your policy in-depth with your agent to avoid being blindsided by holes in your coverage.