Pet Insurance for Working Animals


Ru Chen

- Updated June 4, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Service, working, and therapy animals should be protected by special pet insurance
  • Tailored pet insurance can cover liability and other risks
  • Also consider comprehensive pet insurance and pet life insurance for working animals
Pet Insurance for Working Animals

Working animals perform valiantly in their duties such as chasing down suspects, finding missing persons, supporting people with disabilities, and herding animals. However, these well-trained animals face unique challenges and risks. If they clash with other animals, people, or property, it can result in injuries, damages, or even death.

Protect your working animal with the right insurance coverage. Let’s go over what type of pet insurance meets the needs of animals in high-risk occupations.


Understanding Working Animals

Before diving into the different types of pet insurance for working animals, let’s review the subcategories of working animals and how they are legally treated.

Service animals

Service animals are trained to assist people with disabilities. Service animals receive special treatment in public places by law as designated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA protects service animals and takes priority over state and local laws or regulations. If you own a trained service animal, make sure to familiarize yourself with the ADA’s stance on service animals, including:

  • Businesses, nonprofit organizations, and local governments cannot restrict access to service animals in places the public is allowed to go
  • Businesses are not responsible for service animals while the individual with a disability is on the premises
  • Service animals may be excluded from areas that require a sterile environment (e.g. operating rooms)
  • Service animals must be leashed, harnessed, or otherwise under the effective control of the handler

Note that therapy and emotional support animals are not classified as service animals. Species restrictions also apply to service animals. Only dogs and miniature horses can be legally considered service animals. Service animals include guide dogs, hearing dogs, epilepsy service dogs, and mobility assistance dogs.

Therapy animals

A therapy animal offers comfort and support, providing people with animal therapy. The company of a therapy animal aims to help someone better manage physical or mental health conditions.

Therapy pets often visit hospitals, hospice centers, retirement homes, and schools. They can be a great source of support to patients who are recovering from surgeries or coping with mental health challenges, such as after a traumatic incident or during stressful periods.

People of all ages can benefit from a therapy animal as the animal provides valuable comfort, especially to the hurt, sick, and lonely. For example, research has found that therapy dogs can reduce self-reported anxiety and distress in individuals.

Working pets

Working dogs and other animals are trained to help in professional activities. They may come with a handler who works with them in an official training program, allowing the two to bond and gain mutual trust.

Let’s go over the different subcategories of working dogs.

Police and military dogs: K-9 units are police dogs specializing in the detection of threats, such as explosives and drugs. Detection dogs and sniffer dogs can also track suspects using their trained senses.

Search and rescue dogs: Serve to locate missing persons in disaster zones, such as after a landslide or earthquake.

Farm dogs: Herd livestock such as sheep and cattle.

The Need for Specialized Insurance Coverage

The financial risks associated with owning and working with animals

Animals can be hurt by illnesses, injuries, and accidents. When an animal is trained to work a certain job, they may be exposed to additional threats and perils. If you want to own a service animal or train a working pet, there may be high training costs involved.

Therapy dogs: Take up to 8 weeks of training for a dog to become a therapy dog. Therapy dogs require much more training, which means higher trainer fees. Pet owners can expect to pay around $300 to train a therapy dog.

Service dogs: Buying an already-trained service dog can cost between $15,000 to $30,000 upfront depending on the service. Certain service dogs cost up to $50,000. This is a serious financial challenge for many people – not to mention caring for the service dog will come with more expenses, such as food, toys, veterinary services, and additional training.

Working pets: Police dogs and other working animals may already be covered by municipality programs. However, these liability insurance policies can have serious gaps and limitations. Since working animals are more likely to become injured or pass away while on the job, it’s a good idea for handlers to consider Animal Mortality Coverage.

Common types of insurance coverage for working animals

  1. Liability protection

It is important to obtain third party bodily injury liability insurance in case your pet causes bodily injury to someone else. This may lead to you being sued for damages and medical expenses, which can cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Third party property damage liability insurance is also a good idea for working animals. Working animals have access to more public spaces, which also means they may accidentally destroy someone else’s property and assets.

Animal liability insurance comes with far higher coverage limits than regular pet insurance. Working animal owners usually choose coverage limits between $100,000 and $300,000 to ensure adequate coverage.

  1. Medical expenses coverage for on-the-job injuries

Working animals can get seriously injured on the job, requiring emergency veterinary attention. Make sure that your pet insurance policy covers the diagnosis and treatment of injuries that occur when a working animal is on the job.

  1. Animal mortality coverage

Unfortunately, animals can die when working challenging and risky jobs, such as search and rescue or threat detection. You may want to obtain animal mortality coverage or pet life insurance. Equine and animal mortality insurance can cover police dogs, service dogs, cattle dogs, horses, and other working animals that are considered high value. Coverage can provide valuable financial reimbursement in case of an incident.

Benefits of having tailored insurance coverage

Working animals offer incredible assistance and support to their owners, handlers, and patients. However, they often need specialized coverage that can cover gaps within a standard pet insurance policy. If you want to protect your financial stability while caring for a working animal who in turn cares for you, a tailored insurance policy for working animals is a crucial investment.

Coverage Options for Working Animals

Pet insurance providers don’t usually deny coverage to a working animal just because they are a service dog. However, pet owners and handlers may encounter gaps in coverage if they choose a standard pet insurance plan. Here are some coverage options to consider for working animals.

Liability Insurance

Working animals have liability risks. Even the most well-behaved, well-trained dog can get into an unpredictable incident where they end up injuring a person or their property. Whether this means a painful bite or broken furniture, you will likely end up with a liability claim against you for the damages.

Animal liability insurance covers third-party bodily injuries and property damage. This is separate from standard pet insurance, which only covers the health needs of your pet at the vet.

It is highly recommended for working animal owners to obtain animal liability insurance. You can save yourself thousands of dollars if someone else gets hurt or negatively impacted by your pet.

Accident and Illness Insurance

There are plenty of risks faced by working animals. For example, a search and rescue dog might be caught under debris and a police dog might get seriously injured while chasing a suspect. Guide dogs may get into accidents despite being cautious and well trained.

Because of the higher risks, it is advisable for working animals to be protected by comprehensive (AKA accident and illness) pet insurance. Accident-only pet insurance only covers lacerations, toxic ingestion, bites, broken bones, and other accidents. If a service dog or working animal falls ill, this can make them unable to carry out their duties.

Emergency and chronic vet services can pose a serious financial challenge to many pet owners, especially because maintaining the training of a working animal is so expensive. This is why owners of working animals should obtain comprehensive pet insurance that also covers diseases and health conditions.

Life Insurance

It takes a lot of resources and time to train a service or working animal. These animals need extra attention and training that can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. If a working animal dies, this death can lead to a serious loss of assets to businesses and individuals.

Consider obtaining life insurance for your pet if they are a working animal. This may come in the form of an animal mortality insurance policy or a pet life insurance policy. Pet life insurance typically costs up to $900 a year or $75 a month, depending on your service animal’s age, health, and value. Note that your working animal needs to be in good health in order to be eligible for pet life insurance, and there may be breed or age restrictions that impact your coverage.

Considerations for Owners of Working Animals

Evaluating insurance providers and policies for working animals

It’s important to choose a financially stable, reputable pet insurance provider for your working animal. They can give you a smooth claims process in the event of a stressful incident that is covered by your policy. Some of the best pet insurance providers to consider include:

Look at the company’s reviews and customer testimonials to see whether their coverage and customer service align with your needs.

Assessing coverage options

Coverage limit: Most pet owners choose an annual coverage limit of $10,000. However, if you are obtaining liability insurance for your working animal, you will need a higher coverage limit. This is because liability claims and human medical expenses can be much more expensive. The average dog bite claim costs pet owners around $64,000.

Deductible: Pet insurance for dogs usually has a deductible of $250. You may want to opt for a higher deductible to reduce the monthly premium. However, this would mean you would need to pay more out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in. Choose a deductible that fits your budgetary needs.

Exclusions: While working animals are not typically excluded, your pet insurance policy may come with breed restrictions that impact coverage. Make sure to carefully read a policy’s excluded breeds, health conditions, and vet expenses before purchasing it.

Add-ons: Pet insurance companies often let pet owners of working animals add third-party clauses and other add-ons to ensure better coverage. You can also opt for a wellness plan that covers pet routine care expenses, including annual wellness exams, vaccinations, spay/neuter, and dental cleaning.

Planning for the long-term financial well-being of working animals

The health of a working animal is not just the wellbeing of your beloved pet, but also a way to protect your financial investment. Pet owners and handlers can ensure better overall health for working animals by taking them to the vet for regular checkups. Service animals should see the veterinarian at least once a year.

Consider what breed your animal is. It may be associated with breed-specific health risks, which means a greater likelihood of dangerous and painful conditions. It is a good idea to get a working animal checked for any breed-specific health conditions for early detection and treatment.



Specialized insurance coverage is highly recommended for service dogs and miniature horses, therapy animals, and working animals. They are exposed to substantial liability and health risks, which benefit from tailored pet insurance policies. Working animal pet insurance types to consider include:

  • Pet life insurance
  • Animal liability insurance
  • Accident and illness insurance

Working animal pet owners and handlers should explore different insurance options to protect their valuable companions from accidents, illnesses, and work-related emergencies.

About The Author

Ru Chen

Ru Chen

Content Writer

Ru Chen is a content writer with several years of experience in creating engaging and well-researched articles. She mostly writes about insurance, business, digital marketing, and law. In her free time, she can be found watching horror movies and playing board games with her partner in Brooklyn.

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