Care, custody, and control in insurance

dog walker example of care custody control insurance
As a small business owner, your clients may trust you with their property. Whether you’re a furniture repair professional restoring your clients’ antique armoire, a computer repair technician with a desktop in your shop, or a dog walker, your clients expect you to take good care of their possessions while they’re in your custody and control.

What happens if you damage or lose your clients’ property, or their beloved pet is injured on your watch? It all depends on your insurance policy. Care, custody, and control (CCC) insurance coverage can help to protect you from liability in the case of a mishap while on the job. Yet many insurance policies specifically exclude this kind of liability. So how do you make sure you’re covered? Read on to learn everything you need to know about CCC insurance.

How insurers treat care, custody, and control

As you read in the above examples of lost or property damage, you might have thought to yourself: “well, I’m definitely covered—I have general liability insurance.” If that’s your assumption, it’s important to understand what a general liability policy usually covers, and what it excludes.

General liability insurance is designed to protect your small business against client and third-party claims of bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage. In the following scenarios, your insurance would likely cover your business’ third-party property damage:

You’re a tutor visiting a client’s home. Should you spill your coffee on a stark-white rug, your client could expect you to pay the cost of the repair.

You’re an artisan attending a farmers’ market. While setting up your station, you work in close quarters with several other vendors. Should you knock over one of their speakers, they could expect you to pay for a replacement.

In these cases, you damaged client’s or a third party’s property that was not under your care (i.e. it was not your job to care for the rug, nor part of your job as an artisan to take care of someone else’s equipment). Thus, your general liability insurance should apply.

However, it might not cover you in situations like the following:

  • You repair TVs. You take pride in your cautiousness, but should you accidentally crack a screen, you could be liable—even if you have general liability insurance.
  • You’re a housekeeper at a client’s home, and you frequently move objects to thoroughly dust surfaces. Should you crack an object, you could be liable to replace it.

Why would you be liable in these scenarios? It all comes down to whether or not your insurance has a CCC exclusion.

CCC exclusions

An insurance exclusion is a provision in your policy that excludes a certain kind of risk from your coverage. A CCC exclusion, therefore, excludes an event when a client’s property is in your care, custody, and control. The definition is as follows:

Care – Your client’s property is temporarily under your care

Custody – It is your responsibility to keep that property safe while it’s under your care (i.e. no one else has been tasked with guarding it)

Control – You have the power over the property

If your insurance excludes property under your care, custody, and control, you won’t be covered in the event that you damage a client’s property. If you aren’t sure whether or not your insurance carries a CCC exclusion, it’s worth asking so that you can make sure you have the insurance coverage you need.

Bailments and bailees

If you’re looking for a way to ensure your customers’ property while it’s in your protection, you may have also seen the term “bailee’s customer insurance.” This is another way of describing the relationship between a business owner, a client, and their property:

  • The bailer owns a piece of property
  • The bailee has temporary custody of the property, but is expected to return it (they “hold it in bailment”)

Bailee’s customer insurance is usually a kind of inland marine insurance. In this case, the name is deceiving: inland marine insurance isn’t just for marines. Rather, it can be used to protect property during domestic shipping (by air, land, or sea), and to protect property temporarily in the custody of a bailee.

Finding CCC insurance

If your professional responsibilities include taking care of your clients’ possessions, it’s important that you have CCC insurance. Here are some ways you could make sure you’re covered with care custody and control insurance:

Find a general liability policy that does not exclude CCC coverage – If you’re a professional whose main job entails caring for other people’s property, make sure your insurance has your back. For example, Thimble’s Cleaners  Janitors and Pets Insurance policies automatically come with CCC coverage.

Add on CCC coverage to your general liability policy – If your insurer’s liability policy excludes CCC coverage by default, there may still be a way to add-on CCC coverage to a basic policy. CCC is an optional add-on for many Thimble policies.

Consider inland marine insurance – Inland marine insurance is a specific kind of policy that can protect your own business equipment or property.

Taking care of business: get insurance

Whether you’re looking for a new policy to cover your CCC liability or you’re seeking to better understand your existing coverage, Thimble has the answer.

With over 120 covered professions, we’re the go-to for small business owners seeking general liability insurance and professional liability insurance. Our policies are so affordable because we tailor them to you. Choose a liability policy by the hour, day, or month, and only pay for insurance when you need it.

Additionally, it takes less than 60 seconds to get covered. Click “Get a Quote” or download the Thimble app, answer a few questions, and viola! You have your free quote. From there, you can click to purchase.

Protect yourself from liability when your clients’ personal property is in your hands by understanding care, custody, and control. Remember:

  • Many insurers exclude property that is in the insurer (or bailee’s) care, custody, and control.
  • Make sure you understand whether your general liability has a CCC exception, and if not, how you can get covered.
  • Look for CCC add-ons like Thimble’s, or consider inland marine insurance.

After all, a single damaged item could lead to a high payout, and even a lawsuit. It’s easier to take good care of your clients’ personal property when you know your small business is in good hands, too.


Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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