Insurance and safety for sitter

I am new to this site and have been asked to return for another sit.

The problem that I have is that the homeowner requested the back door will be left open for the dogs to come in an out, and when I go out just close the door, but it isn’t locked. Even when I had finished, I said I was told just to pull the door shut. I felt very uncomfortable and when I queried this I was told it’s a very safe place.

On my sit with her the first time I found out that she had holiday makers staying in a cabin in the backyard , which meant the whole time I was inside, anyone could walk in?

I’m due to get back soon, but I’d like to get something in writing that covers me in insurance. If anything should go missing or if maybe somebody let her dogs out while I’m gone. I don’t know where I stand and how to cover myself with this .

@Lilith Why would you put yourself in such a precarious situation? It may be the local culture, or that homeowner’s comfort level, but if it makes you uncomfortable, why would you return? I grew up in an era and location where no one locked doors but for me there are now very few places where I would feel comfortable doing that.

You are well aware of the negative outcomes that could surface. You are also perhaps jeopardizing your personal safety. I don’t know how experienced you are as a sitter but a golden rule is to pass on a sit where anything doesn’t feel quite right.

As you have said you are due to return, my guess is you have already agreed to an upcoming sit. You don’t mention whether it is still through TrustedHousesitters, as some go privately when an owner’s membership isn’t renewed. It’s of course your call, but I certainly would not do that sit.


In theory, anyone can walk in on me most of the day (through the front door), and I don’t even have a dog that would bark at intruders.

I wish life was that simple for me. I think it’s very hard being a female on your own.

I had already agreed after the first sit, too kind I am but realising now that was plain stupid. I didn’t know she had guests leaving and new ones arriving whilst I was there. Nothing written on her site warning me. I will do the sit to honour my word but certainly have learnt a lot fast. This forum is so so helpful on things to be aware of. I really want to ask her before this next sit to put something in writing so I am not held accountable if anything is damaged or stolen. First sit when I took the dogs for a walk I locked my laptop and camera in my car. I’m a true believer in prevention is better than cure.


I’ve been told to leave the door open on several sits ‘downunder’ because it’s safe but I take no notice and always lock the doors if I’m going out, and often if I’m in. If the homeowners’ stuff gets pinched while they leave doors open then that’s their lookout, however I don’t want my money, cards, iPad, iPhone and passport stolen by leaving doors open and don’t want to have to carry them around with me. Before you return explain your concerns and you’re under no obligation to do the sit if the owner persists with her insecure ways.


I think there’s a difference between going against home-owner’s instructions and doing LESS (particularly when it comes to pet care) and doing MORE. As per a post I’ve read recently, a sitter decided to ignore the home-owner’s instructions to keep the dog on a lead even in the enclosed back garden (for good reasons which were explained) and, predictably, this ended badly.

On the other hand, the home-owner saying it’s OK to leave the doors unlocked because they do it all the time, is an instruction I would happily ignore (assuming they arent fire exits… :grin: ). “I dont feel comfortable doing that. I will lock them when I go out and when I’m home.”


Your definitely right, just building up the courage to write to HO.

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Maybe this will make it easier: the worst they can do is say no, and that they will find another sitter who is willing to follow their instructions to leave their home unsecured.

Either you get to feel safe during the sit, or you are let out of the arrangement. Win win.

If the HOs try to negotiate, don’t let them. They don’t have any power over you in this, even if it feels like they do. If you absolutely don’t feel you can talk to them about it and want to follow through on the sit: just lock the doors anyway.

If they aren’t providing you with a key that’s another issue and I would just refuse to do the sit without a key.

ETA: I know you’re asking about this written assurance to let you off the hook if something were to happen to their property or dogs, but I think that will just result in the HOs saying don’t worry about it over and over again. Focusing on your need for YOUR safety and comfort as a deal breaker is more likely to result in a sit you are comfortable with, or being let out of the sit altogether.

@Lilith You’ve had some excellent feedback since you replied to me (post #5)

Most of us sitters would do anything to try to not go back on a commitment, but safety (yours) and respect (for your concerns) certainly trumps those considerations, in my opinion.

As for anything written, I doubt the homeowner would provide it. If there was a need for an insurance claim on their part, having the home unlocked would likely void their coverage. If it was said that you were caring for the home at the time, would you want to put yourself in that predicament? Anything they write will likely have little weight or protection for you, in my opinion.

I do hope things get resolved to your satisfaction. :slightly_smiling_face:


Exactly my thoughts at 2 am and I wrote to HO via TH website stating my concerns and I would need the key. I wanted it in writing. Just got a phone call which I had to ignore as words are no proof. I did write on the end of the message, please respond and I will have to hold my ground and see what happens. It’s hard standing up for yourself.

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I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice. I ended voicing my concerns on the TH website and asked for a reply back via the same site. It all worked out in the end. The HO rang me and was more than happy to give me a key and realised that she knows the area and lived there for so many years that she felt safe but totally understood where I was coming from. Communication has helped a lot.