Des said "We bought pet insurance through Trupanion when our dog was a puppy. This was nine years ago. It has a base deductible on each claim and pays 90%, if I recall correctly. We have used it and, although the insurer is probably ahead overall, it has come in handy. I am glad we bought it.
You can use it at any vet. With our policy you pay the bill up front and then seek reimbursement. I know with some policies the vets direct bill. Our policy does not cover regular check ups or teeth cleaning, which is something that small dogs do require every two years.
We used it twice when our pup was very ill and needed to be hospitalized. Our pup was also diagnosed with a heart murmur about two years ago and it covered the initial testing and the testing and monitoring that is now required. Here are a few tips:
1. Keep your receipts and claim everything.
2. Don't take "no" for an answer. When our pup was diagnosed with the heart murmur they initially denied the claim. I had to appeal and it was reversed. They blamed it on their computerized automated claims adjudication but I think their hope was we would just accept it and not challenge the decision. By challenging it we now have a claim number and subsequent testing is related to the same claim so it is covered.
3. Track your claims so that you don't have to pay the deductible again if you can show it is part of the same claim.
4. Read the policy and make sure you understand what is and is not covered. Reading the policy allowed me to successfully appeal their initial denial.
Some people get a quote on pet insurance and then faithfully put the equivalent of the premium into a savings account each month and self insure. That is probably not a bad option if you are diligent about saving and only touch the money for your pet. However, think of the expected lifespan of your pet and calculate how much you would sock away. Then look at the cost of a major surgery like a joint replacement and ask if you will save enough to cover it. You already know what a pet will cost you if they get really sick. The insurance will pay out more than you put in, but balance that against the odds you will have a claim that big and then assess how much risk you want to take by self-insuring. Its a gamble either way.
Enjoy your new family member! "
Thank you for your reply it was very informative and helpful!