We've had the pet insurance for a few years, but finally had an incident where we REALLY needed it. My cat had a serious illness and had to be rushed to the emergency vet and kept overnight for several days--and have surgery. Two hours after we had to drop him at the ER, my husband sprained his ankle and was out of work without pay for 4 weeks.
Luckily we had the ability to front my cat's medical expenses, but even more importantly we didn't hesitate to take on all of the mounting costs for my cat because we knew we'd have 80% reimbursement (at least until our maximum amount per illness at our level). Without that knowledge, it might have been a heart wrenching decision to make simply because of a lack of finances.
The reimbursement literally saved my cat's life and helped us pay our mortgage the next month.
Correspondence with the claims department was fast and easy.