First of all, pet insurance is amazingly useful in general. I dislike the idea of waiting for a bad thing to happen and then just hoping that somehow I will be able to raise enough money via crowdsourcing to take care of a beloved family member.
So #1 is get pet insurance; don't gamble with your pets life.
#2 is, since you're going to get pet insurance, get Healthy Paws. Here's my experience with them:
You would think a lab-bulldog-staffie-boston terrier mutt would be free of hereditary conditions, wouldn't you? Not my Lilybug. She's just exceptional like that, I guess. She was born with both femurs curved to the point that her kneecaps don't track properly. Doesn't sound like a big deal? Well it kind of is.
Long story short--She needed BOTH femurs cut, rotated, and screwed into plates, BOTH knee ligaments cut and re-pinned, BOTH knee grooves deepened, and since we got her treatment so early we managed to fix a partially torn ACL before it fully tore apart (can you imagine the pain if that had happened?!) and realized that her shin bone ALSO needed to be cut, rotated, and screwed into plates.
Altogether we have one very sore puppy, and almost $20k in vet bills. I don't even make that much in a year, as a grad student.
Because of healthy paws we:
1. Could manage to pay for almost $20k in vet bills that otherwise would have put us in debt.
2. Were a lot faster about going to the vet & surgeon, since we knew we'd most likely be able to afford the care (since we only have to cover 20%). This saved us and our pup from a LOT of pain, since it meant we caught a partially torn ACL before it completely tore.
3. We were reimbursed so quickly that we were reimbursed for the first surgery before the second one took place, and didn't even need to take out a loan to cover the upfront costs. (We did it in stages, so that she could still be a tri-pod at any point in time.) Every time we've submitted a claim, they assess it within a day or two and the check gets to me a week later (Except the one time it got lost in the mail. And they were ready to reissue it in a heartbeat.)
On top of that, the people at healthy paws are so friendly. I've had to contact their customer service a couple times, and every time they handled my issue efficiently and very pleasantly. I was never passed around, or talked down to, or put on ridiculously long holds. They didn't make excuses, they just found solutions. Someone from healthy paws even rea