My last Golden barely had a day's illness in her life - until she was diagnosed with cardiac hemangiosarcoma at age 8. What she had was untreatable, but in the few days that she lived after becoming sick, I still paid out much more in vet's fees than the total amount of insurance premiums I would have paid in her lifetime. Had we been able to treat her, the cost would have been well into five figures.
A dog belonging to a friend of mine tore his ACL a few months ago: $5,000. A friend who got a new pup at about the same time as me just paid more than that for an operation to remove an intestinal blockage, followed by emergency treatment when the recovery didn't go as planned. Neither had insurance.
When we got our new pup earlier this year, the first thing I did was to take out insurance for him. We chose Trupanion: there's no cap on payments and I was able to choose my own level of deductible to keep the premium lower. This company gets good reviews. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
A tip: If you are considering insurance, get it as soon as your pup comes home. Any treatment the pup receives before the policy is in force is considered as a pre-existing condition and won't be covered. For example, if your pup has a UTI before you take out insurance, treatment for all future UTIs will be excluded from your policy.
Also, note that insurance doesn't cover routine or elective treatments: spaying, yearly check-ups, heartworm and tick medication, annual vaccines, etc. None of these are covered.
I find it comforting to know that if my dog gets a catastrophic illness, cost won't be a factor in deciding how to treat him.
Ruby 13-01-2007 to 18-03-2015.
My dog of a lifetime. I'll miss you forever.