If you do insurance, be a careful buyer. It's not all interchangeable. A lot of it honestly sucks. Exclusions for inherited or congenital issues that are common in our breed, per-incident deductibles, annual maximums that you hit after one claim, etc. Also, your own dog's pre-existing conditions REALLY matter. We've got a bunch of excellent threads, including one where an insurance pro ripped apart the fine print of many policies.
The upshot of most of those threads is that Healthy Paws, PetPlan, and TruPanion seem to come out on top in terms of what they cover. Of those, Healthy Paws has no limit to what they'll pay, and they have an annual deductible (not per incident), which can be a huge benefit.
I think it's kind of silly to have a policy then cancel it every 6 months (which some do) because you're constantly restarting the elimination period when nothing is covered (and you'll never qualify for hip coverage, with the few companies that offer it). If something happens on your 6-mo without coverage, it will be a pre-existing condition excluded when you restart. Only having it for the first year and a half as your friend suggests also only gets the dog when it's young and healthy....missing all the stuff that happens in the middle of an active life.
There's even a recent thread about getting help with vet bills -- where the poster had insurance with an annual limit and blew threw that very quickly, then is now facing many thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Whether to self-insure depends on your means. Emergency surgery for bloat with torsion will run about $3,000. A ripped ACL could be about the same. Foreign object ingestion would probably be around $1500. Serious chronic conditions like allergies, IBD, PAF, autoimmune, etc. can be hundreds of bucks at a time, frequently. It depends how big your cushion is to absorb stuff like that.
Our advice in rescue to adopters is to budget $200/mo. for the dog. What you don't spend should go into a dog account for big, unexpected bills. At some point, you're likely to have one -- and some unlucky dogs get a lot of them. If that seems unsustainable, get GOOD insurance -- read the fine print, and purchase wisely.
Last edited by Magwart; 02-08-2017 at 12:09 PM.