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Following is a post I've often made to this question:

Consumers Reports had a long article on pet insurance about 3-5 years ago that would be valuable for you to read; you can go to your local library and look it up in the CR index.

In general, IMO the odds of coming out ahead are a little similar although far from AS bad as investing weekly in the hope of winning the lottery.
Pet insurance is sold by profit making companies. They provide a service (which costs them money) for a fee which covers the cost of providing the service PLUS portions from your monthly premium which also goes:
-- to the company executive salaries and benefits;
-- to their employees and for their health, retirement, and leave benefits;
-- to their legal staff;
-- for advertising;
-- for the buildings and maintenance; and
-- for profit on investment to/by the shareholders,
-- etc.

For most people, it'll be far cheaper to self-insure -- and you often have more control over which vet treats your dog. That's because some insurance companies negotiate with particular vets to charge (to the insurance co,) a reduced fee for service in exchange for the potential of an increased number of referrals. So you may be restricted in which vet you can see.

IF it's determined by the insurance company that the treatment was for a pre-existing condition, it's usually excluded from coverage.
SOME insurance companies drop you at anytime when their costs of providing you service exceeds a level they consider detrimental to their economic survival.

Remember, these companies are in business to make a profit.

A few people DO come out ahead for large, covered expenses but these are in the minority; if they were in the majority, the insurance company would go broke.

Remember, these companies are in business to make a profit.

IMO, most people will come out much further ahead by "going into business for themselves" and setting up their own system much as HersheyK's Dad/Ed and others have recommended.

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