I'm the king of procrastination, but I finally took the leap and chose a pet insurance provider, Veterinary Pet Insurance. I just filled out their online form yesterday and I'm still waiting for them to approve my policy application, but their "Superior Plan" should cost me $180 a year per cat.
The plan is not an HMO. I have to pay my vet (any vet I want) first and then submit a form for reimbursement. I combed over their Web site and I'm still a little unclear as to exactly how much they will or won't pay for a specific procedure or illness. However, after comparing them to the other two pet insurance providers I found, PetCare and the CFA Pet Healthcare Plan, they seemed like the most reputatable.
From their Web site, their ad materials, etc -- VPI just seems credible. One thing that sold me is that the VPI Web site has a whole section of answers and help for customers who are victims of Hurricane Katrina. They are even providing a grace period for customers who can't pay due to the disaster. To me, that suggests that they have their act together. My vet also recommends VPI and has their pamphlets in his office and that means something to me also.
As with human insurance, there's always the risk that they won't pay as much for a treatment as I would like, but this is a gamble I'm going to take. Pet insurance really isn't for the boys; it's for me. The boys are healthy now, but if they get sick, my fiancee Liz and I will pay whatever it costs to take care of them. We would probably take on debt or clear out our bank accounts if necessary. So, if the insurance works, it actually is insuring our assets.