A former client of mine was faced with this difficult decision when her dog had to be rushed to BluePearl when he suddenly had trouble walking and was in extreme pain. After emergency surgery and a lengthy hospital stay, the final bill was in the 5 figures. Far more than she could afford. Fortunately they were covered by Trupanion and were only responsible for a fraction of the cost.
Many pets go through life without any major accidents or illnesses, but there's no way to know for sure. If you can't afford the monthly insurance payments, you can always set aside what you can in a separate savings account to help offset any emergency vet visits.
The pros and cons of pet insurance vary from plan to plan. Depending on your pet, the yearly costs may be far more than your actual vet bills. But what is the price of the peace of mind knowing that if the worst should happen, your pet will receive the best of care with minimal impact on your wallet?