So is AppleCare (no +) a warranty or insurance? It's provided by the manufacturer...
AppleCare+ is more like insurance since it covers accidental damage as well, with a deductible.
Personally I've done very well with AppleCare. Since I live in an area where Apple has no local store, a warranty swap without AppleCare runs me $30-$40 for advanced exchange, or I go 2-6 weeks without my phone, which isn't acceptable. Paying $69 for AppleCare the first time I need it is a no-brainer (since I waive the $35 advanced-exchange fee, that means it only runs me $34. I generally swap my devices once a year, and I've found I do get better resale value too since I'm selling a device with 10-14 months of warranty on it).
Now that Apple won't sell straight AppleCare for the iPhone and I have to get AppleCare+, I'm more apprehensive, but since I also plan on keeping this one for a little over 2 years instead of my usual 12-14 months, I figure it'll work out. I currently have a dead-standby-button iPhone 5 on my desk waiting for UPS pickup on Monday, so I'm $35 of savings into the $99 investment.
However, this takes into account the fact that I've had to warranty all but one iPod Touch / iPhone that I've owned, with a couple DOAs along the way (one DOA was, itself, a warranty replacement). Usually it's the Standby or Home button that goes over time -- If it were just me, I'd say I'm rough on them. Since it's a known defect, I have no problem making Apple replace 'em -- The more they spend on replacing bad buttons, the more likely they are to re-engineer, like they finally did for the iPhone 5.
For me the $69-$99 warranty cost is worth it since replacement cost on the device is ~$700.
(And before anyone throws a tantrum about my prices being "wrong", remember that there is more than one country in the world)