Is dental insurance a good idea?

When it comes to getting additional financial help with caring for your teeth, there are a number of dental insurance and dental plan options available to you.

Some plans provide help for more routine day to day dental costs, whereas others provide cover for a wider range of treatments, so it’s important to understand how the different options work and the dental coverage they provide.

Are Medical & Dental Insurance Plans available together?

is dental insurance a good ideaWith many insurance providers you can get medical and dental insurance combined as part of your overall private health insurance policy, however the dental insurance part is usually an add on that you would need to pay extra for as opposed to being part of the overall package.

Although you pay more, including dental coverage as part of your medical insurance may work out cheaper than buying a standalone dental plan, so it is worth comparing dental health insurance options before making a decision.

How do dental insurance & dental plans work?

Although plans vary, essentially there are two main types of dental plan; dental insurance and a dental cash plans.

Dental cash plans – this type of dental plan tends to be restricted in what it covers and is there mainly to help with the more routine dental requirements including:

  • Check ups, investigations and x-rays
  • Scale and polish
  • Crowns, bridges, fillings and dentures
  • Accident and emergency cover
  • Mouth cancer cover

The plan will pay either all, or a percentage of your dental costs up to your agreed limit.

For example with Simplyhealth, one of the largest Dental Cash Plan providers, their level 2 Dental plan for £15.23 a month provides cover for a range of dental procedures as mentioned above, including 100% of your check up costs a year up to a total cost of £75 – and 75% of the amount paid up to a threshold of £65 for a scale and polish.

So dental cash plans do tend to be cheaper than dental insurance and as they cover routine dental procedures, can pay for themselves over the course of a year; it just depends how much dental work you have.

You pay for your treatment up front and then claim what you are entitled to after the treatment has taken place.

It’s worth mentioning that in addition to Dental Cash Plans, Health Cash Plans are also available which in addition to providing help with dental costs, also include benefits for other medical treatments such as optical care as well as physiotherapist and chiropractors services.

Dental Insurance – with this type of dental plan you are usually covered for a wider range of treatments, including the ones already mentioned and for higher amounts. Again dental insurance plans vary depending on the provider but there will usually be an allowance available either per year or per claim (or a combination of the two) for the different types of dental treatment included.

For example Vitality dental cover, one of the main insurance providers cover a range of treatments including up to £400 for new or replacement crowns per year and up to £40 per claim for fillings, with a maximum of two claims per year.

AXA Dental Insurance, another insurance ‘biggie’ on the other hand provides a total allowance of up to £1,000 per year for any remedial and restorative treatments such as fillings, crowns and bridges.

As you can see, cover does vary and prices are dependent on age and where you live, which is why it is important to compare dental insurance plans closely before deciding on the most suitable option.

In addition to the different allowances paid for each type of dental service, a number of dental insurance plans also offer a choice of cover levels depending on whether you are treated by the NHS or a private dentist. So in AXA’s case, the £1,000 allowance for remedial and restorative treatments is for when you are treated as an NHS patient. If you are treated as a private dental patient, the cover changes to 50% of the costs paid.

Bupa Dental Insurance Plans also offer a range of NHS and private dental insurance options with three plans on offer:

  • The first offering dental coverage for NHS treatments
  • The second providing cover for treatment as a private patient
  • And the third providing cover when treated at one of the Bupa dental centres

Regardless of whether you choose a dental cash plan or a dental insurance plan, in addition to looking at the cover levels available, it’s also important to understand the qualifying periods for each benefit, as some services may not be covered immediately.

To compare dental insurance plans and dental cash back, or to get help from a specialist who can guide you on the best dental insurance plan for you, click on the ‘Compare Quotes’ button below.

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