IS IT WORTH GETTING DENTAL INSURANCE?

Dental insurance is certainly a useful investment to fall back on should you unexpectedly require treatment, but is it really worth it? To answer this question, you need to consider how much it costs, along with the likelihood that you will need it.

There is no escaping the fact that dental care costs money in any case, and the same goes for insurance. However, insurance can vary in price and, more often than not, will cost you far less in the long run than if you pay up front as and when you need any treatment or check-ups.

There are a number of payment plans available, whether you opt for NHS or private insurance, that make any dental plan much more affordable.

NHS Insurance

The cost of NHS dental care is split into three bands, depending on the kind of treatment required, and the following prices apply:

Band 1 costs £18.50 and covers a basic examination, scale and polish.

Band 2 costs £50.50 and covers the above, as well as fillings, root canals and extractions.

Band 3 costs £219.00 and covers all of the above, including crowns, dentures, bridges and other more extensive treatment.

There are various insurance plans available that break down into very affordable monthly payments, some of which amount to little more than £100 a year. This means that if you are likely to need any Band 3 treatment, you will save a significant amount by paying for it through an insurance plan.

Private Insurance

Private insurance plans can vary greatly in cost and each will cover different things. For example, many plans will cover the cost of treatment up to a certain amount over a year and, if this were exceeded, the difference would need to be paid by the patient.

However, a simple check-up, scale and polish will normally be fully covered with no limit. The capped coverage tends to apply for more complicated treatments, such as surgery or cosmetic dentistry.

The annual premium payment and the amount of coverage will differ, depending on which insurance provider you choose, so it is vital that you do some research if you decide private dentistry is the way to go.

One of the advantages of opting for a private dental plan is that you can usually find one that is fully customised to your personal needs, so it is fairly easy to find an affordable plan that provides the treatment you need, without making you pay for other services you’ll never use.

So is it worth getting dental insurance? To answer that we should look at the pros and cons in more detail:

Pros

• A one-off yearly payment will fully cover the cost of many treatments.

• Insurance can be cheaper in the long run for those in need of extensive treatment.

• There are various family plans available.

• Unexpected dental emergencies will be covered.

• Different payment plans are available, such as annual or monthly.

• Patients in need of regular treatment will pay less with an insurance policy.

Cons

• Capped insurance may not completely cover the costs of expensive treatment.

• Cosmetic dentistry may not be covered by insurance.

• Insurance policies often have a qualifying period, during which no claims can be made.

• For those with good oral health and little need for dental care, it may be cheaper to just pay up front.

If your previous annual dental bills were high, then it is far better to pay for an insurance policy as it will save you a significant amount of money in the long-term. Another factor to consider is that, in many cases, the need for dental treatment is unexpected, such as when a tooth is chipped or broken.

A sudden dental bill can result in financial problems if you were not previously prepared to pay for it, but if you already have a dental plan in place, you will have financial peace of mind should a dental emergency arise.

As is the case with many types of insurance, it is better to be safe than sorry. Since the need for regular dental care is a certainty, an affordable insurance plan is undoubtedly the better option.