Dental insurance is not one-size-fits-all. How do you choose the right dental insurance for your family? Below we list all things to consider when choosing family dental insurance.
What is dental insurance?
Dental insurance works similarly to health insurance, with the main difference being that the premiums are typically much lower, while the deductibles are higher.
The amount you pay monthly on your insurance policy may help cover a portion of the cost of dental procedures, making routine professional care more attainable for those with coverage. With words like co-pay, premium and deductible, it’s easy to feel confused by dental insurance details. Our dental benefit terms glossary may help explain some of the most common terms associated with dental insurance.
Why dental insurance?
Dental insurance helps with out-of-pocket costs when unexpected dental problems arise. It may also help save you money in the long run by helping you maintain proper oral hygiene with routine cleanings and check-ups.
Things to consider when choosing dental insurance
Choosing a family dental insurance plan is a decision that requires research and consultation with insurance professionals. We’ve put together six things to consider the next time you start browsing plans for you and your loved ones.
Similar to any other monthly payment, it’s important to consider the budget to spend on dental insurance. Come up with an estimate for how much your family usually spends annually on dental costs and determine which plan makes the most sense for your budget and needs. Don’t forget to account for things like premiums, co-payments, deductibles and annual maximums in your analysis.
2. What is (and what is not) covered in the plan
Understanding a plan’s coverage will be critical to helping you choose what is suitable for your family’s needs. Most insurance plans will cover most, if not all of the cost for cleanings and exams for each member of your family, often up to twice per year. Dental procedures such as fillings, root canals, crowns and bridges may have a percentage of the service covered. Coverage for a larger part of orthodontic procedures may require a different dental plan.
3. Your favorite dentist
You may already have a dentist you trust. Choosing family dental insurance doesn’t mean you have to part with your current dentist. Rather, find out what plans your dentist accepts and consider whether those plans work for your dental insurance needs.
One of the most common mistakes people make when purchasing family dental insurance is waiting until you need it to buy it. Although it varies by plan, many insurance policies implement a contractual waiting period. An insurance waiting period is the amount of time (often 6, 12 or 24 months) you must wait before benefits are available. This detail may come as a surprise if you purchase dental insurance days before a major procedure only to learn that you must pay the cost of the service out of pocket.
5. Employer-sponsored benefits
Before enrolling in an individual plan, ask your employer if dental coverage is part of their benefits package. Employer-sponsored plans allow you to take advantage of dental benefits often at a much lower cost. However, it’s important to note that employer plans vary, and the coverage you receive as an employee is determined by how much your company is willing to cover.
6. Pediatric dentists
For some families, having access to a pediatric dentist is essential. Because pediatric dentists work solely with infants, children and teens, you can rely on them to be friendly and compassionate while offering expert knowledge when it comes to care for children. Browse our Find a Dentist tool and select “Pediatric Dentist” from the specialty drop-down to find a dentist specializing in oral care for children.