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Dental insurance explained

As well as making trips to the dentist using the NHS pay-as-you-go system, or privately, you can also opt for dental insurance as a way of funding. But what is dental insurance and how does it work?

In this article
Dental insurance - how it works  Dental insurance: what treatment is covered?
Dental insurance policies compared

Dental insurance - how it works 

With most dental insurance policies you pay your dentist for any treatment received and then claim the money back from the insurer.

Most policies require you to be signed up for around three to six months before they will pay out for treatment. Some only cover you for NHS dentists but others cover some private treatment, too.

Find out more: Dental insurance - pros and cons

Dental insurance: what treatment is covered?

Dental insurance policies cover maintenance such as check-ups, scale and polish, and X-rays as well as treatments such as fillings, root canals and crowns at NHS practices, private clinics, or sometimes both. Cosmetic dental work, such as teeth whitening, is generally excluded.

Most NHS-only dental insurance policies will pay out an unlimited amount towards treatment on the NHS over a policy year. All of the private policies we looked at set maximum benefit levels for check-ups, scale and polish/hygienist visits and treatment as well a cap on the percentage that they would pay towards it. 

Dental insurance policies compared

The level of cover depends on whether the dental treatment you receive is from an NHS or private clinic as well as providers' fee schedules. The table shows the starting annual premium for dental insurance policies covering maintenance and treatment for a 60-year-old. 

Provider Policy
name

 

Annual
premium

For a 60 year old

 

Maximum
claim for
check-ups

Includes scale and polish

 

When can I
make a
check-up claim?

How long you have to hold the policy before you make a claim

Maximum
claim for
routine
treatment?

 

When can I
make a routine
treatment claim?

How long you have to hold the policy before you make a claim

Maximum claim
for emergency
treatment?
Axa PPP

 

More info

You can claim back 100% of costs, up to the claim limit. Emergency treatment covers up to 4 incidents per year. Available after 1 month from start of policy. You get up to £12,000 towards one course of oral cancer treatment charges, up to 18 months following diagnosis. Available after 1 month from start of policy. You get a hospital cash benefit of up to £60 per night for up to 30 nights.

Core
cover
£125.88 No limit 1 month No limit 1 month £2,500
Boots

 

More info

You can claim back 100% of costs, up to the claim limit. You get a hospital cash benefit of up to £60 per night for NHS treatment to a maximum of £5,000.

Core
plan
£137.19 £500 3 months £500 3 months £500
Bupa

 

More info

You can claim back 100% of costs, up to the claim limit. Payouts are based on NHS dental cost bandings in England and Wales. Prices may be different in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Emergency treatment is available 14  days after the start of the policy. There's no annual limit for oral cancer treatment, available six months after the start of the policy. 

Dental
Cover 10
£202.92 Local NHS
limits
  Local NHS
limits
4 months No limit
Dencover

 

More info

You can claim back 100% of costs, up to the claim limit. Emergency treatment is available after 15 days from the start of the policy. There is a £2,500 one-off single payment for oral cancer treatment for the lifetime of the policy, available after two months from the start of the policy. 

NHS £84 £20.60   £112.60 2 months £425
WPA

 

More info

You can claim back 100% of costs for check-up and routine treatments, 75% of emergency treatment, up to the claim limit.

Level 1 £167.28 No limit 30 days No limit 30 days £500

 

All information correct to April 2018.

 

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