Compare dental insurance plans

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What to look for when making dental budget comparisons.

Taking the time to compare dental insurance plans can help save you money and make sure that you get the dental insurance coverage that is best for you and your family. There are a lot of things to consider when you’re choosing a dental insurance plan so comparing plans is a smart way to get the most effective coverage for your money. If your employer has a Health Savings Account (HSA) program you can use HSA funds to pay for eligible out-of-pocket costs tax-free³.

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It’s common for people to put off getting dental insurance because of many reasons such as the cost, so dental budget comparisons are necessary for most people who are looking to either buy primary dental insurance or add a supplemental dental insurance to their existing dental insurance. Dental insurance plans aren’t as expensive as medical insurance, so many people may be able to afford to get a good dental insurance plan without breaking their household budget. However, it’s still important to look closely at the plan details before you choose a plan. There are many factors to take into consideration, like some of the following.

  • Premium cost

The premium is the amount of money that you pay monthly for your plan. When you are considering your dental budget what you’re really considering is the cost of the monthly premium. Dental insurance plans with low premiums usually don’t cover a lot of dental care. But if you want to save money and you just want to have basic dental care and some emergency coverage you can find a dental insurance plan that will give you limited coverage and an affordable premium cost.

  • Deductibles

A deductible is the amount of money that you have to spend out of pocket before the insurance will start to pay for covered care. If you choose a plan with a higher deductible, that may help lower the cost of your monthly premium. But if you’re on a tight budget and you want to be sure that you can cover the cost of any dental expenses that come up you might choose a dental insurance plan with a low deductible.

  • Network size

Often people don’t consider the size of the insurance provider’s network when they compare dental insurance plans, but choosing a provider that has a large pool of in network providers is worth paying a little more for. If you have a plan with an insurer that has a large network, you will be able to get dental care at a in network provider almost anywhere you go. That will help save you money and ensure that you get to see a dentist that you feel comfortable with.

  • Coverage

No dental plan will cover 100% of all dental care. So when you’re choosing a dental insurance plan it’s important to look closely at the policy coverages to see how much care is covered and at what percent. Often dental insurance plans will cover basic care like cleanings, but you may need to pay 20% of the cost of a filling or other minor dental care. The coverage for more extensive dental care like crowns or root canals could top out at 50%. When you compare plans you will probably find that most insurance providers use the 100/80/50 ratio¹. This means that preventative care is covered at 100%, basic dental care is covered up to 80%, and major dental care is covered up to 50%. Cosmetic procedures are typically not covered by most dental insurance plans.

A dental insurance plans comparison will help you narrow down the best options to meet your individual budget and needs, but ultimately the final decision will depend on what your priorities are. You will need to prioritize what is the most important factor for your lifestyle. If you’re on a tight budget finding a plan with a low premium might be your priority. If you are buying dental insurance for you and your family then finding a plan that offers some kind of orthodontic care and that has good emergency coverage might be your priority. Take an honest assessment of what factors matter the most for your lifestyle so that you will choose a plan based on your own needs and your family’s needs.

Dental insurance plans comparison

Where you live typically has an impact on what dental insurance options are available to you. Some services may be covered in some states but not in others or the size of the insurance provider’s network may differ from one state to another.

For example, Guardian Direct® insurance plans typically don’t cover cosmetic procedures but in New Jersey cosmetic services for dependent children to treat medically diagnosed congenital defects and birth abnormalities are eligible. Typically, there is a 12 month waiting period for Orthodontic care on top tier insurance plans but in Vermont there is only a six month waiting period for those services.

When you compare the dental insurance coverage options in your area make sure that you take into account the network size of the provider and whether or not you are allowed to see specialists as part of the coverage.

How to compare dental plans

Comparing plan coverages based on your location is one way to make sure that you are comparing the plans equally based on their benefits, but it’s not the only way. Another helpful way to compare plans to help you choosing the plan that is best suited for your needs, is to look at the coverage maximums. Maximums are the total amount of services that will be covered by the insurance company. There can be a per year maximum or a lifetime maximum, or both. If an insurance plan covers major dental work like implants or Orthodontics there could be a lifetime maximum for these services, which means that after the insurance company has paid that amount you will have to pay for any additional implant or orthodontic services out of pocket². When you look at the maximums it might seem like they are very low, but keep in mind that typically in most cases the costs of dental care can be lower than medical procedures.

With Guardian Direct the annual maximum for two of our plans are $500 in the 1st year, $750 in the 2nd year and $1000 in the 3rd year. Guardian Direct®’s top tier insurance plan annual maximums are $1000, $1250 and $1500 in years 1 thru 3.*

Compare dental insurance prices

When you are trying to compare dental plans don’t look at just the cost of the premium or the percentage of the service cost that the insurance company will cover. Even the deductible isn’t the clearest indicator of the value of a dental insurance policy. A more effective way to compare the true cost that you will pay is to compare the total out of pocket expenses that you will be left with based on each plan that you’re considering. If you want to make sure that you’re getting the best care for the best price then looking at the out of pocket costs might be the best comparison tool to use to choose the best plan for your needs.

Dental insurance comparison guide & Insights

Having good dental insurance will help alleviate some of the worry that people have about getting dental care. If you haven’t had any dental care in a long time because of the cost don’t wait any longer to find out how you can choose a dental insurance plan that fits your needs and your budget. Guardian Direct® knows that choosing the right dental insurance is a big decision. We want to help you compare dental plans, learn about dental insurance, and find the right dental insurance plan to make sure that you and your family are protected. That’s why we have created an entire library of articles designed with you in mind. In our library you can browse through a dental insurance guide or find out how you can help save money on dental insurance without sacrificing coverage. You can learn about the different types of dental insurance plans that you can buy like comprehensive dental insurance, or find out more about supplemental dental insurance and whether or not you have enough dental insurance, or find out more about the link between good dental care and good overall health.

*Costs vary by state and available plan type selected. Certain plans not available in all states.


  1., (2020), accessed July 2021.

  2., (2021), accessed July 2021.

  3., (2021), accessed Aug 2021