Individual Dental Insurance - 4 Tips to Make Your Search Easier

The search for individual dental insurance can be overwhelming, to say the least. A quick internet search will turn up millions of results, and basically all of them offer the same thing - a big, bold sales pitch.

So, how do you separate the good offers from the bad ones, without losing your mind?

1. Understand what a "yearly maximum" is, and see if you can afford it

No one likes to think of the worst-case scenario, but that's exactly the mindset you need to be in when you're shopping for individual dental insurance. Each policy will come with a "yearly maximum" - meaning the most you would ever have to pay out-of-pocket in a calendar year. Your yearly maximum will include deductibles, copays, and any coinsurance you might be responsible for.

If the yearly maximum on your potential dental health insurance plan is higher that you could ever afford, then you'll need to look for a policy that offers a smaller maximum. Be advised, though, on most policies, you'll have to pay more in premiums to get a lower yearly maximum.

2. Look for a dental health insurance plan that offers free preventative care

The best dental insurance plan is the one that enables you to have as healthy a smile as possible, without spending an arm and a leg to do it. The good policies will offer preventative care at no charge to you - meaning you don't have to pay a copay or any coinsurance when you go to the dentist.

So, what counts as "preventative care"?

That will depend on the specific wording in your dental health insurance plan. Typically, it includes things like routine cleanings, x-rays, and check-ups. That way, you can feel free to go to the dentist once or twice a year, without worrying about spending any money.

3. Learn the difference between medical and cosmetic procedures

Even the very best individual dental health insurance plan likely won't cover cosmetic procedures - or, things that are medically necessary. Tooth whitening is a common cosmetic procedure that most dental plans don't pay for. So, if you're shopping for an individual dental plan and thinking that it's going to cover bleaching, veneers, or some other kind of cosmetic upgrade, think again.

4. Make sure your potential plan covers all of the "extras" you need

The best dental insurance is the kind that covers everything you need. The last thing you want is to find out that your policy doesn't cover something important, because you didn't read the fine print!

If, for example, you think you may need braces sometime down the road, make sure that any potential individual dental plans you look at offer orthodontic coverage. Otherwise, you're going to pay for your braces yourself!