Here are the six best insurance companies that offer dental cover based on ratings from independent financial review firms and customer reviews.
Find out more with our guide to everything you need to know about dental insurance and compare tailored health insurance quotes using Activequote.
Click on the links further down to read reviews of the insurers' full health insurance policies or check out our guide to the best UK health insurers.
Dencover is the only company that offers pure dental insurance, the others offer a range of health insurance products.
The NHS and private dental policies
Although the NHS does offer dental care, it charges for procedures, including check-ups for most people.
Because of this insurers offer two kinds of dental cover: NHS plans or fully private plans. NHS plans usually cover the full cost of treatment but it has to be at an NHS clinic. Private cover pays for a percentage of private treatment, often around 50% to 55%, and the policy holder makes up the rest.
NHS plans tend to cost less than private dental insurance.
Options for getting dental insurance
Dental cover can seem like a complicated product. Both NHS plans and private cover are offered by health insurance companies, which also offer private medical insurance products with separate dental insurance add-ons.
Choosing a health insurance policy with a dental add-on can be expensive, but you will be covered for a full range of health issues. If you already have private medical insurance you can pay for dental to be added on to your existing policy. Axa, WPA, SimplyHealth and BUPA all offer health policies.
Whether you have health insurance or not, you can just pay or save for the full cost of NHS or private treatment as and when you need it, this is called self-insuring. If you only have an annual check-up that might seem like the best option but bigger procedures will be expensive.
There are also inexpensive cash dental plans offered by insurers that may not cover the full cost of treatment but will pay out a set cash sum to cover some or all of your fees.
Some insurers also offer family policies, where children under 18 are covered for free, as well as specialised cover for couples.
It is important to note that with most dental insurance policies, customers cannot claim for the first 2 to 3 months of the policy. Check your policy wording for specific timelines.
Some companies, such as specialist dental provider Dencover, do offer immediate cover for check-ups and scaling.
Private dental insurance can also cover issues such as emergency procedures if you have an accident, dental work abroad and cancer.
What does dental insurance cost?
The cost of dental insurance varies according to the type and level of cover you choose, as well as personal factors such as your age.
However, according to the websites of the companies in our top 6, prices for dental policies start from:
- Axa According to independent financial advice firm Which?, an annual private premium for a 60-year-old starts at £246, which is £20.50 a month
- Boots Level 1 cover starts from £15.46 a month and Level 2 starts from £22.51 a month
- Simplyhealth Cover starts from £8.68 a month and until June 30 you get 2 months free
- Dencover Silver cover - £6.99 per month, Gold - £11.99 per month, Platinum - £16.99, Diamond - £21.99 per month
- WPA Cover starts from £10.59 for customers aged 18-49, and £13.36 for those aged 50 and over
- Bupa No average prices are available on Bupa’s website (though customers can get a personalised quote), but according to Which?, Bupa Dental Cover 20 starts from £337 per year for a 60-year old person. For younger people, this is likely to be cheaper
You can get a quote tailored to your needs on these companies' websites, or you can compare health insurance prices on Activequote.com.
Dental insurance reviews
There aren’t many reviews of specific dental policies, so instead we’ve looked at the reviews for health insurance with these companies, the next best indicator of their overall quality.
And here's what you need to know about the top 6 dental insurers:
Axa is one of the largest private health insurance providers in the UK and has been around for almost 75 years. Axa’s dental insurance includes mouth cancer cover, routine treatment, 50% claim-back for remedial or restorative treatment (up to £1,000 per year), hospital stay of up to £60 per night for up to 30 days, a choice of visiting any NHS or private dentist for accidents and emergencies and up to £2,5000 worldwide accident cover. Customers also get access to a 24/7 helpline.
Read our review of Axa Health Insurance.
Boots has been around since 1849 and is a staple on every high street. Boots offers three levels of cover for dental insurance that include emergency cover (up to £1,500), dental hospital stay (up to £100 a night), cover for routine treatment (up to £1,000), 100% claim-back, treatment for oral cancer and a contribution towards the cost of NHS treatment.
WPA has a 110-year heritage as a not-for-profit, the company has over 80 local offices across the UK. Their dental insurance includes cover for routine treatments and check-ups, cover for pre-existing conditions, emergency cover (including abroad), cover for dental damage as a result of facial injuries and oral cancer treatment. They cover for all UK dentists.
Read our review of WPA Health Insurance.
Simplyhealth used to be called HSA. They are the UK’s biggest cash plan private health insurance provider – the company has been around for more than 140 years and has nearly 3.5 million customers. Their dental plan includes 100% claim-back for check-ups, scale and polish, emergency treatment (worldwide, up to £500 per year) and dental accident (worldwide, up to £5,000 per year) and 50% for routine treatment. They also cover treatment for mouth cancer and dental hospital stays (up to 20 days).
Read our review of Simplyhealth.
Dencover is the only company or our list that is a dental insurance specialist – it is the only product they offer. Dencover launched in 2006 to provide affordable dental cover and their policies are underwritten by Axa PPP Healthcare. Dencover has 4 levels of cover to choose from for private dental cover. Their policies include routine check-ups up to £105 per year, hygienist visits up to £125 per year, routine treatment up to £810 per year, accident cover up to £12,000 per year (worldwide), emergency cover up to £1,100 per year (worldwide), hospital stay up to £50 per night and oral cancer cover up to £12,000.
Bupa is one of the most well-known private healthcare providers in the UK. It operates its own hospitals, care homes and dental practices around the country. Its comprehensive dental policy includes up to £150 per year for routine treatments, up 75% of treatment cost up to £700 per year, up to £600 per year for emergency cover, up to £5,000 for dental injury, oral cancer treatment with no annual limit and 100% claim-back on NHS treatments.
Read our review of Bupa Health Insurance.