Is supplementary dental insurance worthwhile?

If you’re asking yourself whether supplementary dental insurance would be a good idea, we’ve got a few ideas that could help you decide. We’ll tell you what costs you might face and what services you can expect to receive from a quality provider.

Medizinisch geprüft - Siegel
by dentist Dr. Jens Gottschalk

Table of content

supplementary dental insurance

A brief overview of the key points

When it comes to deciding whether supplementary dental insurance is worthwhile for you, your personal wishes and priorities are key. If you’d like to protect your teeth as effectively as possible and have preventive treatments like professional teeth cleaning reimbursed along with high-quality dental prosthetics, your public health insurance provides is unlikely to make the grade. In this case, you should consider taking out a private supplemental dental insurance policy for protection and benefits in line with your expectations.

How supplementary dental insurance can support your dental health

Taking out insurance can feel like wading through a jungle of policies and tariffs. Some types of insurance, such as health insurance and third-party vehicle insurance, are essential. Many experts also recommend taking out private third-party liability insurance. But what about supplementary insurance policies designed to protect your health? Is private supplementary dental insurance actually worthwhile? That’s the key question we’ll clear up in this article.

Private supplementary dental insurance steps in when your public health insurance provider declines to cover the cost of dental treatments, or only covers a very small portion of the costs. In recent years, the public health insurance benefits catalog was severely trimmed down, especially in relation to dental prosthetics. Public health insurance now only covers the costs of medically necessary basic care, such as a metal crown. 

People with public health insurance must pay the costs of higher-quality dental prosthetics – such as ceramic crowns, inlays, and implants – completely out of pocket. And, depending on the condition of your teeth, that can get very expensive indeed. The bill for complex tooth extraction and prosthetics can run up to several thousand euros. 

A good reason for supplementary dental insurance: The cost of dentures.

This is what dentures cost:

Dental crown (e.g. made of ceramic): approx. 500 - 1,000 euros

Inlay (e.g. made of ceramic): approx. 500 - 800 Euro

Bridge (e.g. made of ceramic): approx. 1.200 - 1.800 Euro

Implant with ceramic crown: approx. 2.300 - 3.000 Euro

Extensive restoration of your teeth with implants: approx. 8.000 - 30.000 Euro

The percentage of costs covered by the statutory health insurance depends entirely on the treatment at the dentist and also on how you have kept your bonus booklet. Normally you will be reimbursed 60 percent of the costs if your treatment and cost plan has been approved by the health insurance company. If you have kept your bonus book properly and have been to the dentist every year for prophylaxis, the subsidy from the statutory health insurance can increase.

Fixed allowance of the statutory health insurance:

Normal case: 60 percent

5 years without any gaps in the bonus booklet: 70 percent

10 years without gaps in the bonus booklet: 75 percent

When is supplementary dental insurance particularly worthwhile?

The question, then, is whether supplementary dental insurance is worth the cost. If you’ve already had a root canal procedure or had some fillings put in a few years ago, it’s quite likely that you’ll need some expensive follow-up treatments in the years ahead. With this in mind, it can be worth taking out a supplementary dental insurance policy now, as this will cover a large proportion of the treatment costs. 

However, it’s important that your dentist hasn’t already started or advised a course of treatment, as this makes it unlikely that a private supplementary dental insurance policy would cover the costs. Only a handful of providers allow you to take out supplemental dental insurance retrospectively for ongoing treatment – and such policies are usually very expensive. 

You might well be wondering: Would it be better to take out supplementary dental insurance or just save money myself? Of course, instead of paying the premiums for supplementary dental insurance, you could also put aside a fixed amount every month to cover future dental bills. However, there is always the risk that, sooner or later, you’ll splash your savings on something else, like a new car or a vacation abroad. If you spend what you’ve saved and then suffer dental problems, you won’t have any savings to protect you: your piggybank will be empty and you won’t have a dental insurance policy, either.

How much does supplementary dental insurance cost per month?

The monthly costs for supplementary dental insurance can range from around €10 to €30 depending on which tariff you choose. However, once you take out a supplementary insurance policy, it will cover dental bills in the four-figure or even five-figure range. 

If you want to keep your smile looking its best, you’ll want access to modern, aesthetically pleasing dental prosthetics – and private supplementary dental insurance is probably worthwhile for you. 

Are you planning to take out supplementary dental insurance? It’s important to compare your options. So, which insurance provider offers the best tariffs when it comes to supplementary dental insurance? You can certainly rely on the opinion of German consumer organization Stiftung Warentest – which recently crowned ottonova’s supplementary dental insurance as one of the best ones out there. At ottonova, you have three different tariffs to choose from: Economy Class ottonova Zahn 70, Business Class ottonova Zahn 85, and First Class ottonova Zahn 100. 

Let’s look at an example: 

If you’re 32 years old, our supplementary dental insurance tariffs are as follows: Economy Class €11.50 per month; Business Class €17.33 per month, and First Class €28.20 per month.

Which supplementary dental insurance is recommended?

Of course, when it comes to supplementary dental insurance, it’s not just the monthly premiums that matter, but also the benefits you can access. After all, what’s the point of paying low monthly premiums for a policy if important dental treatments are excluded by the terms and conditions? 

What matters most is that your supplementary dental insurance provides benefits and cover that your public health insurance does not, or only does to a small extent. These include preventive treatments such as professional teeth cleaning, dental treatments such as periodontitis and root canal treatments, high-quality fillings, and modern dental prosthetics. Ultimately, supplementary dental insurance is only worthwhile if the policy includes these key dental treatments and services.

What do I need to consider when taking out supplementary dental insurance?

Many supplementary dental insurance policies include a waiting period. This means that, after taking out the policy, you will have to wait several months before you can access certain benefits. You should therefore read the terms and conditions of your contract carefully and consider whether and how you can bridge the waiting period. At ottonova, we don’t apply a waiting period for preventive treatments such as professional teeth cleaning or for treatment following accidents.

Another mechanism used in supplementary dental insurance contracts and a key factor in your decision is the so-called dental treatment scale. This is an upper limit for reimbursement applicable in the first few years after you take out the insurance. In our First-Class tariff, for example, the limit for the first year is €1,250. The limit then rises by €1,250 each year thereafter. The dental treatment scale is removed entirely after four years. 

I have teeth problems – would supplementary dental insurance be worth it for me?

Already spent a lot of time in your dentist’s office? Or maybe you just didn’t have the financial means to pay for expensive dental treatments in the past? Either way, you’re probably wondering whether supplementary dental insurance is an option for you at all. Ultimately, before you can take out the policy, you will have to undergo a health examination to enable your insurance provider to assess the condition of your teeth. There’s no point trying to cheat your way through – if your insurance provider finds out at a later date that you’ve been economical with the truth, no insurance will cover your dental treatments and you’ll have to pay the entire amount yourself. 

If you are having a treatment ongoing or advised to you by your dentist, you will not be able to take out a dental insurance for that treatment.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of problems with your teeth, there’s a chance that an insurance provider might reject your application, exclude certain benefits, or apply a risk surcharge. Nevertheless, it is fundamentally possible to take out supplementary dental insurance, even with troublesome or missing teeth – though your monthly premiums will be higher than those of policyholders with healthy teeth. In return, however, you’ll be able to access the benefits outlined in your policy, such as dental prosthetics. All the more important, then, that you take out an effective and appropriate supplementary dental insurance policy as soon as possible when your teeth are still healthy

Should young people take out supplementary dental insurance?

For young people with healthy teeth, the question arises whether supplementary dental insurance makes sense for them or whether it is only worthwhile at a later age.

But even if you take care of your teeth and you have not had any dental problems so far, it can of course happen that you suddenly need dentures due to an accident or that a tooth root suddenly becomes infected and you need root canal treatment. Without supplementary dental insurance, the co-payment is then very high, because the health insurance companies do not cover all costs here.

3 reasons why supplementary dental insurance makes sense for young people:

Top-up dental insurance is useful for people with public health insurance. This is because public health insurance does not fully cover all of the costs of dental treatments. These can be very expensive, especially when it comes to dental prostheses. They may place an enormous financial burden on the patient! Patients often underestimate the costs.

Should you require dental work, your supplementary dental insurance will cover a large part of treatment costs. This means: Your public health insurance will pay a small part and your supplementary insurance will pay another part. Depending on your insurance plan and on the treatment, you will either pay a small part yourself, or you will pay nothing at all. It is important to take out insurance at an early stage, and not just when you are about to undergo extensive dental work.

ottonova - because we are a test winner!

If you need costly treatments, which are likely to cost more than €1,000, we recommend that you ask your dentist for a treatment and cost plan. In this plan, the dentist will specify which treatments are planned, and at what cost.

This treatment and cost plan has two parts: one for public health insurance, and one for private health insurance. First, you should submit the relevant part to your public health insurance. Your public health insurance will assess it and will usually approve it. You should then take a picture of that approval and of both parts of the health and cost plan using your smartphone, and upload it to your app.

It is important that ottonova receive the treatment and cost plan in well before the start of the treatment. ottonova will then notify you of the expected reimbursement. Once your treatment has been carried out, you can send us your bills and we will reimburse you. Public health insurance usually bears the costs for the treatment and cost plan. If it does not do that, or if it does so only in part, we will reimburse the rest.

You are eligible for our dental plans if you are currently insured by German public health insurance (GKV). ottonova is right for you also if you care about your dental health and about prevention. Our aim is to actively support you in keeping your teeth healthy by reimbursing teeth cleaning, other prophylactic treatments, diagnostic tests to predict your risk of cavities, and fissure sealants.

Of course, the price and the reimbursement amount play an important role in your decision for or against a certain plan. However, the most important thing is this: top-up dental insurance only makes sense if it is available when you need it. Unfortunately, there are many ways in which insurance companies can attempt to evade their responsibilities. Therefore, when taking out top-up dental insurance, you should pay particular attention to gaps in coverage. Here at ottonova, we prefer open and transparent communication. Therefore, we don't use long, overcomplicated sentences. We will tell you clearly what we do and don't cover. For you, this means quite simply: we keep our promises.

Calculate your optimal plan now!

We have selected two examples of what such loopholes may look like.

Example 1: Orthodontics for children

The plan states that the top-up insurance will pay if:

  • The treatment starts before the age of 18,
  • Public health insurance does not cover it, and
  • The treatment is medically necessary.

However, these conditions never occur together. Because if the treatment is medically necessary for children, public health insurance will always pay at least a part. Therefore, in these cases, top-up insurance never pays out.

Example 2: Root canal treatments, periodontal treatments, and occlusal splints

The plan states: Root canal treatments, periodontal treatments, and occlusal splints are not reimbursed if public health insurance covers them.

In all three cases, the patient may need to pay for useful additional services, such as:

  • Use of electric tools and chemicals to clean and disinfect root canals, or use of a surgical microscope for root canal treatments;
  • Instructions for proper oral hygiene and, in certain cases, tartar removal or professional teeth cleaning in the context of periodontal treatment;
  • High-quality occlusal splints.

Since public health insurance covers a part of the costs in all the above-mentioned cases, top-up insurance funds do not need to cover these additional benefits. However, that is exactly what patients expect from top-up dental insurance.

There are annual limitations, to a maximum of four insurance years for ‘Zahnersatz’/dental replacements (implants, onlays, inlays etc.). Here we are limiting the maximum reimbursement amount, to a certain total, but it is increasing every insurance year. Of course, should you have an accident and require immediate dental treatment/replacement, this limit does not apply. Limitations do also not apply for professional cleanings and regular dental treatments.

ottonova sales experts
HIER SCHREIBT ottonova sales experts

Our ottonova team of experts has over 40 years of experience in private health insurance and answers questions about it every day. What are old-age provisions and for whom does private health insurance make sense? What is the actuarial interest rate and which tariff is right for you? They know!

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