The pros and cons of WPA dental insurance for NHS & private care

WPA Dental Insurance: Is It Right for You?

There are many things to consider when selecting dental health cover for you and your family. WPA dental insurance has plans which cover both NHS and private treatment. Keep reading to find out more about these policies so you can decide whether WPA is the best dental insurance provider for your needs.

About WPA

dental insurance WPA

There are two levels of cover available from WPA

WPA (Western Provident Association Limited) has been in business in the UK for over 115 years. The company offers dental insurance as well as broader health insurance which includes dental cover.

WPA is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority. You can verify this – and the registration of any other insurers you are considering – on the FCA’s website.

The company places an emphasis on putting customers first and has gained recognition from the World Health Organisation for its work to reduce costs for members. WPA has also invested heavily in cutting-edge insurance technology which helps with a faster claims process. It has four ISO accreditations which are renewed annually.

WPA dental insurance plans

There are two levels of dental cover available from WPA. The first provides help with NHS treatment costs only while the second lets you visit a private or NHS dentist. You are free to visit any registered dentist in the UK for your dental care.

Both policies include worldwide cover for dental emergencies for trips up to 35 days.

There is one feature which may make this cover a particularly good choice for people who know their teeth need attention quite soon. Most dental insurers won’t cover you for:

  • Treatment you knew you needed before the policy started
  • Treatment already identified as necessary at your last checkup (if you had one recently)
  • If you haven’t seen a dentist recently, treatment identified as necessary at your first checkup once your policy is active

However with WPA, all general dental treatment – regardless of when it was identified as necessary – will be reimbursed according to policy limits. That’s as long as you still adhere to the qualification periods (which you can see in the table below).

So basically, if you know you need treatment but can wait a while (30 days for a filling and 90 days for restorative work), WPA will cover you whereas many other insurers won’t.

Level 1

dental accident treatment

Be prepared for a dental accident or emergency

Level 1 cover allows you to see any NHS dentist for general dental treatment. In an emergency you may also see a private dentist for the immediate care needed.

There are no upper limits for the amount paid out for NHS treatment and 100% of your costs are reimbursed, making this possibly the most generous NHS dental policy on the market.

Annual premiums start from £132.60, which is higher than many other policies. However, it wouldn’t take much for you to break even seeing as NHS charges are:

  • £20.60 for a checkup, scale & polish and preventative care
  • £56.30 for fillings, root canals and extractions
  • £244.30 for crowns, bridges and dentures

Level 2

With Level 2 cover you may visit a private dentist or you may elect to get NHS treatment. 75% of the cost of treatment is reimbursed up to £250 per year, so if you plan to visit an NHS dentist you might be better off with Level 1 cover where you can claim 100% of your NHS costs.

If you prefer to see a private dentist, this cover helps ease the burden of high dental treatment prices. The £250 annual limit is relatively low compared to other insurers like Boots and Dencover, though.

Price comparison

The table below shows the different levels of WPA dental insurance cover. Percentages stated are the percentage of overall costs that you may claim, up to the given annual limits.

Level 1 (NHS)Level 2 (NHS or private)Qualifying period
Cover from £2.55 per week (£132.60 per year) £3.63 per week (£188.76 per year)
Checkups and general dental treatment 100% of costs 75% up to £250 30 days for checkups, scale & polish and fillings; 90 days for restorative treatment
Dental emergencies (including worldwide) 75% up to £250 per episode (max 2 episodes per year) 75% up to £250 per episode (max 4 episodes per year) 14 days
Dental injury £10,000 £20,000 14 days
Restorative treatment from oral cancer £10,000 £10,000 90 days
Hospital cash benefit (for injuries and oral cancer only) £200 per day/night, max £2,000 £200 per day/night, max £2,000 As above depending on reason for hospitalisation
All information correct as of September 2017
The prices shown are starting prices and are subject to a quote from the insurer. Patients aged 50 years or over will probably be quoted higher premiums.

Considerations

WPA dental insurance doesn’t cover any pre-existing conditions such as long-standing injuries or oral cancer. Claims for dental injuries and oral cancer are subject to specific limits for each type of treatment. For example, there is an allowance of £55 for a single tooth extraction and £350 for a ceramic crown. For full details you’ll need to read the policy guide.

cosmetic dentistry

Just want a nicer smile? You’ll have to pay for that yourself.

There is no provision for costs associated with cosmetic or elective treatment, including veneers, teeth whitening and dental implants. Any treatment that is not deemed clinically necessary will be at your own cost. This is a normal exclusion when it comes to dental insurance.

However, if you need dental implants as a direct result of oral cancer, the policy will pay out for two implants per year as part of the oral cancer cover.

You can compare WPA dental insurance with other UK dental cover providers here. It can be hard to compare like-for-like since there are so many variables with each policy. Read the small print carefully before you buy so you understand exactly what you are and are not covered for.