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Guardian Direct Dental Insurance review

Dental care insurance with wide ranging plans

Our Verdict

Guardian Direct is one of the best dental insurance companies when it comes to decent plan options and is found in many of the U.S. states. Pricing is reasonable with lots of cover and a wide number of in-network dentists available.

For

  • Good range of plans
  • Affordable pricing
  • Lots of in-network dentists

Against

  • ACA-subsidized plans are only available in 20 states

Guardian Direct dental insurance: What you need to know

Guardian Direct dental insurance comes from parent company Guardian Life Insurance, which is one of the largest mutual insurers in the country having been founded in New York way back in 1860. An A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau makes this a very secure bet to invest your money into.

The dental coverage is wide with lots of plans that are available near nationwide. There are both individual and family coverage options with useful features like regular exams, x-rays, cleanings and more covered.

Plans are tailored from state to state so Guardian offers a useful tool on its website that allows you to search by area and requirement. Then you can find a dentist near you that's in-network covered so you get care within your plan. There are over 100,000 dentists across the country.

Guardian offers both Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plans. That means you can pay monthly and get a discount, for the former, or go for a copay plan so you're covered totally in the case of the later.

This is your guide to everything you need to know about Guardian Direct dental insurance.

Policies: How much does Guardian Direct dental insurance cost?

  • Prices start at $16 and go to $60 for PPO
  • Three payment plans available
Guardian Direct dental insurance: key facts

Coverage options: PPO and DHMO

Plans available: Three

Snapshot: In-network savings up to 35 percent

Pricing for Guardian Direct dental insurance varies not only by plan and personal details but also by state location. But you can expect the most reasonable end of the pricing scale to start at $16 and the top end to hit $60 for PPO. The three most popular plans do vary by state but an average guide is:

  • Advantage Gold PPO: $33.99 per month for a single person. Good for those wanting maximum coverage.
  • Advantage Silver PPO: $22.46 per month for a single person. Good for those expecting the need for dental work beyond the occasional filling.
  • Advantage Bronze PPO: $16.85 per month for a single person. Good for people only needing cleanings and the occasional filling.

Guardian Direct dental insurance: Snapshot

  • In-network savings of 35 percent
  • Copay options

Guardian Direct offers both PPO and DHMO options. 

In the case of PPO you pick an in-network dentist, or enter your zip code to find one near you, then book your appointment. When it comes to paying you'll have a discount applied of up to 35 percent. Guardian pays a percentage of the charge then you pay the remainder. A big advantage here is that you won't need to submit any claims forms as the dentist does all this on your behalf. There is a $50 deductible and waiting periods in the case of major dental work, like root canals, of 12 months or less. On basics like x-rays, cleaning and exams there is no waiting period.

For the DHMO option you will have an agreed copay amount on top of your monthly premium. When you visit an in-network dentist Guardian pays the difference between the total cost and your copay. There can be a small office fee too but this is usually limited to under $18. Again, there are no claims forms to submit and, in this case, you'll know exactly what you're going to need to pay before you visit the dentist. There are no deductibles or waiting periods to worry about. 

Guardian Direct dental insurance: What is covered?

  • Exams, x-rays and cleaning as standard
  • Root canals, crowns and surgery classed as major

Guardian Direct dental insurance breaks down its areas of coverage into three sections so you know what to look for when seeking your plan. These are preventative, basic and major services which break down like this:

  • Preventative: most routine dental services like oral exams, cleanings and x-rays.
  • Basic: more complex services like fillings and simple extractions.
  • Major: this is for complex dental services like oral surgery, crowns and implants.

Guardian Direct dental insurance: Which is the best plan for me?

  • Bronze, silver or gold options
  • Gold ideal for children orthodontia and major use

The plans offered by Guardian Direct dental insurance are split into three tiers to fit the three levels of care mentioned above. These fall into bronze, silver and gold. 

While you'll pay more for the premium cover, this will have greater amounts reserved for more expensive dental work, so this will work out better in the long run if you're planning to get lots of work done. If you're just looking for day to day care then bronze could be for you. If you're likely to have a few bits of work done, but nothing too major, then go silver.

The three plans have these benefits:

  • Bronze: covers preventative services entirely, 50 percent of basic service with a max six month waiting period but does not cover implants or child orthodontia.
  • Silver: offers the above plus 50 percent with a max 12 month waiting period for major services and implants to the value of $700.
  • Gold: as above plus that 50 percent with a 12 month max waiting period for child orthodontia with a lifetime limit of $1,000 and an implant lifetime max of $1,000.

Guardian Direct dental insurance: What do users say?

  • BBB rating of A+
  • A.M. Best rating of A++

The Better Business Bureau has Guardian Life Insurance, the parent company, as an accredited member and as such rates the company as A+. While this does mean financial stability, as does the A.M. Best rating of A++, customer ratings are not so high in some cases.

The BBB has an average from 32 reviews leaving just over one star. But since this is beyond dental, for the parent insurance company, it's not that accurate. 

ConsumerAdvocate gives an impressive rating of 4.8 out of 5 and that's specifically for the dental arm of the business. However if you read the comments below on that article it's filled with complaints about claim issues and erroneous cancelled cover.

Guardian Direct dental insurance: Verdict

The dental insurance services offered by Guardian Direct are comprehensive with a dual option to go with the monthly paid PPO cover or the copay featuring DHMO package. Both feature a large network of over 100,000 dentists that allow you to enjoy up to 35 percent savings on dental work.

Direct payments through your dentist mean you don't need to worry about paperwork. The website offers a handy search allowing you to find a local in-network dentist to you easily.

User reviews are few but the BBB rating of the parent company is high and ConsumerAdvocate rates the service highly. However actual customer comments are critical with little good to say about the service - but since good service is rarely commented on, this isn't totally damning. With many states covered this is a service worth looking into.