Is There a Waiting Period for Dental Insurance Benefits?

In short, yes.

A dental insurance waiting period is the length of time after purchasing your dental benefits plan that you must wait before you can use your full coverage.

During this period, the dental insurance carrier may not pay for certain procedures. A dental benefits waiting period may last anywhere from a few months to a full year, depending on the type of plan you have purchased, lapse in dental coverage, or pre-existing dental conditions.

The details of what is covered in the plan immediately versus what coverages are subject to a waiting period will be clearly outlined in your plan, and each plan is slightly different.

Things to Know:

  • The waiting period does not always apply to all benefits; they are usually specific to certain procedures and not routine care.
  • The dental insurance waiting periods vary depending on the company.
  • Often, employer-based dental benefits plans do not have waiting periods.
  • If you had previous dental insurance, you can present the information to your new dental benefits insurance plan provider, and they may be willing to waive the waiting period in cases where there has been no break in coverage.
  • If you are purchasing new dental insurance benefits because you no longer work for the employer who used to provide it for you, you may consider contacting the same benefits plan insurance company and request an individual plan; this may waive the waiting period requirement.

Why Is There a Waiting Period?

The dental insurance company chooses to use a waiting period, so customers are not just buying dental insurance only when they have piled up a lot of dental procedures that they want to get covered and then later just drop the dental insurance after the dental insurance policy has expired. This allows them to offer lower premiums in general, and encourages consistent dental care with clients, to prevent unnecessary payout claims.