Read this before booking dental insurance in Germany

Depending on your country of origin, dental care may be a costly & painful topic to address. Access to good dental insurance in Germany is relatively cheap & simple but more extensive treatments may require extra coverage.

Find out here whether you should consider additional dental insurance in Germany, learn about providers, policy limitations and other tips.

What does statutory insurance cover?

If you are with a public Krankenkasse, all regular appointments will be covered by default. This includes normal things like periodical checkups, descaling/cleansing, hygiene work, wisdom teeth removal and simple standard fillings.

However, any major dental work, such as bridges, dentures and crown, is only partially covered to 60% of costs.  With time, this can increase to 65% (after 5 years) or even 70% (after 10 years), if you go regularly and make sure you do all prevention work with your dentist. This is part of an effort from German healthcare to promote prevention instead of treatment, as it is cheaper in the longer run for the system.

What does private insurance cover?

It’s about the same song as with public Krankenkassen. For the standard stuff, private providers have you sorted as well, with the bonus that you might get appointements faster and have better access to some specialists. For more serious things, private Krankenkassen will cover more than public ones, with reimbursements up to 85% depending your policy and your risk profile.

Who needs complimentary dental insurance in Germany?

To be frank, probably not everybody needs it, especially if they follow a reasonable hygiene habit (good diet, no smoking, not too much drinking, brushing etc). For most people, it’s a lot more vital to sign up for a good liability insurance, which covers a lot more risks for a lot less money.

However you should probably consider a good dental insurance in Germany if:

  • You have a pre-existing conditions, a long history of past periodontology treatments, or if you have had crowns/dentures setup back home and planning on adjusting and continuing the treatment in Germany.
  • You plan or expect implants, tooth replacements in the next few years. Those things quickly amount to thousands of euros or more, when multiple family members accumulate issues.
  • You are not satisfied with the standard reimbursement rates (or lack thereof) on premium materials: composite fillings for inlays, onlays and overlays, higher quality alloys made of rare metals, for example gold or titanium for tooth replacements, full bridges made of resin or ceramic.
  • You current lifestyle might lead to serious dental issues in a couple of years.

Things and tips to know before booking a dental insurance policy

Cost estimates

Before any dental work is carried out, you will get a detailed cost estimated from your dentist. This is known as a “Heil- und Kostenplan” in Germany. This quote is then transmitted to your Krankenkasse (public or private) before being approved. Only then will the dentist will proceed. Average prices, depending on materials:

  • Root canal treatment: 700 €
  • Bridges: 700 to 1600 €
  • Composite fillings: 200 €
  • Ceramic crowns: 600 €
  • Implants with ceramic crown = 2000 to 4000 €

Those figures are purely indicative and may change depending on location and expert.

Waiting period and restrictions may apply on signup

There is waiting period with some suppliers of a few months before reimbursements are carried out, to avoid opportunistic signups. On top of that, some providers also cap their coverage to a fixed amount the first year or more, between 500€ and 5000€.

You should also know that any condition already detected or any treatment already recommended by your dentist prior to the signup date will not be covered in the policy, unless stated otherwise by the provider.

Don’t go for the wrong contracts

Make sure that you don’t sign up for a so called “Risikovertrag”, which only covers damages in case of accidents. Those policies don’t cover normal treatments and surgery.

If you don’t earn so much, you can get 100% coverage with your Krankenkasse

In case you earn less than 1 246€ gross per month, you then fall under the so-called “Härtefallregelung”. This means that your Krankenkasse will pay for 100% of the treatment you need. In case there there is another family member in the household, this number goes up to 1 713€, and by another 311€ for every additional member.

If you don’t exactly earn that little but rather close, your Krankenkasse may still decide to cover more. You will need to get in touch with them to be sure. In any case, a formal application needs to be sent to take advantage of this scheme.

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

How much does dental insurance in Germany cost?

You can find a broad range of policies costing anywhere between 5€ to 50€ per month. The rate is generally impacted by current dental health and sometimes by your age too, depending on your provider.

Finanztip has assessed the market and quoted that a 45-year-old could expect a price between 20€ and 30€ with good providers.

Which dental insurance providers speak to expats in Germany specifically?

Over the years, newcomers on the market have started to cater to expats, providing a fully English speaking experience for dental insurance in Germany. From sign-up to claims and customer supporter, the whole customer experience is tailored for expats in Germany.

Ottonova: a digital player that started a private Krankenkasse and branched out to different policies. You don’t need to be a member to signup for their dental insurance. Their dental insurance was rated “very good” by the very German official testing organisational TÜV.

Getsafe: the well-known company among expats also offer dental insurance. Your can book different modules depending on your profile. Some people will appreciate that flexibility. Their dental replacement and dental treatment plans are worth a look. The dental care doesn’t provide much added value.

What does the process of signing up look like?

As with any other private insurance, you will need to fill in a questionnaire about your current situation. It’s usually a bit long but not very complex. You will need to be truthful because in case you hide things like pre-existing conditions, it might be cause to invalidate your policy and not be covered anymore. Simply put, that would be breach of contract, thus forfeiting your right to be covered, and to be refunded.

Note that if you current situation is very dire (eg: many missing teeth or many implants), it might sometimes lead to the provider not taking on a contract with you.

What does the reimbursement process look like?

Dental insurance in Germany works the same as any other insurance policy, you first need to pay from your own pocket and send the invoice to your policy provider. As this is Germany, some providers may not accept receipts digitally. Processing times my also vary. Both those things may impact your selection criteria in the end.

In any case, you will need to send the bill together with the Heil- und Kostenplan, as well as the confirmation from your Krankenkasse to get your money back.

State of dental care in Germany

If you needed further reassurance that Germany offer high standards in dental care, then be reassured. A combination of great training, large availability of high tech equipements, broad specturm of specialists makes Germany a great country to take care of your teeth.

It also doesn’t experience a shortage of trained professionals like it might be the case in some other European countries, even outside of cities.

There might 2 causes for concerns:

  1. Waiting times: as with any related to health care in Germany: it’s high quality but you do have to wait for it a lot. It’s fine for regular checkups, for more serious treatments, you may experience serious delay. That is of course mostly applicable to public Krankenkasse members. Privately insured patients can enjoy the fast lane.
  2. Language barriers: if most dentists will probably speak some English, it might be hard for them to get into technical jargon as well. That might be jarring when considering a sensitive and completely surgery.

Final note: this article does not replace professional advice and should taken as general guidance on dental insurance in Germany. Hopefully, that cleared things out a bit. Feel free to ask questions in the comment.

Sources: 1, 2, 3.

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