New VHI Dental Insurance Package

Brendan Burgess

A good article by Bill Tyson in today's Indo explaining why this product should be avoided

How much cover do you really need?

INSURANCE is like dental care: you can spare yourself a lot of pain and expense through prevention.

You can easily avoid draining your bank account with multiple premium payments every month, not to mention the painful tedium of wading through small print and filling out forms.

How? It's quite simple; avoid buying insurance althogether unless it is absolutely necessary.

Almost always, small-ticket insurance for things such as mobile phones, electrical goods, pets or your teeth, are bad value as so much of your money is gobbled up in administration, marketing and profit for the providers (in the latest case, there are two.)

Think about it: insurers are hardly likely to pay out more than they make in premiums. If they did, they would go bust.

The chances are that, on average, customers receive far less than they put in.

Far from going bust, insurers generally make large profits, pay hefty salaries and engage in expensive promotion.

Only a portion of premiums, and in many cases a small one, is returned in payouts. But apart from the cost of insuring for every conceivable eventuality - as insurers pressurise us to do - there is also the hassle.

To buy the dozens of policies available would tie us up in red tape and small print for a lot of our lives.

And you can't just buy insurance - you have to check it out. That means wading through small print. If you want to make an informed choice, you have to do it again, repeatedly, to check out the competition. Do we really need this hassle?

Wouldn't it be better to take your chances and meet relatively minor costs as they arise, to insure yourself? If you put the money you would have spent on premiums aside, you would soon end up with a tidy sum to cover most eventualities.

And an article on the specific cover itself:

Open wide - with your wallet not your mouth for VHI's new dental insurance deal

FOR years, insurers have been trying to flog policies to cover our cars, homes, lives and health.

Then they tried to persuade us that we can't do without insurance for our mobile phones, dishwashers, credit cards, walkmans, computers, holidays, our pooches and pussycats (through pet cover) - and even our tombstones etc, etc.

You can even buy insurance to cover your insurance - i.e. it kicks in if you can't afford to pay for all of your other policies.

(Admittedly, that could be essential if you are the sort of nervous ninny who signs up for all of the aforementioned policies as you will soon be broke from paying the premiums.)

So I suppose it was only a matter of time before we had a package for insuring our teeth.

The VHI duly obliged this week with the launch of the first dental insurance package yet offered on the Irish market.

The VHI appears to be pretty industrious these days, as this comes in the wake of its launch of a more competitive holiday insurance package.

In reality, both ventures see the VHI merely acting as a conduit for other insurers.

In this case, the VHI's "partner" is DeCare International, which it describes as a "global leader in oral healthcare".

DeCare provide the expertise and the VHI provides what a spokeswoman describes as the "branding, marketing and the customer relationships."

(Watch out whenever you hear the word branding; it usually means you are about to pay through the nose without getting corresponding value.)

Add to this the fact that there is no competition in this area here, and it's hardly surprising that the new package - called VHI DeCare Dental - doesn't come cheaply.

Annual premiums range from €144.17 a year (for under-17s taking out the cheapest plan) up to €548.34 for those aged seventy-plus.

Those in middle age (40-49) taking out the mid-range plan would expect to pay €343.71 (see tables opposite).

That's more than you would pay for the VHI's most basic healthcare plan (A), which costs €326 after tax relief.

So what do you get for your money?

Despite the razzamataz - which included the usual photocall, handing out of toothbrushes on the Dart yesterday, and a major advertising campaign due in September - the answer is: not a great deal, especially if you have PRSI cover already.

VHI, somewhat disingenuously, trumpets the benefits of the plan in encouraging preventative care.

It says the plan "takes the pain out of paying for prevention by covering exams and cleanings at 100pc on all plans."

The paper version has a bit more in it

Bill Tyson
Personal Finance Editor

Max Hopper

These folks are the underwriters<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END--><!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->But when a bog-standard semi-annual prophylaxis costs ca. €75, why is the premium an issue? Unless you are ignoring your oral health?!?

Max Hopper

And for the rest of us working mugs? It is still ca. €75.


Just as an aside...

Definitely agree with BT when he says that you should watch out whenever you hear the word "branding": "it usually means you are about to pay through the nose without getting corresponding value." :rolleyes

Max Hopper

The pricing and benefits appear uncompetitive -ZilverenKruis<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END--><!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->
TandartsPolis en TandartsExtraPolis
<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->Wij vergoeden 75% van de kosten van tandheelkundige behandelingen:<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->
* tot maximaal €230,-- per persoon per kalenderjaar als u de TandartsPolis heeft;
* tot maximaal €690,-- per persoon per kalenderjaar als u de TandartsExtraPolis heeft.<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->
Voorwaarde voor vergoeding<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->
De behandeling moet worden uitgevoerd door een tandarts. De preventie/mondhygiëne en de parodontologische behandelingen mogen ook worden uitgevoerd door een vrijgevestigde mondhygiënist(e).<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END--><!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->TandartsPolis (€88.80/year with no age restriction)<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->
Als u een goede tandartsverzekering wilt die niet te veel kost, denk dan eens na over de TandartsPolis. Deze basisverzekering vergoedt 75% van de meeste onvoorziene tandartskosten per verzekerde per jaar, tot een maximum van €230,-. Hieronder vallen veel voorkomende behandelingen zoals het vullen van gaatjes, het trekken van tanden of kiezen en de plaatsing van kronen en bruggen.<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END--><!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->TandartsExtraPolis (€167.40/year with no age restriction)<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->
Vindt u een vergoeding van €230,- wat aan de krappe kant? Kijk dan eens naar de TandartsExtraPolis. Deze vergoedt dezelfde behandelingen als de TandartsPolis, maar het verzekerde bedrag is hoger. U krijgt jaarlijks 75% van de kosten vergoed tot een maximum van €685,-.<!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END--><!--EZCODE BR START--><!--EZCODE BR END-->Perhaps the underwriter has determined that the poor state of oral health in Ireland represents a greater risk?