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Guardian Direct Dental Insurance Review

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Dental work can be expensive, but having the right dental plan can save you some out-of-pocket expenses. With four affordable dental insurance plans and more than 120,000 in-network dentists, orthodontists and endodontists, Guardian Direct may be worthwhile. Read on to learn more about Guardian Direct dental insurance, including its coverage, limitations and availability.

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All four of Guardian Direct’s dental insurance plans cover basic services, such as fillings and minor extractions. However, how much coverage you receive for these services depends on the plan you purchase. For example, the Starter plan covers 50% of basic care, also known as restorative care, after a six-month waiting period, whereas the Diamond plan covers 80% of basic care with no waiting period.

Guardian Direct dental insurance pros and cons

  • Wide variety of dental plan types
  • Good financial stability
  • No waiting period for preventative care and basic dental services
  • Limited availability
  • Mobile app is subpar
  • Major services have a long waiting period

Pros explained

Wide variety of dental plan types

Guardian Direct offers four dental plans, with premiums starting at $15 per month for the Starter plan. All four plans cover preventative and basic care at different percentages depending on the plan’s terms and conditions. Higher-tiered plans cover additional services, including crowns, surgery, implants and teeth whitening.

Good financial stability

Guardian Direct dental insurance is just one of many insurance plans that Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian Life) offers. Established in 1860, Guardian Life is one of the largest mutual insurance companies in the U.S. Its 2022 annual report highlights a few outstanding financials, including $90.1 billion in assets under management, $7 billion in benefits paid to policyholders and $1.3 billion in policyholder dividends.

Dental insurance companies impose different waiting periods depending on the type of service and a customer’s plan level. All four Guardian Direct dental insurance plans include preventive care, such as cleanings and X-rays, with no waiting period. The top three plan levels also cover 50%, 70% or 80% of basic care with no waiting period.

Cons explained

Limited availability

According to its terms and conditions, Guardian Direct reports that certain products and services may not be available in some U.S. states. For example, the “no waiting period” for basic care doesn’t apply to customers in all states. To know if you reside in an eligible state for specific coverage and services, you’ll have to enter your name, age range, email address and ZIP code in the “Find your plan” section of Guardian Direct’s website.

Mobile app is subpar

Guardian Life’s Providers & ID Card app can help you find and contact in-network dentists in your area. However, the app doesn’t let you apply for an insurance plan, check your coverage, file a claim on your policy or contact the company directly. You can only complete these tasks on the Guardian dental website.

The top three tiered plans include coverage for major dental work — crowns, oral surgery, dentures and more. However, you must wait 12 months from your plan’s effective date before the company pays 50% of the cost. The Starter plan also has a six-month waiting period on basic care services.

Guardian Direct dental insurance company plans/offerings

Guardian Direct’s dental insurance plans include different levels and types of care that vary in the percentage that is covered and their waiting period.

Guardian Direct Starter

Guardian Direct Starter, the company’s least expensive plan, starts at $15 per month and includes the following:

  • 100% coverage for preventative care with no waiting period
  • 50% coverage for basic care after a six-month waiting period

Year one of the Starter plan has a maximum payout limit of $500. Year two raises this limit to $750 and year three and beyond increases it to $1,000.

Guardian Direct Core

Starting at $19 per month, the Guardian Direct Core plan includes the following:

  • 80% coverage for preventative care with no waiting period
  • 50% coverage for basic care with no waiting period
  • 50% coverage for major care after a 12-month waiting period
  • 50% coverage for implants and dentures after a 12-month waiting period

The first year of the Core plan has a maximum payout of $500. Year two raises that limit to $750 and year three and beyond increases to $1,000. Dental implants have a lifetime maximum limit of $700.

Guardian Direct Achiever

Guardian Direct Achiever starts at $29 per month and offers the following benefits:

  • 100% coverage for preventative care with no waiting period
  • 70% coverage for basic care with no waiting period
  • 50% coverage for major care after a 12-month waiting period
  • 50% coverage for implants and dentures after a 12-month waiting period
  • 50% coverage for orthodontia after a 12-month waiting period — only for members under the age of 19

The Achiever plan has a year-one maximum limit starting at $1,000 which increases to $1,250 for year two and then to $1,500 for year three and beyond. There’s a lifetime max of $1,000 for dental implants and a yearly max of $500/lifetime max of $1,000 for orthodontia.

Guardian Direct Diamond

Guardian Direct Diamond is the company’s top-tier plan. In exchange for the company’s highest premium, $37 per month, you get the following:

  • 100% coverage for preventative care with no waiting period
  • 80% coverage for basic care with no waiting period
  • 50% coverage for major care after a 12-month waiting period
  • 50% coverage for implants and dentures after a 12-month waiting period
  • 50% coverage for orthodontia after a 12-month waiting period. This coverage is only applicable for members younger than 19 years of age.
  • 50% coverage for teeth whitening after a six-month waiting period

The Diamond plan has an annual maximum payout limit of $1,500 in the first year. However, exceptions include a lifetime max of $1,000 for dental implants, yearly max of $500/lifetime max of $1,000 for orthodontia and teeth whitening has an annual limit of $500.

Guardian Direct dental insurance pricing

Take a closer look at Guardian Direct’s pricing below:

Plan Starting Monthly Premiums
Diamond $37
Achiever $29
Core $19
Starter $15

You may end up paying a higher premium for dental insurance depending on your age, location, dental history and other factors. For example, for a 19-to-49 year old with no dependents in Kissimmee, Florida, we received quotes of $24.09 per month, $34.47 per month and $43.29 per month for the company’s Core, Achiever and Diamond plans, respectively. Meanwhile, for a 50+ year old, we received quotes of $29.61 per month, $42.37 per month and $53.22 per month for the same plans.

Guardian Direct dental insurance financial stability

Guardian Life, the parent company of Guardian Direct, reports billions in assets, benefits paid and dividends declared in 2022. In addition, Guardian Life highlights an operating income of $1.7 billion, premiums of $13 billion, and capital of $11 billion.

As of December 31, 2022, the top global credit rating agencies report excellent ratings for Guardian Life:

  • Moody’s: Aa1
  • A.M. Best Company: A++
  • S&P: AA+
  • Fitch: AA+
  • COMDEX: 99 (out of 100)

Guardian Direct dental insurance accessibility

Guardian Direct has an FAQ page, glossary and insurance cheat sheet that can provide curious consumers with the need-to-know information about its services. The company’s blog covers dental and insurance-related topics, such as dental insurance costs and the difference between bridges and implants

Guardian Life is committed to ensuring all consumers, including those with disabilities, can digitally access its services. The company continues to develop and test its websites and online services to comply with the standards and accessibility regulations set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act, W3CWeb Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1 Levels A and AA standards), the California Consumer Privacy Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Availability

Guardian Direct provides dental insurance to those residing in eligible states. However, costs, waiting periods and coverages vary by state. For example, four of the company’s covered states — Washington, Idaho, Nevada and New York — have a waiting period for basic dental care.

Contact information

Guardian Direct’s insurance phone number for members is 1-866-569-9900, available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. You can also contact a customer service representative on the company’s website through live chat or via email. The email address for customer support is Direct­[email protected].

User experience

Guardian Direct’s homepage provides a straightforward user experience. You’ll find the three easy-to-navigate tabs at the top:

  • What we offer. Clicking on this tab opens a drop-down menu that lists separate pages for Guardian Direct’s insurance products and services, including dental insurance, disability insurance and life insurance.
  • Resources. Clicking on the Resources tab also opens a drop-down menu. This one includes links to Guardian Direct’s blog, FAQ page, glossary and other helpful resources.
  • Find a dentist. On this page, you can input your zip code and receive a list of dentists within a mile range of your choice. You can also search by specialty and office name.

The company’s homepage also highlights the four available dental plans and their coverage.

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Guardian Direct dental insurance customer satisfaction

Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau, though it’s not BBB accredited. Despite the high rating, the company’s 34 customer reviews on its BBB page as of April 15, 2023 average at 1.03 out of 5 stars.

The customer testimonials on Guardian Direct’s website read more positively, with several reviewers giving the company five stars. Satisfied customers praised the company for its coverage, customer service and professionalism. However, Guardian Direct discloses that the customer testimonials on its website represent the experience of only a select group of customers and the opinions in these reviews do not indicate future outcomes for all consumers.

Guardian Direct dental insurance FAQ

Is Guardian Direct dental insurance legit?

Guardian Direct’s parent company, Guardian Life, has a solid financial reputation, with its operating income and revenue from premiums increasing in 2022. Guardian Life is one of the largest insurance companies in the U.S, further solidifying its legitimacy as a corporation.

Does Guardian Direct dental have a deductible?

You must begin enrollment by inputting your name, age range, and zip code to see deductible amounts for each plan. For example, a person living in suburban Philadelphia selecting the age range 19 to 49 can choose any of the four available plans — there’s no preventive in-network deductible with these plans. However, the preventive out-of-network deductible is $50, and all other dental services, including teeth whitening, are also a $50 deductible.

Who accepts Guardian Direct dental?

Guardian Direct has a network of more than 120,000 nationwide dentists and specialists. You can also access teledentistry if your state allows this service. You can find a list of Guardian Direct’s in-network dentists in your area on the company’s website.

How we evaluated Guardian Direct dental insurance

We considered these factors while reviewing Guardian Direct dental insurance:

  • Accessibility and customer service options
  • Guardian dental plan information
  • Financial stability information from the company’s 2022 annual report
  • Ratings from top global credit rating agencies
  • Website features and ease of use
  • Terms and conditions
  • Guardian Direct rating and reviews on the BBB
  • Customer testimonials on Guardian Direct’s website
  • Plan information based on specific locations and age ranges

Summary of Money’s Guardian Direct dental insurance review

All four Guardian Direct dental insurance plans are relatively affordable and include 50% to 80% coverage for minor care, such as oral exams, fillings and simple extractions, depending on your chosen plan. You may not have to pay a deductible for in-network dental work. Moreover, as one of the oldest insurance companies in the U.S., Guardian Life (the parent company of Guardian Direct) reports high ratings from the major credit rating agencies as of December 2022 and strong financials from its latest annual report.

On the other hand, some products and services aren’t available in certain areas and waiting periods may differ from state to state. The Guardian Direct mobile app lacks advantages and features that competitors offer. Furthermore, customer reviews online about Guardian Direct are less than stellar.