Group Dental Insurance and Individual Dental Insurance
For starters, let's get one thing straight. It's always you who has the dental insurance coverage (This includes your family, as long as you purchase the right dental coverage). However, you can have dental insurance as part of a group. This is group insurance. The advantage is that, as part of a group, the risk to the dental insurance company is spread over the group. Normally, this means that you pay less than what you would pay for individual dental insurance. That's why group coverage is so popular.
So, with group dental insurance you are still covered as an individual (or family), but the risk to the dental insurance company is spread around the group. However, another reason that the dental insurance is usually cheaper is that a group guarantees the dental insurance company more business. Anything that reduces their risk or increases the amount of money they collect in premiums, means savings to you.
Even for very tiny groups, group dental insurance policies are often subject to different rules are more competitive and offer lower prices than individual dental insurance. As a member of a group the dental insurance company basically considers you 'pre-qualified' and that reduces their risk.
For instance, if you get dental insurance through your job that means you are healthy enough to work. Your teeth looked good enough (on the outside) to pass the interview process. For a dental insurance company this is a big plus. They can afford to offer you a lower dental insurance premium because you are less likely to cost them as much money. Unfortunately, if you are applying for dental insurance coverage on your own the dental insurance company doesn't have that same assurance - and so the premiums you pay will reflect this.
So, it's well worth it to find a group - whether it is through an alumni association, a trade association or through a professional association.
Don't forget to check out the how do I choose a dental insurance policy, dental insurance - fee for service, dental insurance - managed care, group dental insurance and individual dental insurance and dental insurance plan questions pages and click the links above to get started comparing dental insurance plans.