Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The question of when to get long-term care insurance is difficult to answer because the answer to this question varies depending on your specific situation. Things such your financial situation and your family’s health history will have a major affect on this decision.

Getting long term care insurance quotes is as easy as clicking on the free box above!

Before you purchase long-term care insurance, you need to understand what it is, what it has to offer and who really needs it in the first place. Then utilize the third party insurance quotes tool to compare your options if you decide to pursue this type of coverage.

Defining Long-Term Care

Long-term care is care provided to individuals who can no longer do the day-to-day things that most people take for granted, such as dressing themselves, using the bathroom, cooking and so on. Someone can qualify for long-term care at any age if they are struck by a disease or have an accident that causes them to need this service. It is more common, however, for the elderly to require long-term care.

Long-term care is not care in a nursing home. This is an area that many people find confusing. A nursing home is a facility where people who are too ill to care for themselves go for medical care. This is not the same as losing the ability to take care of daily grooming and survival needs. An example would be someone who has cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc. These are people who require actual medical attention, not assistance with day to day activities.

In order to qualify for long-term care, you have to be unable to do certain tasks for yourself. If you have long-term care insurance, then these tasks will be defined in your policy. Some insurance companies require that you meet all of their criteria in order to qualify for long-term care, and could require that you be unable to walk, feed yourself, dress yourself, go to the bathroom on your own and so on before they will pay for long-term care. It is important to understand what the insurance company qualifies as a long-term care situation before you purchase a long-term care insurance policy.

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What Long-Term Care Insurance has to Offer

The truth is, long-term care insurance has a lot to offer. You do, however, need to understand all of the fine print in an insurance policy. As mentioned above, some insurance companies require very specific conditions to occur before they will cover long-term care. What’s more, some insurance companies will actually cover the cost of a nursing home if illness related care is needed, but you need to ensure that this is stipulated in your policy as well.

Long-term care insurance can relieve your family of a huge financial burden should the need arise for long-term care. This type of care can be quite expensive and in most cases the need will exist for the rest of the person’s life. If you are relatively young, you could possibly be looking at 40 or 50 years of care. Even if you are in your 60s or 70s, you could conceivably still require care for 20 to 30 years.

There are some people who believe that if they make under $200K a year that they won’t need to worry about long-term care insurance because Medicaid  or Medicare will cover their costs. This is wrong, unfortunately, as neither of these organizations cover long-term care costs unless it is related to medical care, which means that there would be a need for you to be in a nursing home rather than other situations.

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Long-term care insurance can cover a couple of different situations for you. You can choose to have long-term care in your home. This is when a qualified person (it doesn’t have to be a nurse) comes to your home and helps you with your day-to-day activities. They may help you to cook, clean, get dressed and so on.

Another situation is to live in an assisted care facility, which is sort of like living in a dorm. You share a kitchen as well as a living room area with group of people, but you have your own sleeping area. You can have a TV in your room and usually your own bathroom but everything else is shared.

Lastly are assisted living communities. These communities can be houses, mobile homes or even apartments that have teams of people who are on call to assist the residents when needed. You can be on a schedule for service, for example if you can’t cook for yourself but you can dress yourself, of someone may be assigned to you and a few other people at the same time. This scenario is usually reserved for individuals who can do some things for themselves.

As you can imagine, any one of these possibilities can be pretty expensive. In fact, in Florida there is an assisted care apartment complex that charges $8,000 a month for care. In this case, every resident is assigned their own team of people to help them with their day-to-day activities 16 hours a day with an on call person for nighttime emergencies.

Long-term care insurance can absorb this cost and make all the difference in the type of care that you receive if the time comes that you need it.

Who Should Buy Long-Term Care Insurance

Just about everyone can benefit from long-term care insurance; the real question is when is the appropriate time to purchase it? You have to understand that much like any other kind of insurance, the older you are the more expensive it is going to be. If, however, you purchase it too young, you may end up finding yourself in a situation where you can’t afford it and all of those premiums that you’ve paid are non-recoupable. What this means is that you need to find a middle ground and consider purchasing long-term care insurance when you are about 45 to 50 years old.

If, however, your family has a history of problems that create the need for long-term care at an early age, then it might be in your best interest to purchase this type of insurance sooner rather than later. Think of it as more of a preventative measure to ensure that you aren’t caught by surprise if the worst should happen.

Some people assume that their family will take care of them if they should need long-term care without realizing how much of a strain that can be on family members. It is better to ensure that you can get care from an outside source than to assume or thrust that responsibility on to your family members. Even if they say they will, they may not really know what they are getting themselves into. It is simply better to be safe than sorry.

It is important to note that long-term care insurance can vary widely in cost. The less costly it is, the more likely there are to be more stipulations about when care can be received and what type of care is available. It is very important to read your policy completely before agreeing to it. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get affordable long-term care insurance, you just have to shop around for it.

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