California Partnership for Long Term Care

How to Choose an Agent

Choosing an Agent

Agents referred by friends or family are a good starting point. Go a step further and check with the Department of Insurance, Ask the agent for their credentials and how long they have been in the business. Always speak with several agents before making your choice.

What to Ask

Long-term care insuranceSpecific type of insurance policy designed to offer financial support to pay for necessary long-term care services. is a big investment. Knowing the right questions to ask increases confidence and assurance that this policy is the right choice.

  • What is the history of the company, their current rating and reputation?
  • What physical conditions may exclude or limit the benefits of my policy?
  • Under what conditions can a company cancel my policy?
  • Will benefits be paid if the policyholder is out of the state or country?
  • What is the minimum or maximum age for buying this policy?
  • How much does this policy pay per day for a nursing home, home health careSkilled nursing or other professional services in the residence, including, but not limited to, part-time and intermittent skilled nursing services, home health aid services, physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy and audiology services, and medical social services by a social worker., adult day careA licensed day care program that usually provides personal care, supervision, protection or assistance in eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, moving about or taking medications., etc.?
  • How long will benefits last?
  • What is the maximum lifetime benefit of the policy?
  • How long is the waiting period before benefits kick in?
  • Does this policy require a prior nursing home stay for home health care coverage?
  • Has the company ever raised premiums on any long-term careCare given to someone who can no longer perform activities of daily living. policies they sold?

What to Avoid

Beware these common "warning signs" when purchasing long-term care insurance:

  • An agent who does not have your best interests in mind
  • Bait and switch tactics
  • Guarantee that your rate will never increase
  • Not knowing a company's rating
  • The pitch that their policy has been approved by the Department of Insurance when it hasn't
  • The pitch that their policy has a special 30-day review and return policy (all policies have that feature)
  • A marketing tactic called "twisting," where an agent may present a misleading comparison of policies to make a buyer purchase a different policy
  • Agents who work for multiple companies may say the best policy suited for you is the one where they make the most commission
  • High pressure tactics