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5 long-term care salespitches to beware of

Salespitch 5: Don't worry about the financial rating of the company, because there's a guaranty fund that insures your policy!

Before buying a long-term care policy, it's imperative to check out the financial rating of the company backing it up. It's important to look at the ratings from Standard & Poor's, Moody's, A. M. Best, and Weiss. You can find the Standard & Poor's ratings online right here at Insure.com. In addition, a good business library might carry the latest financial ratings for long term care insurers.

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You might also contact your state's insurance department for financial ratings, as well as other important data relating to long term care insurers. Various insurance departments even publish shopper's guides to long-term care insurers, complete with sample premiums. You can find out how to get in touch with your state's insurance department through Insure.com's state insurance gateway. Choose your state from the drop-down menu at the top of the page, and contact information will be on the resulting page.

Some salespeople will tell you that there's a guaranty fund in your state and therefore you don't need to be concerned about the financial health of the carrier. Guaranty funds should give you a feeling of security, but they're not the equivalent of the FDIC or FSLIC coverage on your bank account. If the company that sold you a long term care policy gets into financial difficulties, it can open up a can of worms for you.

Also, be careful of companies who only sell long term care insurance. One way an insurance company can limit the risk in selling a certain type of policy is to set up a separate company for only that risk. Just because the company only sells long term care doesn't mean its not a good company, but be sure to look at the rest of the company as well, not just the part selling long term care.

No. 1: You should buy a long-term care policy because it's a write-off!

No. 2: The state insurance department approved this policy!

No. 3: With the policy you have now, you're going to be really sorry someday!

No. 4: If you buy now, you'll lock in the price forever!

No. 5: Don't worry about the financial rating of the company! (this page)

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