From a financial point of view, the best time to buy a long-term care insurance policy is the same as the best time to buy any insurance: right before you need it!
That’s the beauty of insurance. It immediately creates a pile of money that is immediately available to cover a risk. That’s why – when we consider that a claim could happen quickly – there’s no contest between buying insurance vs. investing the premium to try to save the amount needed.
Let’s consider a common question in long term care planning: what’s the best age to buy a policy? If you knew exactly when you were going to need care, the best counsel would be to apply for insurance a few months in advance.
And there’s the problem. You don’t know when you’re going to need care. So the question remains, since you’re healthy today, and don’t know if and when you’ll need care, what’s the best age to apply for coverage?
Here’s the unvarnished truth. If you think that you’ll ever want long term care insurance, prudence dictates that you should apply now. There are two compelling reasons: 1) you will not save money by waiting, and 2) until you have a policy you’re taking the chance that a claim arises before you’re insured.
Here’s – exactly – why.
Insurance companies employ two kinds of very highly-trained and specialized professionals. One group is called Actuaries – think of them as math majors on steroids. What CPAs are to accounting and taxes, Actuaries are to calculations about the financial risks of inhabiting a human body.
The other group is called Long Term Care Underwriters – think of them as medical experts focused on how long you are going to live and what will happen in the meantime.
These groups of people collaborate to price insurances – such as long term care insurance. They know that – since most long term care claims arise at, say, age 82 – the 60-year-old will have 22 years of premium payments before the insurer needs to payout, and the 70-year-old will have only 12 years before he collects.
The result? Coverage bought at age 70 will be much, much more expensive than the same coverage purchased at age 60.
Therefore, since you can’t beat the system, the time to research, get quotes, and make a decision is…now.