Are all long term care policies the same?
No. Policy features can differ and some insurance companies offer policy features that others do not. In many respects, you can design your own policy. Many policies are designed to pay costs for a limited time (typically three or four years) while others will pay costs for as long as a person lives. Some policies will return the premiums paid if you do not use the insurance, and other policies are coupled with life insurance or annuities. Some policies have "inflation riders" built in to ensure the payments keep up with the cost of care. There are also policies that pay a small daily benefit and are designed simply to supplement income; others are designed to pay the entire monthly cost. Some policies will pay for in-home care while others may not.
Like estate planning, long term care insurance is a custom-fit tool. Each policy must be designed for the particular needs of the client. Typically there will be no cost associated with exploring your options. Be wary of standard quotes from the newspaper or the internet; without a professional's participation, you cannot be sure of what you are getting. Also, some insurance companies are stronger than others, so it is advised to choose a company that is likely to be there when you need them.