Many people assume long-term care insurance is for nursing home care, and it often is, but that's not all it's for. It can also cover at-home care. Basically, it's there to help you if you're having at least a certain amount of trouble performing "daily living" activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, transferring in or out of a bed or chair, and using the toilet. To a lesser degree, it can also aid in activities such as managing money, doing heavy or light housework, taking medications, shopping, preparing meals, and using the telephone. It will typically pay a certain amount per day, which may cover all or part of your needs.

Another misperception about long-term care insurance is that it's for old people. Remember that even young people can become temporarily or permanently incapacitated because of illness or accident. In many cases, disability insurance can cover these risks. But if you're young, you might still want to look into long-term care insurance and what it can offer you. A bonus is that premiums are low for young people, and some policies permit you to pay for a number of years in your youth and will then cover you for the rest of your life. A little exploration can turn up some valuable coverage.

Learn more about insurance in our Insurance Center. You may not have thought about some other kinds of insurance, such as disability or long-term care insurance, but they're vital for many people.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.