Long-term care insurance may seem like a wonderful thing to have -- until you do a little research into it. It's at that point, when you see what it can cost you, that it loses some of its appeal. The main reason it's so costly, of course, is because there's a good chance you'll need it one day!

Before I go any further, consider the possibilities. The cost of a nursing home can be several thousand dollars per month, totaling anywhere from $25,000 to $125,000 or more per year. Having at-home care can top $100 per day. Depending on your age and health, long-term care insurance premiums can be anywhere from around $500 to several thousand dollars per year.

Fortunately, there are ways to lower these premiums. And they're well worth looking into, because for many of us, long-term care insurance is well worth procuring. Here are some tips, from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI):

  • Being in good health when you sign up can cut your costs by 10% to 20% annually.
  • Married (and even simply cohabitating) people might reap 15% to 40% savings.
  • You can opt for a longer "elimination period." This is the period of time before the policy kicks in, when you pay for your own long-term care needs. Increasing it from 30 to 90 days can save 10% to 20% annually.
  • You can opt for a policy that will pay for less, and will cost less. For example, instead of covering your long-term care needs for an unlimited period, if you select coverage for up to five years, you can save 16% to 27% yearly.
  • You can save up to 8% per year just by sending in your payment in one lump sum once a year, instead of via monthly payments.

Learn more from the AALTCI and in the articles "Foolish Advice on Long-term Care Insurance" and "Long-Term Care Finale."

Keep learning
For more information about insurance in general, take a look at our Insurance Center. It may not be the most exciting topic in the world, but it's vital for many situations. You may not even have thought about things like disability insurance, but it can make a real difference in your financial plan. And, of course, properly insuring your property is essential too. Take a little time to learn more and if some calamity occurs in the future, you may be very happy you did.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian appreciates your feedback.