Shopping for long-term care insurance can be a daunting and frightening task. You can’t get prices directly from the companies nor online. There is no ratings agency for insurance professionals that tells you whether the one you are speaking with is helping or just selling the only policy they are able to promote.Every year just over half a million Americans apply for long-term care insurance. Most start the process as a result of reading a newspaper or magazine article, receiving a direct mail solicitation or perhaps because their employer offered the coverage. Most admit they had no idea where to begin and did so with much hesitation and trepidation.There is a publication produced by insurance regulators called the Shoppers Guide but it is about as handy and current today as a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Great if you want to press flowers but lousy if you want help when considering long-term care insurance.The realization that consumers wanted something that wasn’t easily available inspired me to focus on the topic at a talk given recently before a group of aging baby boomers. They had heard about the risks that ensue from living a long life and the potential cost of long-term care. What they wanted to know was how to proceed. How can they tell who is telling the truth and who is giving a canned sales pitch.Here are two of the points I shared and I hope they help you as well.Are You Talking To A Dentist Or An Orthodontist?Like most people, I go to my dentist once a year. Sure he’d like me to come more often but after all, I always know better. Of course, when my children were young, they did go every six months — because you want to best for them. When two needed braces, did my dentist offer to handle this? Of course not.It wasn’t because he had flunked out of dental school. He hadn’t. It was simply because this was a very specialized field that required a high degree of knowledge and experience.Well, the same is true when it comes to long-term care insurance. Some insurance products are virtual commodities. No real expertise needed to sell them. Long-term care insurance isn’t one of these. In fact, it may well be the single most complex insurance protection product offered today. That’s why the insurance agent who sold you car or homeowners insurance probably never brought up the topic. He or she is terrified you’ll ask a question they don’t have an answer to.So, tip number one; seek out a specialist. How do you spot one? Well first, hopefully they’ll be a member of the industry’s trade association focused on education standards. But more likely, simply ask if they can provide you with three or four references of satisfied clients.If You Find A Lower Price – We’ll Match ItI admit it. I am a savvy bargain hunter. And Google makes it so much simpler today to comparison shop. But as if the purchase of insurance wasn’t intimidating enough, comparing prices is hard. When it comes to long-term care insurance, it can be downright daunting.And, when I buy a computer at Best Buy, I know I have 30 days during which I can shop for a lower price. Try asking a long-term care insurance to match the lower price. Actually, save your time and energy — it won’t happen.When it comes to shopping for long-term care insurance you basically have two options. Create your own excel file and start shopping for coverage. When you find what you want apply and see if the insurer accepts you. Some will, others will accept at a more costly premium. And, to be fair to the many specialists who don’t lead with the lowest possible price, some may actually offer you a preferred or lower rate than you expected.You’ll want to compare costs from the six leading long-term care insurance companies; Genworth, John Hancock, Mutual of Omaha, Prudential, MedAmerica and LifeSecure. There are others you might add to your list as about 20-to-30 companies offer these products.A thorough comparison will probably take 10-to-12 hours of your time and as I noted above you very likely will have to submit at least one application to make sure you can health qualify at the desired rate. Remember that you can cancel any policy within 30 days — it’s called the free look period.A better suggestion is to hire someone to do the shopping for you. In this business experts work for free to boot. They only get paid if and when you purchase a product they have recommended.Let the expert shop the market for you based on their experience and thorough knowledge of the company, their acceptable standards and policy costs.Buying long-term care insurance does not have to be frightening or difficult. Work with an expert and you’ll find it much more satisfying than you anticipated.