Say your client has approached you about purchasing a long term care insurance policy and would like some price quotes. You’ve done the standard prescreening of medical and family history, medications, and the client’s preferences for benefits. It’s now time to run the illustrations to establish the premium amount. You open three different carrier illustration programs and start plugging in benefit amounts and riders. You get three products and three prices — but are you accurately comparing the contracts? It is hard to tell, because product variations can have you comparing apples and oranges.

Unless you understand the features of each product, you may not have enough information to present the best possible solution to your client. The basis for accurate comparison includes six key features: how benefits are paid, inflation options, total pool of benefits, waivers of premium, elimination period crediting, and underwriting classes.