By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Long term care plans differ in important ways.

It took months before many victims of Hurricane Sandy could even return to their homes, and now the real hardship of repairing the damage is beginning. Many have apparently decided they just can’t deal with it.

Assisted living facilities in the area are reporting a spike in the number of seniors relocating to long term care facilities because many said that after the power outages and property damage caused by the storm, they simply found themselves unable or unwilling to rebuild.

Even those not yet ready for assisted living have begun to think about long term care insurance. But there are things you need to understand about long term care insurance contracts before buying a policy.

Long term care policies are far from standard, and they differ in significant ways. Ask and get the answers in writing – in plain English – for the following:

What is the daily benefit amount (remember that private nursing home stays can run $200 per day), what’s the coverage length, and whether your plan is affected by inflation so that an unforeseen event won’t spell financial disaster that hits you like a lightning bolt out of the blue.

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