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Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance

  • Health Insurance

A lot of us don’t like to think about this, but inevitably there will come a time where we will all need help taking care of ourselves. So how can we start preparing for this financially?

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Many people opt to purchase long-term care insurance in advance as a way to prepare for their golden years. Long-term care insurance includes services relating to day-to-day activities such as help with taking baths, getting dressed and getting around the house. Most long-term care insurance policies will front the fees for this type of care if you are suffering from a chronic illness, injury or disability, like Alzheimer’s disease, for example. 

If this is something you think you’ll need later on, it’s crucial that you don’t wait until you’re sick to apply. If you apply for long-term care insurance after becoming ill or disabled, you will not qualify. Most people apply around the ages of 50-60 years old. 

In this article, we will discuss long-term care insurance, how it works and why you might consider getting it.   

How long-term care insurance works

The process of applying for long-term care insurance is pretty straight forward. Generally, you will have to fill out an application and then you’ll have to answer a series of questions about your health. During this point in the process, you may or may not have to submit medical records or other documents proving the status of your health. 

With most long-term care policies, you will get to choose between different plans depending on the amount of coverage you want. 

Many long-term care policies will deem you eligible for benefits once you are unable to do certain activities on your own. These activities are called “activities of daily living” or ADLs:

  • Bathing
  • Incontinence assistance
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Getting off and/or on the toilet
  • Getting in and out of a bed or other furniture

In most cases, you must be incapable of performing at least two of these activities on your own in order to qualify for long-term care. When it’s time for you to start receiving care, you will need to file a claim. Your insurer will review your application, records and make contact with your doctor to find out more about your condition. In some cases, the insurer will send a nurse to evaluate you before your claim gets approved. 

It’s very common for insurers to require an “elimination period” before they start reimbursing you for your care. What this means is that after you have been approved for benefits and started receiving regular care, you will need to pay out of pocket for your treatments for a period of anywhere from 30-90 days. After this period, you will get reimbursed for your out-of-pocket expenses and from there.

Who should consider long-term care insurance

Unfortunately, the statistics are against our odds when it comes to whether or not we will eventually need some type of long-term care. Approximately half of people in the U.S. at the age of 65 will eventually acquire a disability where they will need to receive long-term care insurance.  Of course, the problem is, long-term care can be really expensive. Unless you have insurance, you’ll be paying for your long-term care completely out-of-pocket should you ever need it.

Your standard health insurance plan, including Medicare, will not cover your long-term care. The benefits of buying long-term care insurance are that:

  • You can hold on to your savings: Many uninsured seniors have to dip into their savings account in order to pay for their long-term care. Because it’s not cheap, many of them drain their life savings just to be able to pay for it.
  • You’ll be able to choose from a larger variety of options: Being insured gives you the benefit of being able to choose the quality of care that you prefer. Just like with anything else, you get what you pay for when it comes to healthcare. Medicaid offers some help with long-term care, but you’ll end up in a government-funded nursing home. 

How to buy long-term care insurance

If you’ve recently started thinking about shopping for long term-care insurance, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  • Do you mind being insured on a policy with an elimination period?
  • Can you afford all of the costs including living adjustments?
  • Are you interested in a policy that covers both you and your spouse, otherwise known as “shared care”?

There are a few different ways to go about getting long-term care benefits. You can either buy a policy from an insurance broker, an individual insurance company, or in some cases, your employer. Obtaining long-term care insurance through your employer is probably going to be cheaper than getting it as an individual. Ask your employer if it’s included in your benefits. 

Many people also opt to shop for hybrid benefits insurance policies. This is when a long-term care policy is packaged in with a standard life insurance policy. This is becoming a lot more common in the world of insurance. Keep in mind that the approval process may be slightly different for a hybrid insurance policy than of that of a stand-alone long-term care insurance policy. Make sure to ask about the requirements before you apply. 

Best long-term care insurance packages

There are not very many long-term care insurance companies that exist as there once was. It’s hard to wrap our heads around purchasing something that we don’t yet need. However, here are a few examples of companies that offer competitive long-term care packages:

  • Mutual of Omaha: This company offers benefits of anywhere between $1,500 and $10,000. While the main disadvantage of this company’s packages is that they do not cover doctor’s charges, transportation, personal expense, lab charges, or prescriptions, you CAN choose to receive cash benefits instead of reimbursements. This company also offers discounts for things like good health and marital status. This company’s insurance policies offer a wide range of options and add-ons so you can make sure that all your bases are covered.
  • Transamerica: This company’s long-term policy, TransCare III, is good if you don’t want to hassle with an elimination period. If you live in California, this may not be the best choice for you because California’s rates are a lot higher than the rates in other states. Your maximum daily benefit can be up to $500 with this program, with a total of anywhere between $18,250-$1,095,000. 
  • MassMutual: Popular for their SignatureCare 500 policy which comes in both base and comprehensive packages, is a long-term care and life insurance hybrid. This is very appealing to many seniors wanting to kill two birds with one stone. This company also has a 6-year period as one of their term options, which is pretty high.
  • Nationwide: This program sets itself apart from many other programs available because it allows you to have informal caregivers like family, friends, or neighbors. You will receive your entire cash benefit every month and it is up to you to disperse the funds as you would like. Currently, this company does not have their pricing available online, so you will need to speak with an agent to discuss prices.


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Tips for Dealing with Difficult Relatives | ApartmentSearch

Older woman talking to girl with cookie in mouthIf you’ve been living solo for a while, the holiday season may mark the first time you’ll see your extended family in a long time. You may already be dreading spending your long weekends cooped up with nosy aunts and spoiled cousins!

Though we can’t give you your PTO back, we can help you maintain your sanity during family festivities. Keep your holiday season delightful— not dreadful — with these tips for dealing with difficult family members this holiday season.

Step up your self-care before, during, and after family time.

No matter how much you love your family, dealing with difficult relatives can be draining. Make sure you’re not pouring from an empty cup, so to speak, by giving yourself extra time for self-care practices in the time leading up to, during, and following family gatherings.

Step away from the group to do something that recharges you, like journaling, calling a friend, or taking a walk by yourself. The more depleted your mental energy becomes, the less likely you are to handle sticky family situations with grace, so make it a habit to check in with yourself and take a few minutes to recharge whenever you need to.

Steer the conversation with neutral topics and questions.

Maybe you don’t want to spend holidays with extended family because you know you’ll be dealing with your uncle’s political banter or listening to your cousin rehash the drama that happened at her sister’s wedding last summer.

Now is not the time for confrontation or “family therapy,” and fortunately, you can play a big part in keeping things light and fun. If you make an effort to steer the conversation, the likelihood of controversial topics arising in your discussions can diminish — at least somewhat.

Here are a few questions to ask your family at dinner to get things going (and stay in a safe conversational territory).

Neutral conversation-starters for family gatherings:

  • What’s your favorite memory from a past holiday?
  • What was your first job?
  • What was your wedding day like?
  • What do you remember about the days your children were born?
  • What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?
  • Have you seen any good movies or shows lately?
  • What’s something you’re excited about over the next few months?
  • What’s your favorite holiday tradition (or movie, or food, etc.)?
  • What’s something you’re grateful for?

If things still take a turn for the worst, you can say something like, “Let’s give the rest of the family the gift of a break from that topic, what do you say?” or be even more direct with “Let’s change the subject; I don’t want to discuss this.” Don’t be afraid to speak up!

Think about a response to personal questions in advance.

Your family is well-meaning, but sometimes they can ask questions you don’t want to answer. How are you supposed to reply to, “When are you getting married?” anyway?! While you can’t always anticipate what family members will ask, you can develop an effective way to divert nearly any personal question.

Think of a few things in your life that are going well right now — or at the very least, some topics you’d be willing to talk about with family — and change the subject to those things. For example, if someone springs a personal question about why you aren’t dating someone, you can chuckle and respond, “I don’t know about that. Hey, I got a promotion at work last month. I really love my work right now. How’s your job going?” If they persist or bring it up again, you can be more direct with a response like, “I’d prefer not to talk about that,” or you can remove yourself from the situation entirely, which leads us to our next tip…

Have an exit plan.

Sometimes, when you’re dealing with difficult family members, you need to step away. If you’re anticipating stressful situations, plan your getaway in advance. This can mean excusing yourself for a few moments of solitude in the bathroom, knowing when to return to your hotel for the night, or even being prepared to leave the situation entirely by packing up and heading home early. It’s okay to need some separation!

Limit or avoid time with family during the holidays altogether.

Speaking of separation, here’s the thing: if you don’t want to spend holidays with extended family, you don’t have to. You always have the option to do something completely different, like hosting a holiday dinner with nearby friends or neighbors. Of course, making your own plans for the holidays may come with consequences you don’t want to deal with (like hurt feelings), but in the end, it truly is YOUR decision whether you attend family gatherings.

If you’re not ready to give a big, hard “NO” to your family gatherings, consider a compromise. For example, you don’t have to schlep half your belongings to your parents’ house and essentially move back in with family for a week or two. Instead, cut your trip down to 2 or 3 days. You’ll still get to see everyone and celebrate, but you’ll save yourself from the depletion that comes from dealing with difficult family members for long periods.

Create a safe haven for yourself.

You can get through almost anything as long as you have something — or somewhere — else to look forward to, right? If you’re exhausted after spending the holidays with difficult relatives, ensure you’ll have a welcoming spot to come home to with ApartmentSearch. Use our apartment finder tool to claim your perfect place, complete with amenities, parking, and PRIVACY! Now, that’s fa-la-la-fabulous.


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4 Fair Ways to Split Apartment Rent | ApartmentSearch

friends splitting costs at coffee shop using tablet

Can you do the splits? No, not that kind! Not banana splits, either. We’re talking about splitting the rent fairly with your roommates. Don’t let this issue ruin what could be an extremely rewarding (and cost-effective) living experience. Here are some fair ideas for splitting apartment rent between you and your roommates.

1. Split Rent by Person

Splitting rent by person is by far the most simple method for splitting rent between roommates. Take the total rent due to your landlord and divide it by the number of tenants living in your apartment. Each person pays the same amount, regardless of bedroom size or other individual perks. This method is fair, quick, and easy.

2. Split Rent by Room Size

In most apartments, not all rooms are created equal. Typically, an apartment will include one “master” bedroom which is quite a bit larger than the other bedrooms. Sometimes this room will even include a walk-in closet or private bathroom.

If this is the case in your apartment, you and your roommates may not think it’s fair to have everybody pay the same amount of rent. Luckily, there’s a solution: Add up the total square footage for each bedroom, then calculate the percentage of bedroom space each roommate will have, excluding the common areas.

Example: Let’s say rent for your apartment is $1,500 total and you have three roommates. Together, the square footage for all three bedrooms is 600 sq. feet. (This square footage doesn’t include common areas, like the living room or kitchen.)

  • Room #1 (300 sq. ft.) = ½ of total area = $750 in rent
  • Room #2 (200 sq. ft.) = ⅓ of total area = $500 in rent
  • Room #3 (100 sq. ft.) = ⅙ of total area = $250 in rent

3. Split Rent by Factoring in Individual Perks

Sometimes room size doesn’t mean a better room. Maybe the master bedroom has no windows and a tiny closet. Or, perhaps that 100 sq. ft. bedroom offers an incredible view of the city and includes a private bathroom.

One way to split apartment rent is by assigning a value to each one of these perks, then tacking these values onto an otherwise equitable rent price division.

4. Use a Rent Split Calculator

Math is hard. That’s why a number of different online tools exist to help you and your roommates calculate your rent splits, such as Spliddit, the New York Times Rent Split Calculator, and

A rent calculator takes the competition and weird vibes out of the equation by allowing each tenant to choose their room preferences and price point. You can even include information about room-splitting and individual perks.

Talk to your potential roommates about these rent split ideas and be sure to ask them other important questions. A fair and equitable rent split is the first step toward a wonderful relationship between you and your new roommates.

Have your rent split figured out but still looking for an apartment? Find your perfect place on today!


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The Best Neighborhoods in Tampa

Tampa residents thoroughly enjoy the laid-back Florida lifestyle, while having access to all the amenities a large city offers.

Tampa is by far one of the finest cities in Florida, and its neighborhoods are some of the best in the state.

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the history of Ybor City or are looking for easy access to Tampa’s nightlife, there are many fantastic areas to call home.

Here are our 10 favorite Tampa neighborhoods.

bayshore beautiful tampa fl

If you’re looking for a Tampa neighborhood with great schools, consider moving to Bayshore Beautiful. This liberal-leaning community boasts plenty of coffee shops, parks and restaurants for residents to enjoy. It’s a highly walkable district with low crime rates. It is also one of the quietest neighborhoods in the Tampa Bay area.

What makes Bayshore Beautiful even more desirable are its waterfront views and Riverwalk. You can expect to see people biking, walking, jogging and enjoying the Tampa Bay sunset.

channel district tampa fl

The entire Channel District has become increasingly popular over the last few years. It even made the list of the top five Tampa neighborhoods where rent is increasing the most. This highly coveted area is full of condos with panoramic views and local hotspots like Victory Coffee and the District Tavern.

Channel District residents also appreciate being within walking distance of Sparkman Wharf, the Florida Aquarium and Amalie Arena. With all these amenities at your doorstep, it’s easy to see why the Channel District is one of Tampa’s hottest areas.

downtown tampa fl

If you’re looking for an urban community with lots of high-rises, condos and access to first-rate theaters and museums, Downtown Tampa is the place for you. Downtown residents will enjoy having easy access to the city’s business district and major highways.

In addition, there are several dining and shopping options located nearby, and the city’s nighttime hotspots are only a quick taxi ride away.

harbour island tampa

Although it’s technically a part of Downtown Tampa, Harbour Island truly is a community of its own. Living in this neighborhood is a status symbol by many, and the rental prices reflect that.

Harbour Island has a very low crime rate with access to good schools, which is a strong draw for many residents. Additionally, the Riverwalk area is minutes away.

hyde park tampa fl

Tampa’s Hyde Park is an excellent choice for renters looking for a charming place to settle down. This historic area of the city is next to Tampa Bay and attracts young professionals and families alike.

One of the most popular attractions in the neighborhood is Hyde Park Village, which has restaurants, boutiques, bars and specialty stores.

new tampa fl

As you might expect, New Tampa is one of the newest communities in Tampa. Close to the University of South Florida, this increasingly popular area of town is a great place to raise a family.

Its easy access to several corporate headquarters also makes this neighborhood popular with professionals. But that popularity comes at a cost, as prices have steadily increased over the past year.

seminole heights tampa

Source: / Avenue Lofts

North of Downtown Tampa is Seminole Heights, a historic district that honors its roots while maintaining a cool, suburban feel. You’ll find plenty of local bars and restaurants, along with a countless number of antique and second-hand stores.

Due to its popular bar and restaurant scene and its location near the University of South Florida, rent prices in Seminole Heights have increased dramatically in recent years.

tampa palms tampa fl

Tampa Palms is an excellent option for future Tampa residents who are looking for decent schools and a politically moderate area of town. This enclave has a suburban/urban feel and attracts young professionals and young families alike.

Tampa Palms is highly walkable and known for being a dog-friendly community. Additionally, the neighborhood has a number of local bars and restaurants for residents to choose from. This community also is close to the University of South Florida and its nearby attractions.

university square tampa fl

If you’re looking for a liberal, family-friendly area of Tampa to settle down in, University Square is a great choice. University Square schools are above average, the neighborhood is known for its safety and the entire area has a good suburban/urban mix. There are also plenty of restaurants, shops and parks, and it’s incredibly close to Busch Gardens and the Museum of Science and Industry.

Convenient to the University of South Florida, this area is also quite popular with students and professors. Furthermore, University Square is near some of the best hospitals in Central Florida.

ybor heights tampa fl

Source: / The Warehouse Lofts

Located on the northwest side of Ybor City, Ybor Heights residents enjoy the lifestyle and amenities found in a dense, suburban area. There are plenty of local parks, coffee shops, bars and restaurants and the famous Ybor City Historic District is within walking distance.

Ybor Heights has a good mix of renters and homeowners and is one of the city’s more diverse areas. This young, liberal neighborhood is perfect for renters who can appreciate history while enjoying the famous nightlife. And, although Ybor Heights typically caters to young professionals, the above-average schools make this area attractive to young families, as well.

Find the best neighborhood for you

If you’re thinking about moving to Central Florida, you can’t go wrong by choosing Tampa. The city has amusement parks, world-class universities and hospitals, and some of the best year-round weather in the country. Hopefully, this guide to the best Tampa neighborhoods will help you decide which community is right for you.


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Must Have Tools for Thanksgiving Dinner Prep This Year

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Tools for cooking Thanksgiving Dinner | Thanksgiving dinner | Kitchen tools

We don’t have to tell you that Thanksgiving looks and feels a lot different this year.  This may be the first you you are cooking the big meal yourself.  While we wish we could be there to help, the next best thing is to share with you our favorite tools for prepping a Thanksgiving feast.  And once you’ve got all the tools ordered, be sure to check out our Pinterest boards, for all of our favorite recipes both for Thanksgiving dinner and for the accompanying drinks.






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Must Have Tools for Thanksgiving Dinner
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How to Clean a Glass Stovetop to Get Your Deposit Back | ApartmentSearch

Woman cooking on glass stovetop rangeWhether you’re moving across town or relocating across the country, one thing holds true: moving can be a stressful experience! Even after you’ve moved all of your stuff out, there is still that daunting task of deep cleaning the apartment. And one surface that might be a bit tricky to tackle is a glass stovetop!

While cooking stains on a glass stovetop can be pretty common, they can definitely be an important thing to clean if you want your apartment to be spotless for your moving inspection! Following a few easy steps and sourcing a handful of common household items, your stovetop can look showroom quality in no time!

Cleaning A Glass Stovetop: Do’s and Don’ts

Though great in functionality, glass stovetops can show more wear and tear than traditional electric coil cooktops. And while you only have to deal with a single surface when cleaning a glass-top stove, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Do clean a glass stovetop when the surface is cool.
  • Don’t clean the surface while it’s still warm or try to burn off any gunk or stains.
  • Do use gentler items like sponges or microfiber cloths.
  • Don’t use abrasive scrubbing brushes or steel wool that could potentially create more scratches.
  • Do use milder, more natural cleaning supplies.
  • Don’t use chemical cleaners that could leave a harmful residue or create harsh fumes in a small kitchen.

How to Clean A Glass Stovetop

Depending on how bad the stain on your stove is, there are a few approaches you can take to get the job done.

The Natural Method

For less serious stains, try a more natural, chemical-free method. Using just a bit of vinegar, baking soda, and elbow grease, you can have your glass stovetop shined up in no time.

  1. Use a spray bottle filled with distilled white vinegar and spritz the surface area.
  2. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the area you just sprayed.
  3. Dip a clean towel in hot water (wringing out the excess), and lay the towel over the vinegar and baking soda mixture. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Once you remove the towel, wipe the surface clean with a microfiber cloth. Repeat these steps as necessary until the stovetop is completely free of residue.

Bonus tip: While the surface is still wet, use the flat side of a razor blade at an angle to scrape away those caked-on spots. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, so you don’t scratch the glass.

The Heavy-Duty Method

If vinegar and baking soda isn’t doing the job, try using a glass stovetop cleaner. Some glass stovetop cleaners will still use baking soda as a primary cleaning agent. However, you get the added benefit of additional grease-cutting and surface polishing agents to help you cut through some of those tougher, caked-on spots.

This method will usually involve spreading the cleaner on the surface area, waiting, and scrubbing it off. But for best results, follow the instructions on the product label until your glass stovetop is as good as new.

Whichever route you choose, you’ll want to get things looking as good as new, so your landlord doesn’t find a reason to charge you when you move out.

Are you tired of worrying about keeping that glass stovetop polished? Find a new apartment with easy-to-clean appliances ApartmentSearch!


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