Long-Term Equity Anticipation Securities, or LEAPS options, are options with expiration dates that are longer than one year. LEAPS are more expensive than shorter-term expiration contracts because the extended contract length gives the option owner more time for the options to become "in the money".
Prior to the invention of LEAPS options, there is no way for options trader to make leveraged speculations with an outlook of a year or more. It is with the advent of LEAPS options that options traders may now not only perform longer term leveraged speculation but also long term hedging on their stock positions. Yes, LEAPS put options can be used for long term protection of your stock positions in order to prevent a catastrophic decline.