Typically, life insurance is chosen based on the needs and goals of the owner. Term life insurance generally provides protection for a set period of time, while permanent insurance, such as whole and universal life, provides lifetime coverage.
Term life insurance is designed to provide financial protection for a specific period of time, such as 10, 20, and 30 years. After that period, policies may offer continued coverage or coverage ends. Term life insurance is generally a less costly option than whole or universal life insurance.
Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance designed to provide lifetime coverage. Because of the lifetime coverage period, whole life usually has higher premiums than term life. Policy premiums are typically fixed, and, unlike term, whole life has a cash value, which functions as a savings component and may accumulate tax-deferred over time.
Universal life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance designed to provide lifetime coverage. Unlike whole life insurance, universal life insurance policies are flexible and may allow you to raise or lower your premium or coverage amounts throughout your lifetime. Like whole life insurance, universal life also has a tax-deferred savings component, which may build wealth over time. Additionally, due to its lifetime coverage, universal life typically has higher premiums than term.