Whole Life Insurance provides coverage for the insured's entire life, provided the premiums are paid as specified in the insurance policy's contract.
- Whole life insurance builds cash value, which the policyowner can access through a loan or partial surrender.
- Whole life insurance includes traditional, adjustable, joint and variable life.
Term Life Insurance provides coverage on the insured for a specified period of time.
- Term life insurance does not build cash value.
- Term life insurance includes level, adjustable, renewable, increasing, decreasing and convertible life insurance.
- With non-level term insurance, premiums may increase or the benefit payable may decrease over time.
- Some term policies pay an initial death benefit and an ongoing monthly benefit for a specified period of time.
Universal Life Insurance provides whole life coverage, but allows the policyholder to change the death benefit and vary the amount and timing of premium payments after the policy is issued.
Participating policies may pay dividends at the discretion of the insurer. The policyowner can elect to have dividends paid to them in cash, applied to purchase additional insurance, used to reduce premium, or accumulated with interest.
Non-participating policies do not pay dividends.