The right type of life insurance can be summed up in a single word: term. But before we explain why, it's important to understand the differences between the most common types of insurance available. Our glossary can help with that, and decipher some of the more common insurance lingo.
The basic difference between term and whole life insurance is this: A term policy is life coverage only. On the death of the insured it pays the face amount of the policy to the named beneficiary. You can buy term for periods of one year to 30 years. Whole life insurance, on the other hand, combines a term policy with an investment component. The investment could be in bonds and money-market instruments or stocks. The policy builds cash value that you can borrow against. The three most common types of whole life insurance are traditional whole life policies, universal and variable. With both whole life and term, you can lock in the same monthly payment over the life of the policy. (Read more on how to buy a life insurance policy or determine how much life insurance you will need.)