Term Life vs. Whole Life Insurance Comparison

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is typically the most affordable type of life insurance policy which offers guaranteed level premiums for a set initial period, known a “term”.  It is generally purchased  to cover a short term insurance need (10-30 years) rather than lifetime.

The most common initial terms are:

  • 10 years
  • 15 years
  • 20 years
  • and 30 years

After the initial term, premiums typically increase annually on an “annual renewable” basis.  This change to annual renewable premiums tends to come with a huge premium increase, so in order to avoid this, most term policies can be converted to a lifetime coverage option, such as whole life or universal life, during their initial term.

More Information on JRC:

Approximately 90% of our clients buy term coverage.  Give us a call to discuss your needs today at 855-247-9555.

View Actual Term Life Insurance Rates by Age

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life is designed to offer lifetime protection, with fixed premiums and guaranteed cash value accumulation. This type of insurance typically costs more than any other type, but offers the most benefits.

Let’s take a moment to discuss the following unique features about whole life:

  • Cash Value
  • Dividends
  • Lifetime Coverage

Cash Value

One of the biggest differences between term life and whole life is that term life insurance doesn’t have a cash value, so if you cancel the policy, you don’t get anything back.  Whole life, on the other hand, does have cash value.

This not only allows the policyholder to typically get money back if he/she cancels the policy, but also allows for the potential of borrowing from or withdrawing funds from the cash value while the insured is still living.


Another unique feature about whole life policies is they pay dividends, which are the life insurance carrier’s profits passed down to the policyholders. While dividends are not guaranteed, some companies pay them year after year, and some haven’t missed for over 100 years, so they’re about as close to guaranteed as you can get.

Whole life dividends can be used to:

  • Purchase additional coverage (known as paid up additions)
  • Be distributed to the owner as cash
  • Decrease the premium of the underlying policy
  • Pay off policy loans

Lifetime Coverage

If premiums are paid on time, whole life policies are designed to offer guaranteed coverage for life, regardless of age at death.  So you don’t have to worry about outliving your children.

Some policies “endow” at age 100, meaning the death benefit pays out at that date whether the insured has died or not.

Getting a Whole Life Quote

Our quote form doesn’t quote whole life policies, so call us if you’re interested in lifetime coverage options.

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