The two basic differences between term life and whole life insurance are cost and duration of coverage.
Term insurance limits how long the insurance is "In Force" - 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years.
Whole life insurance lasts "until you die". It provides lifetime coverage as long as you pay your premiums.
Whole life costs a whole lot more than term life.
When is it a good idea to buy term life insurance?
1. When you are on a budget and need the most life insurance for your money.
2. When you need life insurance for a period of 30 years or less.
In addition, many people choose to buy a whole life insurance policy for their lifetime needs, and a larger term life insurance policy for their shorter term life insurance needs.
That's why there are two different types of life insurance plans available, to meet your goals which may change over time.
This article explains more in depth how term life insurance vs whole life insurance works.