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Term life insurance or whole life insurance? Let SelectQuote help you find the right coverage for you.

We can help you learn more about the differences between term and permanent life insurance, and which might be right for your needs.

Term life insurance or whole life insurance? Let SelectQuote help you find the right coverage for you.

We can help you learn more about the differences between term and permanent life insurance, and which might be right for your needs.
A smiling couple and their daughter are excited to learn if term or whole life insurance is right for them

Term Life Insurance vs. Whole Life Insurance

Shopping for life insurance can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It helps by starting with the question: is term life insurance or whole life insurance right for you? Both options have advantages and considerations, so before making a decision, it’s best to understand the key differences between whole life and term life insurance.

At SelectQuote, we make that process quick, easy and convenient for you. We’ll evaluate your needs and quickly compare the different types of coverage and rates available to you. In just minutes, we can provide you with unbiased, personalized price life insurance quotes from some of the most trusted life insurance companies in America.

What is term life insurance?

Term life insurance is one of the most common—and affordable—ways to protect your family’s financial security if something were to happen to you. With term insurance, you have the option to choose your policy length and only buy it for as long as you need it, with the lengths typically being 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years.

What is whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance is a common type of permanent life insurance that provides lifetime coverage as long as the premiums are paid. Whole life insurance also includes a savings component known as the cash value, which policyholders are typically able to borrow funds from to help support additional financial needs.

Difference Between Term Life Insurance vs. Whole Life Insurance

Term life insurance tends to be a smart choice for most families, as it costs less and you can choose the length that works best for you. However, whole life insurance and other forms of permanent coverage can be beneficial in some instances.
FeaturesTerm Life InsuranceWhole Life Insurance
DurationTypically 10 – 30 yearsLifetime
Death BenefitYesYes
Cash ValueNoYes
PremiumsCan increase at end of term lengthLevel throughout duration of policy
Cost BenefitsThe more affordable option, but with potential to increase in price at end of term lengthUp to 10 times more expensive than term, but remains in force for the duration of your lifetime as long as premiums are paid
Our experienced team of licensed insurance agents can make the process of finding the right coverage for you quick, easy and convenient. We can provide coverage and rate comparisons from some of the most trusted insurance companies in just minutes. Our goal is to help you find the right coverage with the right carrier at the right price for you.

Cost Comparison — Term vs. Whole Life Insurance

One of the biggest differences between term life insurance and whole life insurance can be the cost of life insurance. Term life insurance is the most affordable option, providing substantial coverage at a low monthly (or annual) rate. Permanent life insurance is, therefore, the more expensive option, but has the perk of lasting your lifetime, so long as the premiums are paid.

Both types of policies typically feature guaranteed premiums, meaning you pay the same premium for the duration of the policy. Our life insurance calculator can help you get an idea of what kind of policy and how much coverage might be right for you.

*Term rates are based on a 10-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy for men and women in excellent health from one or more of the trusted insurance carriers we represent. Whole life insurance policies are based on no lapse guarantee for $500,000 in coverage for men and women in excellent health from one or more of the trusted insurance carriers we represent. Term rates were pulled on 8/2021 and whole life rates were pulled on 11/2021. Prices could vary depending on health, issuing company and other factors. Not available in all states.

Which is better for me—term or whole life insurance?

The right life insurance policy looks different from person-to-person and figuring out what’s best for you and your family can seem complicated, but that’s what we’re here for. From figuring out the right coverage amount to finding the best price available to you, SelectQuote can help you weigh your options. When it comes to comparing term life vs. whole life insurance, it’s important to consider the following.

Term life insurance might be right for you if:

  • You’re the primary wage earner for your family and are looking to protect them if the unexpected were to happen and your income was lost.
  • You’re a stay-at-home parent, looking to help cover the cost of childcare.
  • You have a mortgage that would need to continue to be paid.
  • You have any debts, including credit cards or student loans.

Permanent life insurance might be right for you if:

  • You have a high net worth and are looking to support your family in paying estate or inheritance taxes if the unexpected were to happen to you.
  • You’re the parent or guardian of a special-needs child and want to make sure they have the financial resources they need.
  • You are looking to provide an inheritance when you pass.

These are just a few examples to help you get an idea of what type of life insurance might be right for you, but our experienced team of licensed insurance agents can make the process quick, easy and convenient for you. Let us do the heavy lifting for you.

Can I change my mind later? How to Convert Life Insurance Term Life Insurance to Whole Life Insurance

While term life insurance provides affordable coverage, the policy does eventually end. Many term life insurance policies, however, are able to be converted into a permanent life insurance policy such as whole life insurance without having to complete another medical exam or health questions if done by a certain age.

Learn more about converting a term life insurance policy into a whole life policy.

Other Life Insurance Options

Whether you’re in a hurry to get covered or are unsure what type of life insurance is right for you, learn more about additional options for life insurance.

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

Simplified issue life insurance falls under the category of final expense insurance and is often a simpler process to obtain compared to term or whole life insurance. While approval isn’t always guaranteed, your coverage is based on a questionnaire about your health and lifestyle rather than a medical exam.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is another type of final expense insurance and just as the name implies, has guaranteed approval. If you are between the ages of 45-85, you can’t be turned down. Guaranteed issue life insurance doesn’t require a medical exam, submission of medical records, or any database check.

Critical Illness Life Insurance

Critical illness life insurance provides additional coverage for medical emergencies like a heart attack, stroke or cancer. You may be able to add this coverage to an existing life insurance policy or purchase as a standalone coverage.

Ready to shop for life insurance? Let SelectQuote help.

Understanding the different options for life insurance can seem challenging, but SelectQuote can help you sort it all out. We can instantly find and compare coverage and rates from some of the most trusted life insurance companies around to find the policy that is right for your needs.

We do the shopping. You do the saving.