Life insurance is required if your dependents need your income for survival. (If you don't have dependents, then don't buy life insurance!) Most people are undersinsured: make sure you buy enough to provide a living for your dependents. That is where term insurance comes in: it is cheap enough that you can afford to buy what you need.
To estimate how much you need, use our insurance calculator, or consult with your financial advisor.
Term insurance covers you against death for a limited time, the term. For example, the term might be until your children are grown, or until college is paid for, or until retirement. You pay for the coverage period and at the end of the term the contract, or policy, expires. If no claims are made against the policy during the term, you don't receive any benefits after the policy expires, just like auto or homeowners insurance.
Whole life insurance is permanent and does not expire until you die (assuming you continue to pay the premiums). It provides coverage similar to term, but it also provides an investment vehicle. A portion of the premium goes toward insuring against death while the other goes toward an investment account. This investment account can be either an interest bearing account or a stocks and bonds investment account.
Which is better (our opinion)? Young families with large financial obligations are usually better off with term insurance. The substantially lower premiums enable them to purchase sufficient coverage to protect against loss of income. Any discretionary investment funds can be placed in other vehicles (mutual funds, money market accounts, etc.) that are likely to generate returns similar to or better than life insurance contracts. Whole life is sometimes purchased by people for tax and estate planning purposes. You should consult with your financial advisor.
Almost all companies sell their products through agents, rather than directly to the public. Some companies use captive agents, who can only represent that one company. Most of the competitive companies (such as those featured at this site) use independent agents, who are free to represent several companies. These agents can help you select from a variety of products and companies to tailor a plan. Here is a link to find an independent agent in your state.
The price you pay for a given product will be the same no matter where you buy it. Price shopping for an agent will not help you to find a lower price. On the other hand, shopping for a company, using an independent agent with access to our database, will help you find the best deal for which you qualify. You can also use our software to