Life insurance can be difficult to think about because it means you won’t be there for your family.

You’ve spent your life working to take care of your family. One of the most important things you can do for them is to have a plan to take care of them when you’re not there.

Life insurance gives you the peace of mind that your family will have financial stability, even if you aren’t there with them. Whether it will be used to settle your debts, pay off your mortgage, or provide retirement benefits — there are many different choices you can make.

This decision will affect your family’s future, so you don’t want to jump at the first life insurance plan you find. Shop around and compare quotes to get the coverage you need for your family at a price you can afford.

Types of Life Insurance

There are several types of life insurance for you to choose from, based on your specific needs. You can also have more than one type of coverage as your needs change. Take a look at the most common life insurance policy types available.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is just like it sounds – it’s good for your entire life, as long as you keep up with your payments. Your payments are also always the same amount and don’t go up as you get older. Generally, this is a more expensive form of life insurance.

The policy also offers you a cash value account that accumulates over time and that you can withdraw from or take a loan against. With a whole life policy, part of your payments is invested. In time, this investment creates the cash value amount that grows tax-deferred. In addition to being able to withdraw the cash, you can use it to pay your premiums in the future.

Unfortunately, you can’t roll the cash value into the death benefit for your beneficiaries. However, you can access the cash value that has accrued while you are still paying on your policy.

It’s possible that the cash value will eventually be enough to pay your cost for the policy entirely. This means that at some point, you’ll no longer have to pay for your policy and your family will still receive the benefits. This is known as a policy being “paid up”.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is coverage for a certain amount of time, such as 10, 15, or 20 years. There is no cash value with these policies.

The pros of term life are that your payments are generally very affordable, payments don’t change during the term, and your coverage is guaranteed for the term.

The cons are that when the policy ends at the end of the term, you have to renew it or take out another policy at a new rate, and you get no credit for the money you’ve already paid.

Because the rates for a term life policy are so low, it allows you to purchase enough coverage to be confident your family is provided for. You can purchase enough insurance to cover your mortgage, college tuition for your kids, and your salary.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance is very similar to whole life. Both policies stay in effect as long as you pay the premiums and offer a cash value account.

A portion of the premiums paid is invested, which creates the cash value of the plan. However, with universal coverage, there is a range of premiums that you can pay and the policy is felxible. Universal policies allow you to adjust premium amounts and coverage amounts over time as needed.

The advantage of paying a higher amount at the beginning of the policy is that your investment grows which then pays for your premiums in the future.

As you age, your rates may increase, depending on the policy. Having accrued a large cash value allows you to use that to pay those higher premiums. This is very helpful if you plan to retire and have a limited income. You can keep your coverage and not worry about paying a high rate.

Which coverage is right for you?

Like other insurance, your life situation will determine what coverage you need, and that’s likely to change over time.

For example, if you’re young and single, you might just be looking for enough coverage to pay off your bills. If you have a family, you might want coverage that allows your family to pay off your house and be comfortable. An older person might want an investment opportunity, to pay final expenses, or to leave money to family members.

Another factor in choosing a coverage option is budget. Term life tends to be cheaper, which can make a big difference if you’re starting your career, or have a mortgage to pay.

Getting quotes from the best life insurance companies will help you decide on the right life insurance coverage type that is right for you. Compare rates and coverage limits below to find the perfect plan.