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whole life insurance

Whole life insurance refers to permanent life insurance that provides for the payment of the face value upon death of the insured, regardless of when it may occur.

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This contrasts with term insurance, which pays benefits only if death takes place during the limited term of the policy. Under whole life policies, the insured pays a level premium rate all of their life. This approach results in an overpayment of premiums in the early years of the policy and an underpayment in the latter years, which averages out over the life of the policy. Whole life insurance also accumulates a cash value that the insured may borrow or otherwise use.


Permanent life insurance