Some give coverage for your lifetime and others cover you for a specific number of years. Some build up cash values and others do not. There are two basic types of life insurance: term insurance and permanent insurance.
Term insurance generally has lower premiums in the early years, but does not build up cash values that you can use in the future. It covers you for a term of one or more years, and pays a death benefit only if you die in that term.
Permanent insurance (such as universal life, variable universal life and whole life) provides long-term financial protection. These policies include both a death benefit and, in some cases, cash savings. Because of the savings element, premiums tend to be higher than term insurance premiums.