Term life insurance generally has the lower monthly premiums of the two. You can get higher coverage for a lower monthly payment. This kind of insurance is valid only for a certain period or term, hence the name. You purchase term life insurance to cover you until the kids grow up or until retirement or for another specified time range. If you don’t make any claims against the policy, you won’t receive any benefits from this type of insurance during the life of the policy. Other types of insurance are like that, examples include home insurance and auto insurance.
Whole life insurance on the other hand is viewed as a type of investment. A portion of the money you pay each month is invested into an interest bearing account or investment vehicle thereby increasing in value over the life of the individual who purchases this type of insurance. If you were to cancel a whole life insurance policy, the insurance company would return to you the value of the investment that has accrued since you began the policy minus any fees. Given enough time, the interest on this kind of policy can even grow large enough to cover the monthly premium that is due thereby potentially giving you insurance without a monthly cost