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5 Different Types of Life Insurance

Learn more about the different types of life insurance to determine which one might be right for you.

Compare Life Insurance

CompanyPolicies offeredOnline purchaseWhat We LikeLearn More
Ethos Life Insurance - Roundup

Ethos

Get a quote
on Ethos
Term, permanent & no-exam
Yes
  • No medical exam required.
  • Fully digital application.
  • Offers both term and whole life insurance online.
Get a quote
on Ethos
Ladder Life Insurance

Ladder

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on Ladder
Term & no-exam
Yes
  • Quick online application.
  • Most applicants won't need a medical exam.
  • Coverage limits up to $8 million.
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on Ladder
Fabric Life Insurance - SEM

Fabric

Get a quote
on Fabric
Term & no-exam
Yes
  • Simple online and mobile application process.
  • 1% of death benefit coverage amount donated to a charity of the policyholder’s choice.
  • Some applicants won’t need a medical exam for term life insurance.
Get a quote
on Fabric
Life insurance is there to help reduce the financial burden on your loved ones when the inevitable happens. But every life insurance policy is different.
Whether you want to make sure your spouse can continue paying the bills if you die unexpectedly or you simply want to cover your own funeral costs, the best type of life insurance ultimately comes down to your needs and budget.
Learn more about the different types of life insurance to determine which one might be right for you.

Term Life Insurance

Best for: Most people. Term life insurance is a simple, low-cost policy, and its main purpose is to replace your income when you die.
How it works: Term life insurance is typically sold in lengths of one, five, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. Coverage amounts vary depending on the policy but can go into the millions. Most people buy term life insurance for a length long enough to cover their prime working years. That way, if they die early, they can help a surviving spouse or other beneficiary meet short-term financial needs like paying off a mortgage or supporting their kids through college.

Whole Life Insurance

Best for: Those who want a straightforward permanent policy and can afford the higher premiums.
How it works: Whole life insurance typically lasts your entire life, as long as you keep up with premiums. It’s the closest thing to “set it and forget it” life insurance you’ll find. In general, your premiums stay the same, you get a guaranteed rate of return on the policy’s cash value, and the death benefit amount doesn’t change.

Universal Life Insurance

Best for: People who want permanent life insurance that can flex to future needs.
How it works: A few policies fall under the universal life insurance umbrellas. But generally, this type of coverage allows you to adjust your premiums (within limits) and has a cash value component that grows based on market interest rates. Premiums typically increase over time, forcing you to increase your premium payments or cover rising costs by subtracting from your cash value account or death benefit. Universal life insurance is different from indexed universal life insurance — with those policies, the cash value growth is tied to a stock or bond index like the S&P 500.

Variable Life Insurance

Best for: Those with a higher risk tolerance who want greater control over their cash value investments.
How it works: This type of cash value life insurance is tied to investment accounts, such as bonds and mutual funds. Variable life insurance premiums are typically fixed and the death benefit is guaranteed, regardless of how the market fares. If you’re considering a policy like this, a fee-only financial advisor — a planner who doesn’t earn commissions based on product sales — can help you choose the best one.

Burial Insurance

Best for: People who want to cover their own funeral, burial and other end-of-life expenses.
How it works: Also known as final expense insurance, burial insurance is a small whole life insurance policy that is meant to help your family pay for your funeral, burial and other expenses after your death, like outstanding medical bills. The death benefit is guaranteed and typically ranges from $5,000 to $25,000.

Term Life Insurance Providers

CompanyPolicies offeredOnline purchaseWhat We LikeLearn More
Ethos Life Insurance - Roundup

Ethos

Get a quote
on Ethos
Term, permanent & no-exam
Yes
  • No medical exam required.
  • Fully digital application.
  • Offers both term and whole life insurance online.
Get a quote
on Ethos
Ladder Life Insurance

Ladder

Get a quote
on Ladder
Term & no-exam
Yes
  • Quick online application.
  • Most applicants won't need a medical exam.
  • Coverage limits up to $8 million.
Get a quote
on Ladder
Fabric Life Insurance - SEM

Fabric

Get a quote
on Fabric
Term & no-exam
Yes
  • Simple online and mobile application process.
  • 1% of death benefit coverage amount donated to a charity of the policyholder’s choice.
  • Some applicants won’t need a medical exam for term life insurance.
Get a quote
on Fabric