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The primary purpose of life insurance is to financially protect your family in the event of your death. Properly positioned, the benefit from a life insurance policy can provide a steady stream of income for your family and liquid capital to pay off any obligations.

There are two broad types of life insurance, term and permanent, with variations in each of these.

Term insurance is purchased for a certain period of time. When the term expires, you are no longer insured. Term insurance generally costs less than permanent life insurance on an annual basis for the same coverage.

Permanent life insurance, on the other hand, can provide lifetime coverage, as long as the policy is kept in force. You pay premiums for a specified period and then your insurance is in force for the rest of your life. In addition to providing a death benefit, permanent insurance has the potential to build cash value, so it generally costs more.