If you want your beneficiary (child, friend, dog, church) to receive a guaranteed amount of compensation when you pass away, then whole life insurance provides one of the simplest and safest ways to do it. Whole life insurance covers you for your entire lifetime. You will have to pay your premiums as agreed in order to keep your insurance coverage. The insurance provider may invest part of your life insurance, and if investments perform well you may receive returns which will build your equity. This interest is normally quite low compared to other, more risky life insurances, but your insurance benefit is guaranteed. This means that as long as you pay your premiums, the agreed upon amount will be paid out when you die.
Premiums for whole life insurance can be paid in several ways, which you will have to decide on when taking out a policy. In most cases, a fixed premium is paid for the duration of the life insurance contract (until you die), but there are other options. Limited pay whole life lets you pay larger premiums for a shorter period of time. This provides an easy way to "get it over with" in as little as 5 years, and not have to worry about paying premiums afterward.
Some policies also allow you to start of with low premiums, which then increase as time passes. This option is helpful for those who are just starting out in their professional life, such as students, as you can make very low, affordable payments when you first take out your whole life insurance policy, and then make bigger payments as time passes and your income grows.