Life insurance has many uses.  The main one, of course, is the financial protection of loved ones in the event that the breadwinner of the family dies while there are still mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay.  There are two common types of life insurance.  Those are "term insurance" and "whole life" or "permanent life" insurance.  Term insurance policies cover the life of the insured for a period of time, or "term."  Usually these are 10 years or 20 years, but they can vary.  A common example would be a 20 year term policy with a $1M face value.  This is a very affordable way to protect loved ones.

Whole life insurance works a bit differently.  With a whole life policy, the owner pays usually a much larger amount than with a term policy.  This premium payment lasts for a certain period of time, and the policy is guaranteed to pay out, either when the insured dies, or when the policy matures or "endows."  This usually only happens if the insured reaches 100 years old.

There are other types of whole life policies such as variable and universal.  Those can get a bit tricky but I'd be happy to discuss the features, benefits and potential drawbacks of each with you.