Term insurance exists for a finite amount of time: one, five, 20, about up to 30 years. It has no cash accumulation, and its sole purpose is for paying out a death benefit. Permanent insurance can exist for a desired amount of time, including your entire life. It can have tax-deferred cash accumulation and provide the owner with tax-free income. Both policies, if structured properly, will pay out a tax-free benefit, should the insured pass away.