Term life vs. permanent life insurance: What’s the difference?

June 04, 2024

2-minute read

Group term life insurance through the Texas Group Benefits Program (GBP) can help protect against the unexpected loss of life. Often people wonder, though, about needs and protection outside of what an employer offers.

What is term life insurance?

Child high-fiving father while being carried by grandfather

Term life insurance, offered through the GBP, provides a cost-effective solution to temporarily bulk up your level of protection when your family needs it most, usually to help replace your salary if you were to die during your working years. If you have health insurance through the GBP, your benefit includes Basic Term Life Insurance that pays $2,500 to your beneficiary upon your death. This benefit is at no cost to you. There also is additional life insurance at a cost, which includes Optional Term Life Insurance or the Retiree Fixed Optional Life Insurance. But if you are interested in coverage and protection beyond what the GBP offers, you can purchase permanent (sometimes called “whole”) life coverage from an insurance company.

What is permanent life insurance?

Permanent life insurance (not offered through the GBP) is a solution wellsuited for end-of-life expenses—such as medical bills, funeral costs, estate management, etc. It’s generally more expensive than term insurance, due to its life-long nature. It can, therefore, be something you select as your base. Purchase only the amount of coverage your family will truly need for final expenses you associate with dying late in life.

Consider your options

To help you evaluate whether you need additional life insurance protection as a retiree, you can find more information about your options on the Securian website, including a handout that can help you understand the differences in term life insurance versus whole/permanent life insurance and your options as a retiree.

Use the information to help you evaluate whether your loved ones need you to continue Optional Term Life Insurance protection through the GBP. Consider their financial needs in the face of your death, along with any other life insurance and savings you have.


The Securian Financial website includes a variety of other resources, along with full details about the insurance program via the Retiree Benefits Book. You may also contact Securian Financial’s Austin service office at austinbranchoffice@securian.com or (877) 494-1716.