Term life is considered the simplest, most accessible insurance policy. Term life lasts for a predetermined period of time, known as the term. When the term is up, the policy expires. If you die before the term is up, a set amount of money, known as the death benefit, is paid to your designated beneficiary. The death benefit can be paid out as a lump sum, a monthly payment, or an annuity. Most people elect to receive their death benefit as a lump sum.