You simply set a term (e.g. 20 years) you want the life insurance to be active for, and how much you want (e.g. $300,000). You pay your monthly premium, and if you die within the “term” $300,000 is paid out to whomever you choose. The younger you are whenever you purchase a policy, the cheaper premiums will be.
In Whole-Life you have a set premium until you pass away (or until you cancel the policy). These premiums are usually higher than term-life insurance premiums. However, since you would hopefully keep it longer than term, it can turn out to be about equal. Like term life insurance, you have a death benefit. That is the amount of money that will be paid out at your death. However you are able to do more with a whole life policy. That death benefit number can also be used like a savings account and accessed before death. If you take money out, that amount will be subtracted from the death benefit total amount.
Universal Life is similar to Whole-Life in that it has a cash value, and a death benefit. However, the primary advantage of a universal life policy is that it is interest sensitive. That means that it is similar to an investment that grow over time. So, you can grow the value of your account, and ultimately grow your death benefit. Another benefit of a universal life policy is the ability to make adjustments. You can lower your death benefit at some point, and also lower your premiums.
The cost and availability of Life Insurance depend on factors such as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Before implementing a strategy involving life insurance, it would be prudent to make sure that you are insurable first by having the policy approved.