One of oldest forms of saving for our families, life insurance policies are a good way of making certain that you pass no future burdens to the next generation. Of the two major types, term and permanent, only the second option includes a savings quotient, but they're both ways to ensure your family is taken care of.
Term life pays out a fixed amount, only if something happens during the term of the policy: It's "insurance" in the simplest form of the word. Permanent life insurance comes in varying flavors, but basically comes down to the fact that you're growing cash value as you contribute to the account, usually through contributions to a portfolio in addition to savings in the main account -- and you can even borrow against it as it grows. (It's better not to do that, of course, but this illustrates how it works.)
A financial advisor can tell you lots of different ways to combine these sorts of policies with other products and solutions, or which policy is best for you. It's a complicated system. But for straight-ahead, interest-bearing death benefits, remember to buy when you're healthy, and concentrate on the rates involved. Simple in theory and sometimes complex in practice, there's still a reason this is one of the savings steps families have taken for generations.