Permanent insurance - which includes "whole" life - is designed to offer coverage no matter when you die. Even if you stick around into your 90s, the policy will pay out to your beneficiary. A whole life plan also gains cash value as you pay into it. You can even borrow against it if you need extra cash.
The bottom line is this. You earn money to raise a family. If you disappear tomorrow, the death benefit can replace the income you would have earned for whatever length of time you choose. It gives your family comfort, and it gives you peace of mind.
When you die - and hopefully we're talking years from now - having the right policy in place can help your loved ones recover financially from the loss.
There are different types of life insurance, but they generally fall under two broad categories: term and permanent. Term life insurance is what it sounds like - life insurance for a defined period of time. Could be 20 years, could be 30, or virtually any length of time. If you die during the term, your beneficiary will receive the death benefit. If you don't die during the term, well, that's good!