Yes, whole life and universal life insurance policies are considered permanent life insurance and do accumulate cash value that can be used for numerous things. The typical whole life insurance policy takes 5 to 7 years to accumulate cash as the first few years cover the cost of insurance. There are ways to maximize your premiums to build cash value if that is your goal. An experienced insurance agent can show you your options to minimum fund, target fund and maximum fund your whole life insurance policy. Your cash value can later be used to pay up your premiums, retirement funds, children college fund or even cash for a critical illness.