One great feature on whole life insurance is the premium offset option. This is where the dividend on a whole life policy becomes large enough to cover the full amount of the premium. This in turn gives the policy owner the option to stop paying the premium and let the dividend cover it. It is not guaranteed that the dividend will remain large enough to cover the premium forever, but often it will be the case.
The premium offset is also known in the insurance world as a paid up policy. We usually will illustrate that for our whole life clients when they are buying a policy or if they want to see where there policy stands. Ask your agent for an in-force policy illustration, to see the status of your policy. While stopping paying the premiums may seem like a dream come true, it is often not nearly as beneficial as continuing to pay the premium. For example, if the policy has been going for 15 years, everytime you make a premium payment the cash value jumps. I have seen policies that actually have a dividend which is many multiples of the premium.
The death benefit in a whole life policy over time will typically grow as well if you select the paid up dividend option. If you do premium offset the policy, it tends to level off the death benefit. I think a lot of people are just happy to not have to pay premium anymore. Both options are good and they are a couple reasons why whole life is so popular.