My life insurance policy has a "cash value", what is that?

The amount that is available in cash for loans, withdrawls and/or premium payments. Accessing cash value may reduce the death benefit and may increase the risk of lapse. Withdrawals may be subject to surrender charges and could have a permanent effect on the cash value. Loans reduce the cash value and death benefit by the amount of the loan outstanding plus interest. If the policy is surrendered, the cash surrender value is paid to the policy owner.