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For a couple in their 30's purchasing a home, Term life insurance may be best and most affordable. It can be inexpensive for a large amount of coverage, and the need will theoretically end when the mortgage ends, so you can tailor the term to fit the years of the mortgage. Choosing a convertible policy will ensure that life insurance is available even if a serious health problem arises.
For a healthy woman in her 60's looking for final expense insurance, taking Term coverage would not be a good idea. If the term ends before she passes, there may well be no affordable way to extend or replace that policy. It would be far better to lock in a permanent rate while she is healthy.
Coverage for a short period of time say 20 years or less? Pretty much always term for premium cost. However, if you are seeking your money back with a reasonable return, universal life may the the answer. You can see there are variables withing variables depending on your needs.
For long periods of time, greater than 20 years or lifetime, permanent is usually the best answer. While expensive upfront, the cost is locked in and doesn't increase over time and usually provides a return that builds cash values.
Simple rule of thumb is term is the cheapest to start with, the most expensive to finish with. Whole life is the most expensive to start with, but the cheapest in the long run.