It really is going to depend on your financial goals and needs for the future. A “term” life insurance policy is a great way to ensure that you have short term coverage for larger liabilities that are most likely to lie in the near future. A “term” policy is going to be much less expensive and provide a larger amount of coverage than a “full life” policy which is great for covering major bills like your mortgage and ensuring that your family has the financial resources they need, if you’re not present. A “full life” policy is appropriate, if you foresee needing coverage for a longer period of time, but it is more expensive and generally only a good investment if you are planning to hold the policy for 15 years or more.
A good alternative to trying to chart your most likely needs, if they aren’t clear, may be to carry a smaller amount of each coverage. This option would give you the security of a larger short term policy coupled with the long term value of a “full life” insurance policy. Your major bills would be covered in the short term, and if you needed the cash value of the longer term policy either for future emergencies or estate planning it too would still be available to you, albeit both in somewhat smaller amounts.