Life Insurance

Life Insurance Coverage for Veterans and Their Family Members

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Current and former military service members and their families can benefit from the financial security that comes with having a life insurance policy. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers multiple policies that provide affordable coverage for current servicemembers, veterans, and their families. However, there are limitations, including the amount of the death benefit associated with each policy.

Keep reading to learn more about the best life insurance for veterans and their families, plus when to choose a private policy instead.

Veterans' life insurance explained

There are a number of life insurance policies available from the VA. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular options for current and former servicemembers.

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

Eligible servicemembers may qualify for life insurance coverage of up to $400,000 through the SGLI program. Monthly premiums are affordable and vary based on coverage amount. 

The lowest policy benefit is $50,000, which requires just a $3 monthly premium. The maximum coverage amount is $400,000, which has a monthly premium of $24. All policies also require an additional $1 monthly premium for Traumatic Injury Protection coverage (TSGLI). This program provides short-term financial help for servicemembers recovering from major injuries incurred during active duty.

SGLI coverage isn’t mandatory. Additionally, you can change your policy at any point. You may start with a less expensive policy, then upgrade as life changes, whether it’s having kids, earning more money, or buying a house.

Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)

When you’re an active duty servicemember with an SGLI policy, you can also get extra insurance for military families. Both spouses and dependent children may get coverage. A spouse can get a policy for up to $100,000, but that cannot exceed the servicemember’s coverage. Premiums are based on age and increase every five years. Policies for dependent children are free and offer coverage of $10,000 each. 

Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

When you leave the service, you can convert your policy within one year and 120 days of leaving active duty. As long as you sign up for a policy within that timeframe, you can keep your policy active. Just be sure to keep current with your premiums; otherwise your policy will lapse. 

VGLI policies convert from SGLI, so your coverage amount will equal your most recent policy from active duty. You can then increase your policy by $25,000 in five-year increments until you turn 60. 

Just like SGLI, the maximum VGLI coverage is $400,000. Premiums, however, depend on your age. Unlike traditional term policies, veterans' life insurance rates increase as you get older.

Life insurance for military veterans with disabilities

Another type of veterans' life insurance policy is Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI). The disability must be directly related to active duty service. The basic policy offers $10,000 of coverage, and fully disabled servicemembers can apply for up to $30,000 more. Like most other VA life insurance policies, the premium is based on age and the amount of coverage. Totally disabled veterans may be able to get their premiums waived. 

In addition to S-DVI, disabled service members may also qualify for Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI). Instead of leaving your heirs a cash benefit, this type of policy is used to pay off your remaining mortgage. However, in order to qualify, you must also get approved for the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant to help make your home more accessible. 

Is VGLI worth it?

There are pros and cons to applying for a VGLI policy after leaving active duty. One of the benefits is that this type of life insurance is guaranteed. You’re never turned away based on your medical history or your age, as long as you enroll in time after leaving the service. It’s a good option if you have a pre-existing condition

However, your premium isn’t locked in and increases every year. Additionally, you’re also limited on how much you can increase your policy and how often. If you want to provide your family with additional coverage, you’d need to get an entirely new plan. 

How to switch from VGLI life insurance to a private policy

You may eventually grow out of your VLGI policy. In that event, you can apply for either term or whole life insurance. But it’s smart to shop around for quotes before canceling VLGI. That way you don’t run the risk of leaving your family uncovered if something unexpected happens to you between policies. Alternatively, you could keep your VGLI policy and simply add on another policy to boost your death benefit. 

Find out if a private online life insurance policy is better than your VGLI coverage. And just like VGLI, Ethos policies don’t require a medical exam, you just need to answer a few health questions. Get your quote now!

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