Veterans life insurance policies can protect veterans and their families and provide them with invaluable peace of mind.
Recognizing that not all families need the same types or amounts of insurance, the VA offers a variety of life insurance programs. Among their most popular options are Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI), Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) and Family Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (FSGLI).
Program policies, rates and coverage vary widely. In some cases, servicemembers are automatically enrolled in a policy when they enlist in any military branch. Other policies and extended coverage must be purchased intentionally by servicemembers or their families. Many policies can be transferred between VA insurance programs or converted to commercial policies when service members leave the military.
United States military service members are automatically issued Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) upon enlistment in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. Some members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) also qualify for automatic VA life insurance enrollment, as do the following:
The Armed Forces initially provide all qualifying servicemembers with $400,000 in coverage. Enrollees are free to cancel their SGLI coverage at any time. They can also elect to carry lower levels of coverage or to change the beneficiaries of their policies whenever they wish.
SGLI policies also include traumatic injury coverage and VA life insurance benefits for spouses and dependent children. Spouses who are themselves enlisted and covered under their own SGLI policies cannot also be covered under their partners’ policies. SGLI enrollees can update, adjust and otherwise engage with their policies via the VA’s online insurance management system, SOES.
Servicemembers Group Life Insurance coverage remains in effect for 120 days after policy holders separate from the military. In the event that a policy holder is completely disabled upon separation, he or she may be eligible for a 2-year policy extension. When the 2-year period concludes, disabled servicemembers’ SGLI policies may be converted to VGLI policies, ensuring seamless coverage.
Monthly Servicemembers Group Life Insurance premiums are deducted from enrollees’ pay automatically. On average, premiums range from $3 to $30 per month, depending on the level of coverage. Enrollees have 120 days from the time of separation to convert their SGLI policies into commercial policies, if they desire. Policyholders are not required to prove that they are in good health when converting policies.
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Military life insurance policies may only be converted to whole life commercial policies. Term, Variable Life and Universal Life policies are not acceptable. Not all benefits are guaranteed to convert. For instance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage may not translate to the commercial policy and will need to be purchased separately.
Family Servicemembers Group Life Insurance(FSGLI) supplements SGLI policies by supplying term life insurance for the spouses and children of SGLI-enrolled military servicemembers. Unlike SGLI policies, FSGLI coverage does cover military spouses serving on Active Duty themselves.
Military spouses may be insured for up to $100,000. Dependent children may be insured for up to $10,000. There is no cost to servicemembers to insure their children, but all spousal coverage requires paying monthly insurance premiums. VA insurance coverage for dependent children cannot be altered, refused or discontinued. Spousal coverage in completely optional and may be reduced, refused or ended at policy holders’ discretion.
Veterans life insurance for children and spouses can be purchased and managed through the VA’s online SOES system. Qualifying policyholders in the Public Health Service cannot access SOES and must handle their policies manually through their assigned Personnel Offices.
Dependent children are covered under Family Servicemembers Group Life Insurance free of charge until they turn 18 years old. Extended coverage is available for children who are permanently disabled before turning 18 years old or who enroll full-time in approved higher education programs. Military life insurance for servicemembers’ spouses can be purchased in $10,000 increments. Premiums for FSGLI coverage increase with covered spouses’ age. Like SGLI premiums, FSGLI costs are deducted from servicemembers’ pay monthly.
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FSGLI veterans life insurance policies can be converted to commercial policies in 120 days or less of servicemembers’ separation from the military. Policies may also be converted if the service member and the covered spouse divorce or the service member passes away. Covered spouses will not be required to prove that they are in good health, but standard commercial premiums will apply. Policies may only be converted to whole life commercial policies. Families may also be eligible for VA burial benefits in the event that a service member or veteran passes away.
Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) allows former servicemembers to keep their insurance coverage when they leave the military. Veterans may continue to receive life insurance through the VA for the rest of their lives, so long as they pay the associated premiums. VGLI enrollees’ coverage caps are determined by the amount of SGLI coverage they held upon separation from the military.
For instance, if a veteran held $100,000 of SGLI insurance at the time he or she retired or was honorably discharged, he or she may hold Veterans Group Life Insurance in $10,000 increments up to a maximum of $100,000 indefinitely after separation. For every 5 years that a veteran holds VGLI coverage, he or she will be offered the option to increase his or her coverage by $25,000. Veterans will cease to be offered the opportunity to increase their policies when they reach $400,000 or 60 years of age, whichever comes first.
Applicants convert other eligible military life insurance policies to VGLI policies within 120 days of separating from the military. They may purchase new VGLI policies for up to 1 year and 120 days after separation. After 240 days post-separation, however, enrollees may be subject to health questions that would otherwise not apply. Veterans Group Life Insurance premiums are age-adjusted and increase as policy holders age.
The VA also offers military life insurance in the form of Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) policies and the Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) program. S-DVI offers term and permanent insurance coverage of up to $10,000 for qualifying veterans with service-related disabilities. Veterans deemed to be totally disabled may be eligible for premium-free coverage and increased coverage caps of up to $30,000.
Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance policies assist veterans’ families in paying off the mortgages of their homes after the passing of a severely disabled servicemember or veteran. VMLI veterans life insurance must be purchased before the veteran in question turns 70 years of age. Benefits are capped at $200,000.
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