Life Insurance for Military and Veterans

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As a service member or veteran, there are quite a few benefits that members of the military enjoy, from on-post housing to free healthcare, but one of the most important is the comprehensive life insurance plans in place to protect the families of service members. Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, or SGLI, forms the backbone of that care.

Military members enjoy a screening-free process and the rates never change based on age, gender, health or tobacco use. The policies are administered by Prudential through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). With 7.1 million people insured through the VA, it is the nation’s 7th largest insurer.

Military life insurance

The VA’s Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, also known as SGLI, comes directly from the VA. However, there are some certain terms and limitations that every military member needs to know.

Military-Provided Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

When you are an active duty member of the military, one of the benefits you receive is life insurance through the VA’s Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program. Newly enlisted service members automatically receive the maximum amount of coverage for a total of a $400,000 policy. From there, service members can decide how much life insurance they want, with options available in $50,000 increments from $50,000 to $400,000. All you have to do is request the change in writing, and your coverage will stay the same until 120 days after your separation or discharge.

As a part of SGLI coverage, service members also automatically receive Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) benefits. Should you experience certain losses during duty, such as blindness or an amputation, you will receive payments through this policy. All coverage carries a TSGLI premium of $1.00.

SGLI Premium Rates, effective 7/1/19

Coverage Amount Monthly Premium Total Monthly Premium Deduction
$400,000 $24 $25
$350,000 $21 $22
$300,000 $18 $19
$250,000 $15 $16
$200,000 $12 $13
$150,000 $9 $10
$100,000 $6 $7
$50,000 $3 $4

Qualifications for SGLI

To benefit from SGLI coverage, you must be an eligible member of one of these military institutions.

  • Active-duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard
  • Commissioned members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)
  • Members, cadets and midshipmen of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), the Ready Reserve or National Guard
  • Volunteer in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) mobilization category

Other insurance options for active military

Though popular, SGLI is not the only option for life insurance. Other companies also offer military life insurance if you need alternate or supplemental coverage. USAA is one such company, extending full life insurance to service members. There are protections like a severe injury benefit, coverage during time of war, and guaranteed SGLI replacement, even for disabled military service members and veterans.

Life insurance options for veterans

Veterans have the option of a few different life insurance options when they leave the military:

Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

This is the standard veterans’ coverage. When you leave the military, you have up to 1 year and 120 days from your discharge to apply for a Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policy. This covers up to the amount of coverage that you carried with your SGLI policy while you were enlisted and continues as lifetime renewable term coverage.

Service-Disabled Veterans’ Life Insurance (S-DVI)

This is a special kind of life insurance coverage that is designed for veterans with a recent service-connected disability. You must have received a VA rating for your new rated disability within the last two years, unless you are fully disabled and then you receive free coverage.

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)

This program caters specifically to disabled veterans who are eligible for a VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant. You have the option to add life insurance coverage based on your needs.

Other life insurance options for military families

Coverage is available in increments of $10,000 from $10,000 to $100,000, and the monthly premium rate depends on your age. These payments typically are deducted via the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEER) or paid from your service member’s pay.

Coverage for dependents under the age of eighteen is free, and coverage may continue after the age of 18 if the child is either a full-time student or is unable to support themselves due to a permanent disability.

How to determine the right policy

With so many policies and acronyms, it can be difficult to decipher the tangled web of VA benefits. That is why we created this handy guide, breaking down each kind of life insurance policy and who it is best for, so you can find the best life insurance option for you.

Type of Policy Who It Benefits Policy Advantages
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Active-duty military
Commissioned members of NOAA/USPHS
ROTC, the Ready Reserve or National Guard
Volunteers for IRR mobilization
Up to $400,000 available in $50,000 increments
Traumatic Injury Protection Under SGLI (TSGLI) Surviving service members who experience a qualifying traumatic event or loss $25,000-$100,000
Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) For Spouse and children of Military Member when:
Death, divorce or separation from SGLI member
Servicemember declines SGLI coverage
Servicemember declines spousal coverage
Up to 120 days from event for coverage without health requirements
Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI) Veteran
New disability rating for service-connected condition within last two years
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Disability Extension (SGLI-DE) Veteran
Must be totally disabled at time of discharge
Free coverage eligible for 2 years from date of separation
Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance Veteran
Must be younger than 70
Own or co-own property
Must repay the loan
SAH grant to cover expenses associated with building or remodeling a primary residence to adapt to service-related disability
Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) Active Retiring Active Duty
Must convert SGLI coverage before 1 year and 20 days from discharge
Free for 120 days after separation or retirement
Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) National Guard and Reserve Retiring National Guard and Reserve
Must convert SGLI coverage before 1 year and 20 days from discharge
Free for 120 days after separation or retirement
Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) Temporary Disability Retired List (TDLR) Service members or veterans with a new disability rating Free for 120 days after placement on Temporary Disability Retired List
Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) Individual Ready Reserve Retiring IRR volunteers
Must convert SGLI coverage before 1 year and 20 days from discharge
Free for 120 days after IRR

Frequently asked questions

What is the best life insurance?

The Veterans Administration offers some of the best life insurance options for military service members and their families. However, you will want to review your options to see which kind of coverage best works for you and where you are in your military career.

Where can I find help with my military life insurance?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides free financial counseling and customer support through many outlets. You will be assigned a Command Financial Specialist and have the option to work with a Financial Readiness Counselor.

How do I manage my military life insurance policy?

The VA allows all users the option to manage your policy online. You can use this online portal to securely access and manage your policy, including updating beneficiaries, filing claims and checking claims status. You can also request a decision review or convert your policy from a VA policy to a commercial one.

Written by
Lena Borrelli
Insurance Contributor
Lena Muhtadi Borrelli has several years of experience in writing for insurance domains such as allconnect, Healthline and She previously worked for Morgan Stanley.