Taking care of the families of fallen servicemembers is an obligation the military takes very seriously. Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, or SGLI, forms the backbone of that care. 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 service-members’ families.
Military members enjoy a screening-free process, and the rates never change based on age, sex, health or tobacco use. The policies are administered by Prudential through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and with 7.1 million people insured through the VA, it’s the nation’s 7th largest insurer.
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 servicemembers automatically receive the maximum amount of coverage for a total of a $400,000 policy. From there, servicemembers 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, servicemembers 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|
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
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 servicemember’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’s why we created this handy guide, breaking down each kind of life insurance policy and who it’s best for, so you can find the best life insurance option for you.
|Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)||Servicemembers||Up to $400,000 available in $50,000 increments||
|Traumatic Injury Protection Under SGLI (TSGLI)||Servicemembers||$25,000-$100,000||
|Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)||Spouse and children of Military Member||Up to 120 days from event for coverage without health requirements||
|Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI)||Veteran||$10,000||
|Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Disability Extension (SGLI-DE)||Veteran||Free coverage eligible for 2 years from date of separation||
|Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance||Veteran||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||Free for 120 days after separation or retirement||
|Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) National Guard and Reserve||Retiring National Guard and Reserve||Free for 120 days after separation or retirement||
|Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) Temporary Disability Retired List (TDLR)||Servicemembers 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||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 servicemembers 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.