Life Insurance for Military and Veterans

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

Members of the military community enjoy a screening-free process and the premium never changes based on age, gender, health status or tobacco use. The policies are underwritten by Prudential, a financially-strong major life insurer, and offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Military life insurance

SGLI policies include important terms and limitations 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, which is $400,000. However, service members are able to determine their specific amount of life insurance coverage, with options available in $50,000 increments from $50,000 to $400,000. Change requests need to be made in writing and your coverage will stay the same until 120 days after your separation or discharge from your service branch.

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 active 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 (including TSGLI)
$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 for the military community. Other companies also offer military life insurance if you need alternate or supplemental coverage. USAA, one of the nation’s largest insurers, is one such company, extending full life insurance to active-duty military and veterans. USAA’s life insurance protections include 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 several different life insurance options when they leave the military:

Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

Veteran’s Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is the standard veterans’ coverage. When you leave the military, you have up to one year and 120 days from your discharge to apply for a 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)

Service-Disabled Veterans’ Life Insurance (SDVI) is a special kind of life insurance coverage that is designed for veterans with a recent service-connected disability. To qualify for an SDVI policy, 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)

The Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) program caters specifically to disabled veterans who are eligible for a VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant. With a VMLI policy, you have the option to add life insurance coverage based on your needs.

Other life insurance options for military families

Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) is an option that extends coverage to spouses of uniformed servicemembers and dependent children. FSGLI provides a term life insurance benefit of up to $100,000 for a member’s spouse, and $10,000 for dependent children.

How to determine the right policy

With so many policy options and acronyms, it can be difficult to decipher the tangled web of VA benefits. That is why Bankrate 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 and your family.

Type of Policy Who It Benefits Policy Advantages
ACTIVE-DUTY
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 status requirements
VETERANS
Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI) Veteran
New disability rating for service-connected condition within last two years
$10,000
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 age 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
TRANSITIONAL
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 VA 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, private insurer USAA, which exclusively serves the military community, also provides a variety of excellent life insurance policy options. The Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) recommends you review various options to determine which kind of coverage best works for you and your family based on your current military status and future plans.

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 Reviews.com. She previously worked for Morgan Stanley.
Edited by
Senior Insurance Editor
Reviewed by
Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute