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Former service members in the United States military may be able to keep their life insurance coverage after leaving the military by way of the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) program. These life insurance policies provide death benefits to veterans’ designated beneficiaries to help cover after-life expenses, such as funeral costs and decedent taxes. Especially for veterans with pre-existing conditions, VGLI policies may offer competitive rates for coverage based solely on age, making it a potentially budget-friendly solution for those who wish to continue coverage after leaving the military.
What is Veterans’ Group Life Insurance?
Veterans’ Group Life Insurance is life insurance coverage offered to former service members of the United States military. Like other life insurance policies, VGLI pays a cash benefit to designated beneficiaries to help them pay with outstanding expenses in the event of the policy holder’s death. The policy is offered as a conversion of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage into a renewable term life insurance policy following a former servicemember’s departure from the armed forces.
VGLI policies have a maximum coverage limit of $400,000, which is issued in $10,000 increments up to the amount of SGLI coverage the policyholder had at the time they separated from service. Policies may be converted at any time to individual commercial life insurance policies with participating commercial insurance companies.
Who is Eligible for VGLI Insurance?
In order to qualify for VGLI insurance, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Held a part-time SGLI policy as a member of the National Guard or Reserves, and sustained an injury or disability while serving the disqualifies you from securing standard insurance rates. This may include injuries or disability incurred as a result of traveling to and from duty.
- Held an SGLI policy and are within one year and 120 days of being released from active duty.
- Are within a year and four months of retiring or being released from the Ready Reserves or National Guard.
- Are within a year and four months of assignment to the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) or the Inactive National Guard (ING), including members of the United States Public Health Service Inactive Reserve Corps (IRC).
- Are within a year and four months of being placed on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL).
It is important to note that only veterans and former service members are covered by VGLI policies.
Cost of VGLI Insurance
VGLI insurance premiums are determined primarily based on age and the amount of coverage the service member wants. Gender, tobacco use, occupation and recreational activities are among the factors that do not affect rates, as they commonly do with other life insurance carriers. The following table outlines a few VGLI examples of what policyholders will pay based on the age group in which they belong:
|Coverage amount||Age <29||Age 40 – 44||Age 60 – 64||Age 75<|
How to Apply for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance
In order to receive VGLI benefits, service members will need to apply for VGLI within one year and 120 days (or about four months) of leaving the military. If a service member signs up within 240 days of leaving the military, they will not be required to prove they are in good health. Members who sign up after the 240-day period will need to provide evidence that they are in good health in order to be eligible for coverage. There are three different ways that service members can apply for coverage:
- Submit an application to the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI) through the Prudential website.
- Submit an application online through eBenefits.
- Submit an application via fax or mail at 800-236-6142 or OSGLI PO Box 41618, Philadelphia, PA 19176-9913
If a service member needs to reinstate an expired policy, they may do so by filling out an Application for Reinstatement of VGLI Coverage and mailing or faxing to the aforementioned address or fax number.
Is VGLI Worth It?
VGLI can be an affordable life insurance solution for service members who have left the military. Especially for those who have suffered an injury or disability as a result of serving in the armed forces, this insurance option seeks to provide affordable coverage for those who otherwise may not qualify for standard premium rates in the civilian marketplace.
While the VGLI package you receive through the military may not offer other benefits, such as cash value, policyholders can convert to commercial coverage at any time through the list of participating insurance providers without the need to prove they are in good health. For service members looking to protect themselves and their families at an affordable rate, it may be worth it to take advantage of the available VGLI policies through the armed forces.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best life insurance company?
The best life insurance company largely depends on your individual needs and preferences. To find an insurance provider capable of meeting your coverage needs, refer to our list of Best Life Insurance Companies to start your comparison-shopping.
How much life insurance do I need?
When selecting a life insurance policy, you likely need to first assess your current financial situation and determine how much money is necessary in order for your beneficiaries to maintain their current standard of living, or at least to be covered for outstanding expenses. It may be best to speak with a financial advisor to get an accurate estimate. It is important to evaluate your life insurance needs annually, as life events may alter your coverage needs.
How is my life insurance premium determined?
Through VGLI, your life insurance premium is determined solely based on your age group and coverage amount. In the standard marketplace, insurance carriers usually factor in gender, occupation, recreational activities, and general health to determine the total cost of your premium.