Veterans have a lot of choices when it comes to life insurance. Both the government and private companies offer coverage.
Since many current service members already have coverage through the government, the Department of Veterans Affairs gives veterans the option to change their policy to either a veteran’s life insurance policy or a policy from a private insurance company.
If you need more life insurance than what the Department of Veterans Affairs can provide, you can always apply for coverage on your own through a private insurance company.
Here is a list of your choices for life insurance to help you choose the best one.
Group life insurance plans, such as the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI), are available to service members and their families.
Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) can provide short-term financial coverage for people who have been hurt badly and need money to help them get better.
When it’s time to leave active service, the Department of Veterans Affairs gives you more options for life insurance.
Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
Soldiers’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) lets soldiers and former service members keep their group life insurance coverage after they leave the military as long as they keep paying their premiums. To keep their benefits, service members must have had Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI).
Veterans can get between $10,000 and $400,000 in coverage, based on how much coverage they had with their former SGLI insurance. You can also raise the limits of your coverage by $25,000 every five years, up to $400,000, until you turn 60.
Veterans must apply for VGLI coverage within one year and 120 days of leaving the military to be eligible. People who apply within 240 days won’t have to show proof that they are healthy. After 240 days, soldiers must show that they are in good health in order to get the treatment.
Veterans must meet at least one of the following standards, in addition to having SGLI coverage, to be eligible for treatment:
- Got a part-time job at SGLI as a member of the National Guard or Reserve and got hurt or sick while on duty (including on the way to or from duty), which kept you from getting regular monthly insurance rates.
- SGLI while in the service and have been out of active duty for more than 31 days and less than one year and 120 days.
- Are leaving the Ready Reserves of the National Guard (within the next year and a half) or are retired?
- Are being sent to the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) (within a year and a half and two months)
- Are being put on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL) (within a year and a half)
With a VGLI policy, you can also change the coverage from group life insurance to an individual policy. You can change your religion without having to show proof that you are healthy. To start the process, call a private insurance company that is taking part. These businesses are:
- Bankers Life and Casualty Co., EMC, American Fidelity Life Insurance Co. Life Insurance Co. of Alabama, National Life Co., and Guardian Life Insurance Co.
- Prudential Insurance Co. of America, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., New York Life
- Insurance Co., Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.,
- Trans World Assurance Co. SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Co.
Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI):
This insurance is cheap for veterans with disabilities related to their military service. Starting in January 2023, you will no longer be able to get this kind of coverage.
The basic S-DVI policy covers up to $10,000. You can apply for up to $30,000 in extra cover if you become totally ill and can no longer work.
For people to be eligible, they must meet all of the following requirements:
- You were taken off active service after April 25, 1951, and you did not get a bad discharge. Rank for damage related to work
- Aside from the damage caused by your work, you’re in good health.
- You asked for coverage less than two years after getting a service-related injury.
- You may be able to get the extra $30,000 in benefits if: Get a rebate on your fees
- Apply for coverage a year after being told you don’t need it or Are under age 65
Veterans Affairs Life Insurance
(VALife) will start on January 1, 2023. It will replace Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI). If you keep up with your payments, your VALife coverage starts two years after you sign up for it. Your beneficiary will only get the money you paid in premiums plus interest if you die within the first two years. If you die more than two years after you signed up, your beneficiaries will get the full death benefit.
Coverage limits: With VALife, veterans with service-related illnesses can get whole life insurance coverage of up to $40,000 in $10,000 amounts.
To be qualified, a soldier must be 80 years old or younger and have a VA handicap grade. You can send in an application at any time. Veterans who asked for a handicap rating before they turned 81 but got it after they turned 81 can apply again within two years of getting their rating.
You can stay in S-DVI if you already have it. You can also sign up for VALife. If you apply for VALife before December 31, 2025, you can keep S-DVI for the first two years.
Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)
Soldiers’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) helps families of soldiers and service members who have had to make changes to their homes because of an injury related to their service. “Decreasing term life” coverage is what this kind of insurance is called. In other words, as the value of the debt goes down, so does the amount of coverage.
If the debt amount is paid off in full, the benefits will end.
Veterans and service members who are eligible can get up to $200,000 in coverage. Like other mortgage life insurance plans, the death benefit is paid straight to the bank or provider who holds the mortgage, not to your family.
Eligibility requirements: For soldiers or service members to be eligible, they must meet all of the following:
- Have a disease that was caused by or got worse because of their help
- Received a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant to pay for changes to your home to make it more accessible for your disability, like
- putting in ramps or making doors wider.
- Get the title to the house.
- Pay a debt on your house
- Be under the age of 70
Veterans Life Insurance Riders
If you have VA coverage and become totally crippled or have a disease that will kill you, you may be able to get more benefits from your veterans’ life insurance. If your partner has a disease that will kill them soon, they could also qualify.
Waiver of premium rider: If you become totally crippled, you won’t have to pay your life insurance payments if you have a “waiver of premium” rider. Most of the time, you can only stop paying your premiums up to a year before you need to file a claim.
For people to be eligible, they must meet all of the following:
- You have S-DVI coverage, which stands for Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance.
- You can’t work because of your condition. You became totally crippled before you turned 65.
- You can’t do anything at all for more than six months.
- There may be times when these rules don’t apply.
Accelerated death benefit: Policyholders who are dying may be able to get an accelerated death benefit. With an advanced death benefit, you can get up to 50% of your life insurance coverage before you die, paid out in $5,000 amounts.
To be eligible, you need to meet all of the following:
- You must have a VGLI insurance policy
- You or your mate must have a letter from your doctor saying you have less than nine months to live.
- Life insurance riders: what they are and how they work
Options for Private Veterans Private insurance for life
Veterans who may not be able to get life insurance through the Department of Veterans Affairs or who want to look into other life insurance choices can get coverage from private insurance companies. There are different kinds of life insurance, such as term life, whole life, and universal life.
For example, soldiers who qualify can get term life insurance up to $800,000 and whole life insurance up to $1 million from the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association.
When compared to private plans, VGLI’s annual rates are very low. But its covering limit of $400,000 may not be enough for a lot of soldiers. If you need extra life insurance on top of VGLI, you have a lot of choices for private life insurance.
Can I get life insurance if I was kicked out of the military for being bad?
If you got a bad conduct discharge or a criminal discharge, you might not be eligible for any VA benefits, including life insurance for soldiers. But there is a way to try to make the cut. First, you can ask for an update or adjustment to your release. The Department of Veterans Affairs will look at your application for VA benefits and decide if your service was “honorable for VA purposes.” To show your case, you will need to provide as much proof and paperwork as you can.
This could take as long as a year. So, if you don’t meet the requirements for VA life insurance, you might not be covered during that time. You can still look into private life insurance plans if you were turned down for an upgrade or repair.