21 Sep Best Life Insurance for Veterans and Active Military
We think it’s fair to say our nation’s finest don’t join the military to get rich.
So when it comes to the matters of life insurance, choosing the right company is critical. We need to be sure the company will payout in case of a disaster, but we also need to watch our budget.
With that goal in mind, hang with me for just a few minutes. You could learn how to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the life of your policy.
If you’re in a hurry, though, our #1 most recommended company for life insurance for the active or retired military is AIG Direct. You can request a free quote from them by clicking here.
The key to saving on military life insurance lies in this one question:
Can you or can you not qualify for a policy with the best rates from any company (even those who ensure civilians)?
If you can, you’ll likely save a bundle by using a civilian company over military-provided life insurance.
In this article, you’ll learn about which is right for you, the best life insurance for veterans and active military, savings tips, and surprising secrets about buying policies through Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI). (HINT: These may not be your best bet!)
What Is Life Insurance for Veterans?
In simplest terms, life insurance is an agreement between an insurance company and a policyholder, whereby the latter agrees to pay a certain amount to the beneficiary upon the policyholder’s death.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other organizations offer some of the best Veteran life insurance to provide financial stability for veterans, active military members, reservists, and family members.
The VA, particularly, provides the following life insurance for veterans.
- Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)
- Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
- Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)
- Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI)
- Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI)
- Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)
How Does Life Insurance for Veterans Work?
The process for obtaining life insurance through the VA depends on the plan you choose.
Six complete plans (listed above) provide significant benefits to active duty vets, family members, and disabled vets.
Why Do Veterans Need Life Insurance?
Here are some crucial reasons why Veterans need to apply for life insurance.
- Protects the ones you love, buys time and options.
- Life insurance payouts are tax-free.
- Your dependents won’t have to worry about living expenses.
- Policies can support you in retirement.
- The payout can cover final expenses.
- Life insurance can create an inheritance for your heirs.
- It can pay federal and state “death” taxes.
- Proceeds can make a significant donation to charity.
Do Veterans Automatically Get Life Insurance?
No, veterans aren’t automatically covered with life insurance. While all active service members are given automatic coverage under the SGLI plan, Veterans have to choose a plan once they retire.
Does the VA Offer Life Insurance?
Yes, the VA offers some of the best life insurance for veterans and the active military. You can choose between various programs, depending upon your military status and disability, if any.
Best Life Insurance for Veterans and Active Military
Here are some military life insurance options offered by the VA to active duty military, veterans, and their families.
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)
SGLI offers automatic coverage to active military members with a coverage of up to $400,000. This Veteran life insurance also covers traumatic brain injury and conditions like blindness and amputations.
To qualify for this plan, any ONE of the following conditions must be true:
- You are an active member of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, OR
- You are a midshipman or cadet of the US Military academies, OR
- You are a midshipman, cadet, or a member of ROTC, OR
- You are a member of NOAA or USPHS, OR
- You are a Reservist or a National Guard, have been assigned a unit, and are scheduled to serve at least 12 periods of inactive training per year, OR
- You work as a volunteer in an Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) mobilization category.
If you are in ready reserve or work as a national guard under the non-pay status, you can qualify for SGLI if the following is true:
- You are to serve at least 12 periods of inactive training for a year, AND
- You are focusing on the points rather than the pay.
Benefits of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance
As well as getting automatic coverage, you can also enjoy additional benefits such as:
- Free coverage for 120 days after retiring from the service.
- Free coverage of up to two years if you have a total disability at the time of retirement.
- Part-time coverage, in some cases.
2. Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
Once you retire from the service, you are no longer covered automatically under SGLI. You must enroll yourself to be covered after retirement.
While several life insurance companies provide Veteran life insurance, you can also enroll yourself in the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance offered by the VA.
To establish your eligibility for VGLI, any ONE of the following conditions must be met:
- You had SGLI during your military service and are within one year and 120 days of being released from active duty, which was for at least 31 days, OR
- If you served in the National Guard or Reservists and had part-time SGLI but suffer from a service-related disability that prevents you from qualifying for standard premiums, OR
- You are serving as a National Guard or a Reservist and are within one year and 120 days of being discharged from your service, OR
- You are a member of IRR or Inactive National Guard (ING) and are within one year and 20 days of being discharged from the service, OR
- You are within one year and 120 days of being put on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL).
With VGLI, you can apply for coverage of $100,000 to $400,000, depending upon the amount you had through SGLI.
3. Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)
Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) covers the benefits of spouses and dependents of active military members under full-time SGLI.
To qualify, one of the following conditions must be met:
- Your beneficiary is an active military member with full-time SGLI coverage, OR
- You are a National Guard or a reservist with full-time SGLI coverage.
This program provides coverage of up to $100,000 for spouses and $10,000 for every dependant child.
Note: If you or your sponsor entered the services on or after January 2, 2013, your interest will not be covered automatically. You must apply for SGLI through the SGLI Online Enrollment System (SOES).
4. Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI)
If you are a Veteran covered by SGLI and have experienced a traumatic injury, you may be eligible for benefits available under the TSGLI plan.
You might be eligible for this plan if you have experienced a traumatic injury and ALL of the following conditions are met:
- You suffered from a traumatic injury before midnight of the day you retired.
- The injury resulted in a planned loss for you. You suffered a planned loss within two years of the injury.
- After the injury, you have survived at least seven days.
- You were either an active military member, National Guard or Reservist. You can receive up to $100,000 of short-term financial help through this plan.
Note: You are automatically covered under TSGLI if SGLI covers you.
5. Service-Disabled Veterans’ Life Insurance (S-DVI)
S-DVI provides low-cost coverage to service members who have a service-connected disability.
To qualify for this plan, ALL of the following must be true:
- On/after April 25, 1951, you were released from active duty and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge.
- You were rated with some percentage for your disability.
- Except for your disability, you are in good health.
- You applied for this program within two years of a granted service-related disability.
Through this plan, an eligible member can receive coverage of $10,000 and a supplemental coverage of $30,000.
6. Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)
VMLI provides mortgage protection to veterans suffering from service-related disabilities.
To qualify for this benefit, ALL of the following conditions must be met:
- You have a severe disability that was caused due to your service.
- You receive a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant.
- You are the owner or joint owner of the home.
- You have an ongoing mortgage on that home.
- You are under 70 years old.
With VMLI, you can receive mortgage coverage of up to $200,000.
To apply for this plan, you must apply for the SAH grant.
Private Life Insurance Coverage for Vets
Life insurance policies can be divided into term life insurance and whole life insurance.
Here’s what you need to know.
Term Life Insurance
As the name suggests, term life insurance provides coverage for a relevant term or a fixed period. They come with lower premiums, fixed payments, and larger death payouts.
However, unlike whole life insurance, these temporary coverage plans do not provide coverage if you suffer from a significant health condition, which can be problematic, especially if you are an ex-military member.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life, or ordinary life insurance, is a policy that guarantees coverage for the insured’s entire lifetime, given that the premiums are paid on time.
With whole life insurance, your beneficiary can receive a specific amount of money upon your death.
Life Insurance for Active Military: Important Considerations, Sample Quotes And Best Companies
You’ll have to overcome a few obstacles on your way to choosing the right life insurance plan if you’re currently serving in the military.
General Approval Information
For military members (and civilians alike), your age, tobacco use, and health are always of primary concern.
If you’re a non-tobacco user under age 40 and in good health, though, none of these issues will be problematic. You may be able to apply for a civilian policy and save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on life insurance over the lifetime of your policy.
If you’re over 40, use tobacco, or have some serious medical conditions, though, there’s still a great option for you. Keep reading because I’ll reveal it in the section about SGLI below.
Military Specific Approval Information
Assuming you’re relatively young and in excellent health, you’re on your way to qualifying for some incredible life insurance savings.
We just need to be sure the following military-specific issues don’t disqualify you.
Active Duty Job Duties
What responsibilities do you have at work? Suppose your job includes anything potentially hazardous, such as SCUBA diving, aviation, electrician work, or sky diving. In that case, you may have difficulty qualifying for a civilian policy (as would any civilian engaged in these activities).
If these situations exist, you’ll also want to see my section about SGLI below.
2. Currently on Deployment or Have Active Deployment Orders
Depending on where you’re heading for deployment, some companies will decline your life insurance application.
This is even true for civilians when they apply for life insurance.
Insurance companies ask:
- Where you’re going.
- How long you’re staying.
- What type of accommodations you’ll be staying in.
And some locations are “no go” zones for insurance carriers.
So whether you’re active military or a civilian, if you’re going to Afghanistan next month, you won’t be able to qualify for life insurance with most companies.
Note: The most lenient I’ve seen on the active military with deployment plans is AIG. Be sure to visit AIG Direct to find out if you qualify.
3. Members of Special Forces Like Seals, Rangers, or Delta Force
Unfortunately, civilian-facing companies don’t insure members of special forces. See my SGLI section below for more options.
Bottom Line: If you’re not in the special forces, have no active deployment plans, and your duties are considered non-hazardous, you have a great chance at being approved for a policy with any company, even the civilian-facing ones with the best rates. We recommend you get a free quote from AIG Direct.
However, if we mentioned your situation above, there is still hope for great rates. Enter SGLI.
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI): Deal or No Deal?
The SGLI is a special term life insurance program designed specifically for active service members and veterans.
There are many benefits to using SGLI as your life insurance provider. For instance, you’ll be approved with no medical exam, regardless of whether you’re in special forces or not, being deployed, or going to war.
There’s also no pricing discrimination—pricing is fixed regardless of age, gender, tobacco use, or health.
You’ll have coverage as long as you maintain eligibility (see below). Once you separate from active duty, you’ll have the chance to convert your policy to a VGLI plan without proof of good health.
Besides members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, eligibility is extended to all service members, including:
- Members of the Ready Reserve or National Guard
- Members of the Reserve Officers Training Corps
- Members of the NOAA or USPHS
(Visit benefits.va.gov for the full eligibility list).
Finally, if you leave the military, you can also convert your policy to a civilian life insurance policy.
There are downsides to consider with SGLI as well. For instance, there’s a maximum of $400,000 coverage. So, if you need additional coverage, you’ll have to find it elsewhere.
Fixed pricing can also work against you if you’re young, healthy, and have none of the three military-specific issues described above (current deployment, hazardous occupation, in the Special forces).
Current SGLI Pricing
SGLI premiums are automatically deducted from your base pay. The current rate is six cents per $1,000 of insurance per month, with a $1 extra per month charge for Traumatic Injury Protection Coverage (TSGLI).
For example, if you have $350,000 in coverage, you would pay $21 monthly, excluding TSGLI.
Who Should and Shouldn’t Buy SGLI?
In some cases, like if you’re in the SEALs or scheduled to be deployed to Ethiopia, SGLI may be the only coverage you’ll qualify for.
However, if you’re older or have health conditions, it can be a great deal.
Case Study 1
Say you’re 35 and declined SGLI coverage when you joined the Army because you didn’t have any dependents. Now you’re married with a child, and you’re looking to get affordable term life insurance coverage. The only problem is you’re 40 pounds overweight and have sleep apnea.
To buy a $250,000, 20-year term, you’ll likely pay around $28 per month if you buy from a regular insurance company, whereas you’d pay just $18.50 per month with SGLI. If you stay in the Army for another 20 years, you’ll save over $2,000 by going with SGLI.
Case Study 2
Contrast the case above with a 20-something-year-old helicopter mechanic in the Navy with no health issues. SGLI is probably not your best bet.
If you’re a male in great health, you will pay just $18 per month for a $400,000, 20-year term with most insurance companies. But, for the same policy, you’d have to pay $29 per month with SGLI. Now the roles are reversed, and it would cost you over $2000 more to go with SGLI.
In the end, the best choice of companies will come down to your particular situation. Always consult with a knowledgeable, independent insurance agent before buying SGLI coverage. We recommend you speak to our friends at AIG Direct for the best rates.
Best Life Insurance for Retired Military and Veterans
The best company for your life insurance needs once you’ve retired will depend on your health.
If you retired in great physical and mental shape, your former service would not restrict you in any way from getting a policy at great rates.
However, you may be penalized with higher insurance rates if you sustained any physical injuries or suffered mentally (such as PTSD).
Here are some of the most common issues retired military may be facing, and advice for each:
- Amputees – A single limb amputation will have no bearing on life expectancy or insurance rates. Multiple limb amputees may be penalized slightly on life insurance rates.
- Paralysis – Depending on the severity and location of the paralysis, you may not be penalized at all for life insurance rates, or you may be severely penalized, as in the case of quadriplegia.
- Headaches, Migraines, or Tinnitus – These may not cause increased rates at all unless severe, and your ability to get great rates will depend on any underlying, related conditions.
- PTSD, Anxiety, or Depression – Your rates will depend on the severity, if you comply with your doctor’s orders (taking medication as prescribed), and whether or not you’re on medical disability.
- Loss of Vision or Hearing – These usually don’t affect life insurance rates unless other related conditions are present.
With any of these conditions, you must speak to a knowledgeable, independent insurance agent. Every insurance company prices these conditions out a bit differently, and a good agent will be able to help you find the one who will treat you the fairest (and charge you the least)!
Bottom Line: Regardless of your age or health, you want to speak to an independent insurance broker about your particular situation. It could save you thousands of dollars over the life of your policy. For the best rates, we recommend our friends over at AIG Direct.
The Cost of Life Insurance for Veterans
The cost and premiums depend upon the type of life insurance you are choosing.
If you are an active military member who is automatically covered under SGLI, the premium rate would be 6 cents per every $1000 coverage—automatically deducted from your monthly base pay.
You would have to pay $25 every month for $400,000 coverage to make it simpler for you.
Here’s a chart to help you get a better insight.
Veterans Life Insurance Costs
|Monthly Premium Rate||TSGLI Premium||Total Monthly Premium Deduction||Coverage Amount|
What Are the Factors That Affect Your Life Insurance Rates?
Life insurance rates and premiums can be affected by a few different factors.
Here’s a look at some of them.
It’s a known fact that a young policyholder will qualify for lower premiums. With age, the possibility of the insurer paying out on a policy increases, and so does the premium.
It’s scientifically proven that women live longer than men. And, the average life expectancy of women in the US is 81, while for men, it is 76.
So, it’s pretty obvious that women tend to pay less for insurance compared to men.
Family Health History
The presence of genetic or hereditary family history could affect your Veteran insurance rates hugely. You might have to spend more on insurance if your family has a health history.
Besides a family health history, your personal health is equally important when determining your insurance rates. It’s especially true if you suffer from chronic conditions like cancer or heart disease.
Do you like to dive deep into the sea, jump from an airplane or take part in car racing in your free time?
If yes, you might have to pay more for your insurance. Involving yourself in high-risk activities can lead to higher life insurance premiums.
If you are a smoker, you could be more vulnerable to serious ailments, meaning your premiums will be higher.
But, if you have quit smoking, congrats! You can talk to your insurance provider, who can help you lower your insurance rates.
If your occupation requires you to do life-threatening activities like stepping down a battlefield, your premiums will be higher than usual.
Some companies might not even provide insurance to military members. So, it is quite important to check with your insurance provider to select the right policy.
Should You Get Life Insurance as a Veteran?
Life insurance can not only provide financial stability, but it is also very beneficial for those whose professions can be life-threatening.
It can provide stability to veterans’ families and children to cover their existing debt or funeral expenses.
In addition, it’s quite possible for a Veteran who left duty healthy to develop a service-related condition later in life.
So, should veterans get life insurance?
Yes, veteran interests should be protected in case of unforeseen circumstances.
How to Qualify for Life Insurance Benefits as a Veteran
Now that you understand the best life insurance for veterans and the active military, here’s how to qualify:
Life Insurance With Pre-Existing Conditions
If you retire from your services with a pre-existing condition, finding reputable private life insurance companies can be difficult.
Additionally, suppose you suffer from a blood disorder, auto-immune disease, diabetes, cancer, heart condition, or neurological condition. In that case, you might qualify for life insurance but with higher Veteran life insurance rates.
So, how do you qualify? There are four options to get life insurance with a pre-existing condition.
Apply for VGLI Within 240 Days
If you apply for the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) plan within 240 days or eight months of leaving the military, you can qualify for the insurance even if you suffer from an ailment.
It is recommended to apply for insurance right after you retire from the service. However, if you apply after the 240 days, the VA may consider your health first, affecting your eligibility.
2. Apply for a Free Extension of SGLI
If your health conditions are getting in the way of everyday life, you can extend Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) for up to two years, given you meet all the requirements.
3. Convert SGLI Into Private Insurance
You can convert the SGLI plan into a private insurance plan, given you do that within 120 days of leaving the military. As a result, your health history will not be reviewed, and you can qualify for the policy regardless of it.
4. Apply for Both VGLI and Private Life Insurance
You can also get a separate private life insurance policy if you feel your interest is not covered under VGLI.
Life Insurance for Veterans With PTSD
While post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect your premium rates, it does not mean you won’t qualify for a policy. And though some companies might charge a little extra for Veterans who have PTSD, many other companies view PTSD more leniently.
You might be asked the following questions to measure the severity of your condition when applying for life insurance with PTSD:
- When were you diagnosed?
- What medications do you take?
- Have you ever taken leave due to PTSD?
- Have you ever been hospitalized due to the condition?
- Have you ever attempted suicide?
Those with PTSD who receive regular treatment and have a full-time job that they manage quite well may qualify for the policy.
Life Insurance for Disabled Veterans
Looking for life insurance for disabled veterans? You can qualify for Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI), which can provide coverage of $10,000. If you are completely disabled, your premiums may be waived under this plan.
You are eligible for S-DVI if the following conditions are met:
- You have been rated for your disability by the VA.
- You were retired other than dishonor.
- Except for your disability, you are in good health.
- You applied within two years of the VA granting you a rating for the disability.
Life Insurance if You Were Dishonorably Discharged
You might not qualify for VA benefits, including insurance if you were dishonorably discharged from the service.
However, there’s a way to fix it.
You can ask the VA for a discharge upgrade, or you can apply for private life insurance.
How Much Coverage Should You Get?
Deciding on the appropriate coverage amount for your policy will depend on your family’s financial situation in the event of your passing. Estimate the monthly expenses your family will have.
Veterans must also analyze how their financial situation will change over time.
For example, some expenses tend to disappear over time, such as your children’s tuition once they graduate.
Life Insurance Needs Can Change Over Time
Your policy isn’t set in stone—your needs can change over time.
Here are certain circumstances which can change your life insurance needs.
- Getting married or becoming a couple
- Having or adopting a child
- Becoming a stay-at-home parent
- Getting divorced or splitting up
- Starting a new job
- Becoming self-employed
- Entering retirement
Choosing the Best Veterans Life Insurance Policy
You must keep your goals straight to make a wise life insurance choice. The application process can get complicated, but keep these tips in mind to make it simpler.
Know What You Want
Before you move on to buying life insurance, find out how much coverage you need and how much you are willing to spend.
Estimate the Monthly Expenses Upon Your Death
Some expenses tend to change or disappear after a while, like paying off a small personal loan. You need to estimate how monthly expenses will look if an unexpected disaster strikes your family. You must also consider debts or funeral fees when choosing the right insurance.
Make the Right Choice
After making all the required estimates, you can choose the right policy for you and your family.
How to Buy Veterans Life Insurance
Before you buy life insurance, here’s what you should keep in mind.
- Decide If You Need Life Insurance
- Determine The Type of Life Insurance that’s Best for You
- Calculate How Much Life Insurance You Should Buy
- Find The Right Life Insurance Company
- Complete the Application Process
- Buy Your Life Insurance Policy