03 Jan What Does Life Insurance for Veterans Cover?
Regardless of being a service member or civilian, financial security should be the first thing on your mind. In addition to securing your future, life insurance can help cover the expenses of your funeral and death in case the unexpected happens sooner than you anticipated. Additionally, it can help secure your family’s future after you’re gone.
In this article, we’ll explain exactly what VGLI coverage you can expect.
Related Article: What Is Life Insurance? A Guide for Veterans
What Does Life Insurance Cover?
In most cases, traditional life insurance covers a natural death and provides a specific amount to your family after your death. However, in the case of term life insurance, you receive the amount after a particular period of time.
Types of Death Covered by Life Insurance,
Here’s a quick breakdown of the types of deaths covered by life insurance.
Deaths caused due to a motor vehicle accident, drowning, accidental drug overdose, and poisoning are covered under basic life insurance.
If you die due to a stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, cancer, infection, or other natural causes, your family would be eligible to receive the death benefit upon your death.
Technically, life insurance covers a death caused due to suicide. However, if the death occurs within the contestability period, which is usually two years after getting the policy, your family might not be able to receive the death benefit.
An insurance policy also covers death caused by murder, unless the beneficiary is the murderer or is closely related to the murderer.
If your death occurs due to COVID-19, your family will receive the death benefits, given it is mentioned as a clause.
Related Article: 7 Steps to Getting Life Insurance for Veterans
Expenses Covered by Life Insurance
In addition to providing death benefits, life insurance covers several other expenses like monthly bills, child care, and planning an estate.
Here’s a breakdown of a few of them-
To ensure that your family lives the same way after you are gone, it is recommended that you purchase insurance that is at least 15-18 times your current salary. In general, a traditional policy would cover monthly expenses like rent, mortgage, child care, utilities, and groceries.
If you have an ongoing co-signed debt like a student’s loan or a mortgage, a life insurance policy will cover that too.
If you are the one responsible for paying off the tuition fees and providing school supplies to your kids, you can find solace in the fact that a traditional policy covers that too.
On average, death and funeral costs are usually around $7,640. Life insurance helps your family cover up your death fees so that they don’t go through financial turmoil while planning your funeral.
Child or Dependent Care
A life insurance policy also helps cover the expenses and costs of taking care of a child or a dependent after your death.
Funeral planning and estate planning are two different things. Estate planning involves hiring an attorney and closing all the accounts upon the account holder’s death. Upon your death, you might owe the IRS, and a life insurance policy can help your family cover that as well. It also covers the cost of hiring an attorney and closing all the remaining accounts.
Leaving a Legacy
Contrary to popular beliefs, leaving a legacy is not always about donating to an organization following your death. You can also purchase trust funds and ensure that you leave a considerable amount of money behind to help your family with long-term care and expenses.
What Doesn’t Life Insurance Cover?
Before starting a life insurance policy, knowing all the details about what’s not covered is crucial. Here are some notable items that a standard policy won’t cover-
In most cases, a life insurance policy would come with a contestability period. This period is generally for two years. If you die within these two years and the company figures out that you lied or misinterpreted something in the application, your family will not receive the claim.
This period only comes into effect if the policyholder has died suspiciously. Therefore, it’s important to enter accurate details while applying for a policy.
If a policyholder is involved in criminal activity and dies, their death won’t be covered under any life insurance.
Some of the activities considered a threat to life are not covered by life insurance. These include recreational activities like-
- BASE jumping
- Scuba diving
- Hang gliding
- Rock and mountain climbing
Working as a pilot, fisherman, underground miner, logger, and offshore oil rig worker also comes under the excluded activities for which life insurance doesn’t offer coverage.
However, if you regularly participate in these activities, you might be required to pay higher premiums. Therefore, it’s advisable to read all the documents when you agree to pay higher premiums to understand what’s covered.
While murder is covered under life insurance, some clauses might prevent your family from getting the claim. As an example, if a policyholder is murdered by their beneficiary or the murderer is related to the beneficiary, the family will not receive the claim. Instead, the claim will go to the policyholder’s contingent beneficiaries.
Like murder, there are specific clauses that might prevent the family from getting the claim in case of suicide. If a suicide occurs during the contestability period, usually two years, the company will not pay the claim to the family.
Other Instances Where Your Beneficiary Might Not Receive the Premium
Here are some circumstances where you or our family might not receive the claim-
- You lied on your application.
- The beneficiary predeceases you.
- You failed to mention the name of a beneficiary.
Related Article: What Is a Veterans Life Insurance Rider? Different Types Explained
What Does Veterans Life Insurance Include?
The US Department of Veterans Affairs offers several life insurance plans to Veterans, active military, and family members. Unlike a traditional life insurance policy, VA’s policies also provide coverage to veterans suffering from a terminal illness or service-related disabilities.
Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is a life insurance policy offered to veterans by the VA. Unlike SGLI, where service members are automatically covered, Veterans have to apply for this insurance to receive coverage.
Coverage and Premiums
With VGLI, you can receive up to $400,000 of coverage. The amount depends on how much you have contributed towards it and what plan you chose while you were covered under SGLI. You can also borrow private coverage if this coverage does not seem enough.
Additionally, when you retire from the military, you can choose to increase your coverage by $25,000 every five years until you reach the age of 60.
Unlike a traditional life insurance policy, where your premium would depend upon your health records, age, gender, and several other factors, VGLI premiums are based only on the age of the Veteran.
To apply for these benefits, you must apply within one year and 120 days of retiring from the service to qualify without taking a medical examination. If you choose to apply after this time span, you would be required to appear for a medical examination, potentially affecting your premium rates and coverage, especially if you are a terminally ill Veteran or someone with a service-connected disability/injury.
You can apply for VGLI through either of the following ways:
- You can access the Prudential website and apply through OSGLI (Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance).
- You can apply for these benefits online through the VA’s ebenefits portal.
- You can fill out the form SGLV 8714 and mail it to the below-stated address.
PO Box 41618
Philadelphia, PA 19176-9913
Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) offers coverage to the service members’ family members and dependant children covered under SGLI.
Coverage and Premiums
This program offers a maximum of $100,000 to a spouse and an additional $10,000 for every dependent child. However, unlike spousal coverage, dependent coverage is free. Meaning, you would not need to pay any premiums for your dependant children.
Like VGLI, your premiums would increase with your age. For spouses under 35, you would have to pay $4.50 every month for $100,000 coverage.
If you are a military spouse, you would be automatically covered under FSGLI. The premiums will be deducted from your spouse’s monthly pay. If you are a civilian spouse, you need to sign in to milConnect and go to Life Insurance SOES- SGLI Online Enrollment System under the benefits tab.
Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance Coverage
It is pretty challenging to score a good policy with affordable premium rates, especially if you are a disabled Veteran. Suffering from a disability can not only affect your premium rates but can also prevent you from qualifying for life insurance altogether.
Therefore, the VA has a plan designed especially for you. Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance offers coverage to service-related disabled Veterans at a comparatively lower premium.
Coverage and Premiums
This plan provides coverage up to $10,000 and supplemental coverage up to $30,000.
The premium rates usually depend upon your age and the coverage amount you require.
You can apply for this benefit in either of the following ways:
- You can apply for basic DSVI online.
- You can mail the VA Form 29-4364
to the above-stated address.
To claim supplemental S-DVI benefits, you must fill out form 29-0188 and mail it to the above address.
Veteran’s Mortgage Life Insurance Coverage
Unlike traditional life insurance, this does not offer death benefits. Instead, it helps your family cover-up for the mortgage payments after your untimely death.
This plan is exclusively for severely disabled Veterans and the active military. Veterans with severe burn injuries can also apply.
This plan offers coverage of up to $200,000, which can be used to pay mortgage installments. Additionally, the amount received will go directly to the company providing the loan.
To apply for this plan, you must be receiving the Specially Adapted Housing Grants. If you do not receive SAH, you must apply for that before applying for VMLI.
What Does Private Life Insurance Cover?
With SGLI, active military members can qualify for coverage of up to $400,000, which can be extended for 120 days after retiring from the services. However, there are cases when this coverage can fall short to cover your unique needs.
Several private companies are sensitive to these needs and offer military-friendly life insurance policies to Veterans, active military, and their families.
Here is the breakdown of coverage offered by different types of life insurance.
Whole Life Insurance Coverage
Whole life insurance is a policy that pays a certain amount to the family members upon the policyholder’s death. It usually offers fixed premiums, death benefits, and the ability to build cash value over time.
Besides helping your family cover up your funeral expenses, whole life insurance also helps plan your estate and leave a legacy behind for your family.
The coverage depends on factors like age, gender, health conditions, current life insurance rates, and habits like smoking and consuming alcohol. In addition, some companies offer several military benefits like no health checkups, low premiums, and higher coverage.
USAA’s Simplified Whole Life Insurance is available for service members and families aged between 15 days to 85 years. This policy offers coverage from $25,000 to $10 million and requires health examinations to qualify.
Term Life Insurance Coverage
A term life insurance policy pays out a certain amount to you or your family after a specific time, depending upon the term you choose while applying for the policy.
Unlike a whole life insurance policy, these policies come with lower premiums and larger death payouts. You can also convert this policy into whole life insurance in some cases.
USAA offers two types of term life insurance- Level Term V and Essential Term. An essential term is available only to people living in Texas and between 21 and 35 years old. The policy offers fixed coverage of up to $100,000.
On the other hand, Level Term V is available to people from the age group 18 to 70 and offers coverage of up to $10 million. The minimum coverage is $100,000.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Coverage
This life insurance is a little different than your basic insurance policy. Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance gives you the advantage of qualifying for the policy without appearing for a medical examination.
This policy is a good option for Veterans suffering from a terminal illness, which makes it quite difficult for them to qualify for a standard life insurance policy.
However, there’s more to it. The policy usually comes with a waiting time, which is generally two years. If the insured dies within these two years, the family won’t receive the death benefit. However, they will receive a full refund of the premium paid.
Guaranteed issue life insurance offers coverage of up to $25,000.
Group Life Insurance Coverage
Group life insurance is a benefit employers offer to their employees as part of an employee benefits package. It is essentially term life insurance, which ends once you leave that organization.
While this policy comes with low coverage, it can be quite beneficial as they are usually free of cost. The basic coverage offered by this policy ranges from $20,000 to $50,000.
How Soon Will a Life Insurance Policy Pay Out?
Because the terms and conditions differ from policy to policy, there is no fixed time when life insurance would payout. But, on average, a basic life insurance policy pays out after 30 days of the insurer’s death.