When you were an active-duty servicemember, you were automatically enrolled in the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance program (SGLI), which offers up to $400,000 in coverage in $50,000 increments.
But once you’re out of the service, you have more options to provide coverage for you and your loved ones. The trick is to get the right kind of coverage for your needs and your wallet.
To help you do this, we’ll cover the top three life insurance options for veterans and how to get them.
VGLI is essentially a continuation of SGLI, offering coverage of up to $400,000 in $10,000 increments.
If you don’t have the budget to get the full $400,000, you can start smaller and increase your coverage by $25,000 every five years up to the maximum until age 60.
The trick is that you have to convert your SGLI to VGLI within one year and 120 days of discharge to qualify. If you submit your application to convert within 240 days of discharge, you don’t have to prove your insurability or take a medical exam.
But if you wait longer than 240 days, you’ll be required to answer questions about your health to get coverage. The good news, though, is that if you get approved, your rate is based solely on your age.
That can, however, be bad news over time. For example, $400,000 worth of coverage costs only $32 per month if you’re age 29 or below. But you don’t get to lock in that rate like you would a traditional term life insurance policy. Instead, it increases as you age, and by the time you reach age 75, you’ll pay $1,840 per month.
That and the program’s low limit of $400,000 could make it not worth considering for veterans who need more coverage and want to lock in a low rate for a long time.
2. USAA Term Life Insurance
If you want more traditional term coverage or supplemental coverage to your VGLI, USAA could be a good choice. You can choose a term of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years, and your premiums stay the same for the term duration.
USAA also offers some special benefits to veterans, including:
- Guaranteed SGLI replacement, which allows you to replace some or all of the coverage you had under the SGLI program.
- Coverage during time of war, in case you return to service.
- Term life event option rider, which allows you to increase your coverage by up to $100,000 when you get married, buy a house, or have a baby between the ages of 18 and 35.
As of March 2018, term life insurance rates start at $14.15 per month. But keep in mind that to qualify for low rates, you typically need to be young and in great health. To get a quote, you would need to be a member of USAA and log into your online account.
3. AAFMAA Term Life Insurance
If you’re a member of AAFMAA, you can get up to $800,000 in term life insurance coverage through the organization.
It offers a few different term options, depending on your age and how long you need coverage. Term policies include:
- Level Term I: For members under age 50 (or 40 for nicotine users)
- Level Term II: For members ages 35 to 75
- Term: For members ages 45 to 74
- 5-Year Renewable Term: For members ages 45 and older
Special benefits through AAFMAA include:
- No war or terrorism clause
- No aviation clause, exclusion or surcharge
- Survivor assistance services
Rates can vary depending on the type of policy you get, but you can lock in your rate for the desired term.
How To Get The Best Term Life Insurance For Veterans
There’s no one-size-fits-all veterans life insurance policy. If you’re in good health and are willing to undergo a medical exam, it may be wise for you to shop around and look at policies from each of these three options and more. Thankfully, life insurance rates are at an all-time low thanks to new technologies and insurers more flexible reserve ratios.
But if you have health issues and aren’t confident that you could get a cheap no-exam policy, you might want to start with the VGLI program and go from there.
To help you make the right decision, Leap Life’s licensed life insurance team can walk you through the process and answer any questions you have along the way. They are commission-free and can be reached at (844) 755-5327, Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm PST. You can also get quotes from other life insurance carriers to give you an idea of the cheapest options for your needs.