Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is a life insurance program designed to provide financial security for veterans and their families after leaving military service. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about VGLI, including eligibility, coverage, benefits, and the application process.
What is VGLI?
Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is a renewable term life insurance program available to veterans who have separated from military service. VGLI provides financial protection for veterans and their families by allowing them to continue their life insurance coverage after leaving the military. The program is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and is underwritten by the Prudential Insurance Company of America.
Who is eligible for VGLI
To qualify for VGLI, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Be a servicemember separating, retiring, or being released from active duty or reserve service
- Be a member of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) or Inactive National Guard (ING)
- Be a SGLI-eligible member of the uniformed services who has part-time SGLI coverage and is separating or retiring from service
- Be a spouse who is losing SGLI coverage due to the servicemember’s separation or the termination of the spouse’s SGLI coverage
VGLI Coverage and Benefits
VGLI offers coverage in increments of $10,000, up to a new maximum of $500,000 in 2023. The coverage amount cannot exceed the servicemember’s SGLI coverage at the time of separation. VGLI coverage can be increased by $25,000 every five years, up to the maximum limit, until the insured reaches age 60.
VGLI premiums are based on the coverage amount and the insured’s age. The premiums increase with age every 5 years and are typically higher than SGLI premiums. However, VGLI premiums do not consider the insured’s health status or occupation, making it an attractive option for veterans with health issues or high-risk jobs. The VA provides a VGLI premium rate chart on their website, which can be used to determine the premium amount based on the desired coverage and age.
VGLI Application and Enrollment
To apply for VGLI, eligible servicemembers must complete the SGLV 8714 form, also known as the Application for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance or apply through the OSGLI (Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance) via the Prudential website. The application must be submitted within 1 year and 120 days from the date of separation from military service.
If you apply within 240 days from your separation date, you won’t need to provide evidence of good health. However, if you apply after 240 days, you’ll need to answer health questions to determine your eligibility. It’s important to note that the sooner you apply for VGLI, the more likely you are to secure coverage without the need for a medical examination.
Note: If you apply after the 240 days, going with private insurance is almost always guaranteed to be the better option.
Life Insurance for Disabled Veterans
In some cases, disabled veterans used to be eligible for free life insurance coverage under the Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (SDVI) program. This program has been discontinued by the VA. It stopped new applications after 12.31.2022 and will not continue since it has been replaced with their new program called “VALife insurance” or Veterans Affairs Life Insurance.
Converting VGLI to a Commercial Policy
VGLI policyholders have the option to convert their VGLI coverage to a commercial life insurance policy with a participating insurance company within 120 days of separating from service or reaching age 60, whichever comes first. This conversion option allows veterans to secure permanent life insurance coverage, such as whole life or universal life, without having to provide evidence of good health. Before converting, it’s essential to compare the premiums, benefits, and features of the commercial policy with your current VGLI coverage to ensure you’re making the best decision for your financial situation. While whole life might sound appealing, we should note that both whole life and universal life are bad options for most Veterans and they’re almost always better off taking a term + investing approach. You can learn more about that in our article “Term Life Insurance vs. Whole Life Insurance: Why Term is far superior”
VGLI Rates and Comparing Options
When considering VGLI or other life insurance options, it’s crucial to compare rates and coverage with other providers and how it fits into your general retirement plan. While VGLI offers valuable coverage for veterans that may not be able to get other coverage, it may not always be the most cost-effective solution, especially for those in good health or seeking a more permanent life insurance option.
Take the time to explore different life insurance providers, compare rates, and consider factors such as coverage amount, policy type, and additional riders. By comparing options, you can make an informed decision about the best life insurance policy for you and your family. Here’s a free online tool to get quotes and compare them – all you need to do is answer a few simple questions, that’s it.
Conclusion on VGLI
VGLI is an essential life insurance program that offers financial protection for veterans and their families after leaving military service, especially if they’re in bad health. However, it is a fairly bad product and there are much better options out there where you get more bang for your buck. Understanding the eligibility, coverage, premiums, and application process can help you make informed decisions about your life insurance needs. Exploring other life insurance options, can help ensure you’re securing the most appropriate coverage for your unique situation. By evaluating your needs and comparing various life insurance programs, you can protect your loved ones and provide peace of mind for the future.