Are you familiar with Veterans’ Group Life Insurance? If you are transitioning out of the military soon and currently have Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), then you are going to want to keep reading to get a better understanding of VGLI. We are going to cover the top 5 things you should know about Veterans’ Group Life Insurance.
#1 – What is VGLI?
Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is an insurance plan that allows you to convert your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) to a renewable group life insurance plan after you leave service. As long as you pay your premiums, you will remain covered by the VGLI.
#2 – Who is Covered?
The VGLI covers Veterans and former servicemembers, but you must be able to meet certain criteria to qualify.
At least one of these must be true. You:
- Had part-time Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) as a member of the National Guard or Reserves, and you suffered an injury or disability (damage to your body or mind that makes it hard for you to do everyday tasks, including meaningful work) while on duty—including direct traveling to and from duty—that disqualified you for standard premium insurance rates, or
- Had SGLI while you were in the military and you’re within 1 year and 120 days of being released from an active-duty period of 31 or more days, or
- Are within 1 year and 120 days of retiring or being released from the Ready Reserves or National Guard, or
- Are within 1 year and 120 days of assignment to the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) of a branch of service, or to the Inactive National Guard (ING). This includes members of the United States Public Health Service Inactive Reserve Corps (IRC), or
- Are within 1 year and 120 days of being put on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL)
#3 – What are the benefits of VGLI and how do I sign up?
The amount of benefits you can receive is based on the coverage you previously had through SGLI, but you can receive between $10,000 to $400,000 in life insurance benefits. When you leave the military, you can sign up through VGLI for coverage up to the amount you had through SGLI. You can also increase your coverage by $25,000 every 5 years—up to $400,000—until you’re 60 years old.
To sign up for VGLI you’ll need to apply within 1 year and 120 days of leaving the military.
If you sign up within 240 days of leaving the military, you won’t need to prove you’re in good health. If you sign up after the 240-day period, you’ll need to submit evidence that you’re in good health.
There are several different ways you can apply for coverage:
- Apply through the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI), using the Prudential website. Apply online through OSGLI
- Apply online through eBenefits
- Apply by mail or fax. Fill out the Application for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (SGLV 8714). Download the Application for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (PDF)
#4 – How much does VGLI cost?
Like a traditional commercial life insurance policy, the cost of your VGLI premium will vary based on your age and the amount of coverage that you’d prefer. As your age increases, the premium cost also increases. If you are 29 years old and seeking $400,000 in coverage your monthly premium will be $28; however, if you are 49 years old and seeking the same coverage your monthly premium will be $84.
The VA has a chart at VA.gov that breaks down the cost for each age range and premium amount.
#5 – Can I convert VGLI to a traditional commercial plan?
If you decide you would like to convert your policy to a commercial policy then you can easily convert at the standard premium rates without having to prove that you’re in good health. You will just need to choose your new insurance company, apply for coverage at their local office, and give your new insurance agent a VGLI Conversion Notice.
The policy you are converting to must be a permanent policy, such as a whole life policy. You can’t convert to other types of policies, like term, variable life, or universal life insurance. Also, supplementary policy benefits, like Accidental Death and Dismemberment or Waiver of Premium for Disability, aren’t considered part of the conversion policy.
If you are within one year pre- or post-transition and you have questions about VGLI or any other transition concerns, visit SAVIvets.org and connect with one of our SAVI mentors.