Understanding Life Insurance for Veterans

Life Insurance for Veterans DefinitionLife Insurance for Veterans Definition

Key Takeaways

  • Life insurance for veterans is unique due to the significant changes in benefits and circumstances they experience after transitioning from military to civilian life.
  • Health challenges, such as injuries and PTSD, may necessitate life insurance policies with more favorable terms.
  • Veterans with high-risk civilian jobs require specialized insurance policies that reflect their current level of risk.
  • Specialized life insurance for veterans can include benefit riders that provide additional financial support in cases of severe injuries or terminal illnesses.
  • Staying informed about changes in government policies is crucial for veterans to ensure their life insurance complements other available benefits.

Why Veterans Need Specialized Insurance?

Veterans often have unique needs regarding insurance, particularly life insurance. While serving in the military, they are provided benefits catering to their job's high-risk nature. However, these benefits can change significantly once they transition back to civilian life, prompting the need for specialized insurance to suit their new circumstances. Here are several reasons why veterans may need to consider specialized life insurance policies:

  • Changing Benefits: Service members can benefit from low-cost group life insurance called Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI). After leaving the service, they can convert it to Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) or a commercial policy. 
  • Health Concerns: Veterans might face health issues related to their service, including injuries and conditions like PTSD. Specialized insurance policies might offer more favorable terms considering these unique health challenges.
  • Job Risk: Some high-risk jobs offer insufficient life insurance coverage. Veterans with such careers may need specialized insurance that reflects their current risk level.
  • Family Needs: Veterans can help secure their family's financial future by investing in a specialized life insurance policy. This policy will cover expenses like mortgages, children's education, and outstanding debts.
  • Benefit Riders: Certain veteran insurance policies offer additional riders for severe injuries or accelerated death benefits if a veteran is diagnosed with a terminal illness. These riders provide extra financial support given a veteran’s past service.
  • Affordability: Finding affordable life insurance is crucial for veterans, particularly those on a fixed income after leaving service. Some specialized policies consider veterans' overall financial situation, offering more competitive rates than standard policies might.
  • Government Policies: At times, changes in government policies can affect the benefits veterans are eligible for. Staying informed and choosing a life insurance policy that complements government benefits ensures veterans maximize their coverage.

Veterans deserve comprehensive and accessible life insurance options to help secure their financial future and that of their families. Specialized life insurance can address the unique circumstances arising from their service.

Life Insurance Options for Veterans

Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

After leaving the military, veterans can convert their Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) to a civilian version called Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI).1,2 This conversion option is available for a certain period after discharge and does not require a medical exam. The benefits of converting to VGLI include:

  • Continuation of life insurance coverage: Veterans can maintain their life insurance coverage even after leaving the military, ensuring financial security for their loved ones.
  • Maximum coverage amount: The maximum coverage amount for VGLI is equal to the level of SGLI, which allows veterans to continue their coverage at the same level as they had in the military.
  • Increased coverage: Veterans can increase their coverage by $25,000 every five years, up to a maximum of $400,000, providing additional financial protection.

Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI)

Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) offers vital support to veterans who have sustained injuries or health conditions directly related to their service.3 If you have a service-connected disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you might be eligible for this program. S-DVI provides life insurance coverage up to $10,000, which can be a crucial financial safety net for your beneficiaries.

Importantly, S-DVI includes features that consider the unique circumstances faced by disabled veterans:

  • Premium Waiver: If you are disabled and unable to work, you may qualify for a premium waiver. This means you wouldn't have to pay for your insurance policy, relieving financial pressure while maintaining coverage.
  • Supplemental Coverage: Eligible veterans who qualify for the premium waiver can apply for additional life insurance coverage up to $30,000 through the Supplemental S-DVI program. This extra coverage requires premium payment but offers extended protection.

Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)

Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) provides a vital safety net for veterans with severe service-connected disabilities.4 It is designed to help protect a family's residence by covering the mortgage in the unfortunate event of the veteran's death. This type of insurance ensures that the family can continue to live in their home without the burden of a potentially unmanageable mortgage.

VMLI is available to veterans who meet specific criteria, including those who have a service-connected disability that has resulted in the need for certain home modifications. Here are key details about the coverage:

  • Eligibility: Veterans must have a VA grant for specially adapted housing and own the home for which they receive the insurance.
  • Coverage Limit: VMLI provides a maximum coverage amount equal to the mortgage owed on the property at the time of application, but it cannot exceed $200,000.
  • Premiums: Premium rates are based on the veteran's age and the mortgage amount.
  • Benefit Payment: In the event of the veteran's death, the insurance pays the lender directly to pay off the home mortgage balance.

Private Insurers

Beyond government-provided programs, veterans can also explore options in the private market.

  • Term life insurance offers coverage for a specific period, making it a cost-effective choice for many.
  • Permanent life insurance, such as whole or universal life, offers lifelong coverage and a savings component that can grow tax-deferred over time.

Comparing Policies

When comparing life insurance policies, veterans should consider several factors:

  • Coverage Needs: How much coverage is necessary to protect your family?
  • Budget: What premium can you afford?
  • Health: Does your health impact your choice of policy or premiums?
  • Long-term Benefits: Does the policy offer savings or investment components that could benefit you?

Veterans have various life insurance options, whether through the government or private insurers. Knowing and assessing these choices will help them make an informed decision that meets their personal and family requirements. The right life insurance policy can significantly support future planning.

   Discover the life insurance options as a veteran. Get a Life Insurance Quote  

How to Choose the Right Plan

Choosing the right life insurance plan can be essential for veterans who want to ensure their family’s financial stability. When exploring options, veterans should consider their unique needs, potential benefits already available through military service, and various insurance plans. Here's how to navigate this decision:

  1. Understand Your Benefits: Veterans should review VA benefits like SGLI or VGLI to determine their coverage and if additional insurance is needed.
  2. Assess Your Needs: Consider your financial obligations, such as mortgages, college funds for children, and outstanding debts. Also, consider your family’s day-to-day expenses and how long they might need financial support. This will help you gauge the amount of coverage right for you.
  3. Choose the Type of Insurance: Life insurance can be either term or permanent. Term life insurance covers you for a specific period, while permanent life insurance provides life coverage and can accumulate cash value over time.
  4. Compare the Costs: Veterans should get quotes from multiple insurance providers to compare the cost of life insurance. Prices can vary widely based on factors like age, health, and the amount and type of coverage.
  5. Consider Riders and Additional Benefits: Some policies include options for additional protection, known as riders. For instance, you might find policies with accelerated death benefits, which allow you to access funds if you become terminally ill. Other riders might offer protection for your children or spouse.
  6. Review Policy Portability: Check if your military or civilian employer coverage is portable after your status or job changes. It ensures continuous coverage regardless of your employment situation.
  7. Seek Professional Advice: Consider talking to a financial advisor who understands veterans' needs. They can offer tailored guidance and help you navigate different policies.

Choosing the right life insurance involves examining your current benefits, understanding your family’s needs, and considering your long-term financial goals. With careful consideration and possibly some professional advice, veterans can select a plan that ensures their family's financial needs will be met, no matter what the future holds.

Applying for Life Insurance as a Veteran

Applying for life insurance as a veteran involves a few special considerations, but it can be straightforward once you know what steps to take. Here’s a helpful guide to get you started.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Needs

Consider why you need life insurance and how much coverage you might require. A rule of thumb is to have a policy that covers 10-15 times your annual income. Still, your specific needs might vary based on your financial situation and whether you have dependents relying on your financial support.

Step 2: Understand Your Coverage Options

Military veterans can access unique life insurance options, including Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI). Permanent policies cover your entire life; term policies offer coverage for a specific period, such as 10, 20, or 30 years.

Step 3: Compare Providers

Compare insurance companies that offer policies for veterans by looking at their rates, reliability, customer service, and application process. Use online comparison tools or consult an insurance broker for personalized quotes and advice.

Step 4: Prepare Your Documents

When you’re ready to apply, you’ll need several pieces of information, including your military discharge papers (DD214), which will help prove your veteran status and related benefits. You’ll also need personal identification, medical records, and, depending on the policy, a detailed history of your military service.

Step 5: Undergo the Medical Exam

Life insurance applications usually require a medical exam, including blood tests, a urine sample, and a medical history review. Better health results in lower premiums. Some policies for veterans have simplified underwriting, which means fewer medical checks.

Step 6: Review and Accept the Policy

After processing your application, carefully review the policy terms before accepting them. Ensure the coverage meets your needs and you understand your obligations, like premium payments. If everything looks good, take the policy to start your coverage.

Step 7: Regularly Review Your Policy

Review your insurance policy regularly to ensure it aligns with your changing life circumstances, especially after significant events like marriage, childbirth, or house buying.

Life insurance for veterans can be complex, but understanding your benefits and options can make it easier. The right coverage can significantly impact your financial planning.


Securing the right life insurance is crucial for veterans to safeguard their family's financial future. Don't navigate this important decision alone. Reach out today to speak with a life insurance specialist who understands veterans' needs and can help you find the perfect policy. Act now to help ensure your peace of mind and financial security.

   Explore life insurance options for veterans. Get a Life Insurance Quote  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between SGLI and VGLI?

Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) are life insurance programs designed for military personnel at different stages of service.

SGLI is available to active duty members, offering coverage at a low cost, which ends upon leaving the military. In contrast, VGLI allows veterans to continue their life insurance coverage, albeit often at higher rates that increase with age.

What happens to a life insurance policy when a retired veteran dies?

When a retired veteran dies, their life insurance policy pays a death benefit to the named beneficiaries, typically a spouse, children, other family members, or loved ones. This payment is usually tax-free and can be used by the beneficiaries for various financial needs, such as covering living expenses or paying off debts.

The payout's specifics depend on the policy's terms, including the coverage amount and applicable riders or clauses.


  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI). https://www.va.gov/life-insurance/options-eligibility/vgli/.
  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Converting Your Life Insurance. https://www.benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/converting.asp.
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI). https://www.va.gov/life-insurance/options-eligibility/s-dvi/.
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI). https://www.va.gov/life-insurance/options-eligibility/vmli/.

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