UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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VGLI is provided to allow those leaving military service to transfer and continue their life insurance coverage without having to undergo medical exams or qualify for life insurance elsewhere.
Those who are enrolled in the SGLI program can apply for VGLI within 1 year and 120 days of their separation from service. There is a time limit of 240 days to apply without having to answer health questions; after that time the applicant’s health may impact eligibility. There are a few eligibility requirements aside from the time period. These are:
- Release from active duty or active duty for training where there is no specified call to duty period of fewer than 31 days
- Release, retirement, or other separation from the National Guard or Ready Reserves
- Assignment to Ready Reserves in any branch, Inactive National Guard, or the United States Public Health Service Inactive
- Reserve Corps
- Temporary Disability Retirement
- Injury or disability while insured with part-time SGLI that renders you ineligible for commercial life insurance
This program can only be accessed by those who qualify and through the government application process.
VGLI Insurance Program
The coverage available starts at a maximum of the same amount carried under SGLI, with increases in death benefits available every five years of $25,000. The maximum coverage available is $400,0000. After age 60, the benefit amount cannot be increased. Thus, a servicemember carrying $100,000 in coverage can obtain this same amount initially, and then add $25,000 every five years until the maximum is reached or they turn 60, whichever comes sooner.
Those who are eligible can also choose to purchase smaller amounts of life insurance in increments of $10,000.
Plans under the VGLI program are renewable term life insurance and remain in force for life as long as premiums are paid and the plan is renewed every five years; health does not impact this. However, rates do go up every five years based on the age of the insured at the time of renewal.
Coverage is guaranteed for those who are eligible and apply within the time period, regardless of the insured’s health.
VGLI rates are set based on the veteran’s age. The rates are laid out in a table format on the Veteran’s Affairs website.
Rates start at $0.80 per month for $10,000 in coverage if the applicant is 29 or under. A $100,000 policy would cost $8.00 per month for that same age group, climbing to $460.00 per month for an applicant over 75.
A $400,000 policy for an applicant 29 or under would cost $32.00 a month. By age 75, that rate goes up to $1840.00 a month, an incredible amount of money to pay for life insurance in retirement. While this plan starts out very affordable, it becomes very expensive for those who need it in force into their senior years.
Claims can be filed by downloading the claims form, which is readily available on the VA website, and either faxing or mailing it in. A number of different claims forms are available depending on the status of the beneficiary
The company’s website does not offer a telephone number for filing claims, however, there is a phone number offered for questions.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
VGLI is not a commercial life insurance company and as a result, does not have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) page or rating. We were unable to locate reviews of VGLI’s service elsewhere on the internet.
As a government-sponsored program, it is not surprising that VGLI doesn’t appear on the usual consumer review sites. Due to the lack of reviews available it is difficult to provide information on how their services rate compared to other companies.
The Bottom Line
VGLI has the benefit of allowing coverage to be transferred without health impacting eligibility, but it grows very expensive over time. For those who are in good health, and for those who require lifetime coverage, it may be more affordable to obtain commercial life insurance. VGLI offers only term insurance; for many, the flat rate of a permanent policy will be less costly in the long term. It would be wise for veterans to compare their options, obtain quotes, and consider the long-term affordability of each option prior to making a decision.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.