Active-duty military personnel are eligible to receive up to $400,000 in life insurance coverage offered through Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), and that benefit continues for 120 days after leaving military service. But what happens after that?
Within 120 days of leaving service, you have the option to convert your current SGLI policy into a civilian one. Additionally, select companies offer life insurance policies designed for veterans and their families as an alternative to or replacement of the SGLI plan.
We reviewed dozens of life insurance companies to find those that offer the best options for veterans based on key criteria including price, plan options, and a history of serving veterans.
The 5 Best Life Insurance Companies for Veterans in 2020
- Prudential Veterans' Group Life Insurance: Best Overall
- Army & Air Force Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA): Best for Senior Veterans
- United Services Automobile Association (USAA): Best for Disabled Veterans
- Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA): Best for Families
- Military Benefit Association (MBA): Best Children's Rider
Best Overall: Prudential Veterans' Group Life Insurance
Prudential Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is our clear overall pick because it offers a guarantee of lifetime coverage with no medical exam requirement and no exclusions for mental health, PTSD, or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Provides coverage for millions of active service members and hundreds of thousands of military veterans
No medical exam necessary for veterans who apply within 240 days of leaving service
No exclusions for mental health, PTSD, or TBI
Veterans must apply for VGLI within 1 year and 120 days of leaving active military duty to be eligible
Founded in 1875, Prudential has an A+ rating from AM Best. It provides coverage for millions of active service members and hundreds of thousands of military veterans with VGLI, a program established with the Veterans' Insurance Act of 1974.
Administered by Prudential on behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs since the launch of the VGLI program, this product guarantees lifetime coverage for the rest of a veteran's life, no matter what happens to your health or employment status, as long as you pay your premiums. You have one year and 120 days after leaving active military service to enroll. If you apply within 240 days, no medical questions will be asked of you.
The monthly premium for $150,000 of coverage is $19.50 per month for a 35-year-old veteran and $100.50 per month for a 55-year-old veteran.
Online quotes are available on the websites for Prudential and Veterans Affairs. For assistance over the phone, you can call the company directly Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.
Read the full review: Prudential Life Insurance
Best for Senior Veterans: Army & Air Force Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA)
AAFMAA is a go-to provider for senior veterans because of its options for older retired service members that include ANNUITYLife and the Senior Survivor Plan.
Offers a cheaper alternative to VGLI, with up to 14% off the monthly premiums offered by VGLI
Offers no medical exam insurance policies
Has been in business for more than 140 years
Coverage not available in all states
Founded in 1879 when the War Department realized there was a need to take care of soldiers after Custer's Last Stand, AAFMAA offers term-life insurance and whole life insurance, specifically for veterans, with coverage available nationwide except for Washington, D.C., Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
In addition, the company offers no medical exam life insurance policies, including ANNUITYLife, Wealth Builder Life, Simple Term Life, and the Senior Survivor Plan, all of which are designed for older veterans and their spouses.
Instant online quotes are available on AAFMAA's website, without having to speak with an agent. Otherwise, interested customers can speak to an insurance sales representative over the phone, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.
The company's Level Term I plan offers coverage up to age 50 and its Level Term II offers options ranging from five to 30 years of term life coverage.
An online quote for a nonsmoking 35-year-old male veteran for $150,000 in coverage costs $8.65 per month for Level Term I and $15.15 per month for Level Term II. Whole life monthly premiums range from $136.24 (for the pay for life option) to $357.30 for a seven-year premium duration. For a nonsmoking 55-year-old male veteran seeking up to $150,00 in coverage, insurance costs $86.70 per month for Level Term II. Whole life monthly premiums range from $295.41 (for the pay for life option) to $708.60 for the seven-year premium duration.
Best for Disabled Veterans: United Services Automobile Association (USAA)
USAA gets our selection for best insurance for disabled veterans because it allows veterans to replace existing SGLI policies and lock in premiums regardless of service-obtained disabilities.
Has been in business since the 1920s
Customers have the option to add all of their children to the policy for $8 per month
Policyholders are guaranteed to be able to replace some or all of their servicemembers' group life insurance (SGLI) when retiring, even if they're disabled
A medical checkup is required to rate the policy
With the highest rating available from AM Best of A++ (Superior), USAA has been in business since 1922 and offers a variety of life insurance policies for active military and veterans, including term, whole, and universal life.
Online quotes are available but you must create an account first. Otherwise, interested customers can reach out to the company over the phone Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST, and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.
You can also apply to get a policy in the company's mobile app, with the process taking about 20 minutes. At that point, a free medical exam is required and will be scheduled at a time that works for you. This appointment can be done at your home or wherever you choose. Within a couple of weeks, USAA will review your eligibility and determine your premium.
The company offers term life insurance policies for as little as $12 a month for military members that includes coverage during wartime and up to $25,000 in assistance to cover the cost of severe injuries. Policyholders can retain this coverage—guaranteed—after leaving active duty. These policies, available in increments of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years, can be upgraded to whole life insurance and universal life insurance as well. USAA gives retiring military members the option to replace SGLI once they leave active duty with the ability to lock in premiums—even for retiring military members who are disabled.
Read the full review: USAA Life Insurance
Best for Families: Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA)
USBA's family term life insurance and optional coverage for dependent kids make it a company to consider for veterans with families.
Has been in business since the 1950s
Offers a family plan that includes coverage for married couples and additional optional coverage for dependent children
Select plan offerings are not available in New York and Washington state
Founded in 1959 to meet the needs of military personnel, USBA offers veterans term and whole life insurance to replace SGLI when they leave the military. Policies are underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, which has received an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best.
Instant online quotes are available. You can also call the company and speak with a sales agent Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST.
A nonsmoking 35-year-old male can expect to pay between $18 to $23.87 per month for $150,000 of 20-year level term insurance and $163.50 per month for lifetime value whole life insurance. A nonsmoking 55-year-old male can expect to pay between $38.50 and $50.75 per month for 10-year level term insurance and $433.50 per month for life-time value whole life insurance.
The company has a first to die policy called the USBA Double Value Two for One Family Group Level Term Life Plan. This offers equal coverage for married couples with one joint monthly premium and pays upon the death of the first spouse. This is an appealing choice for veterans and their families looking to maximize their budget. The monthly premium for $150,000 in coverage is $15.75 for nonsmoking couples ages 31 to 40 and $82.50 for nonsmoking couples ages 51 to 55. Dependent children can be added to the plan for just $1.50 more per child per month.
Best Children's Rider: Military Benefit Association (MBA)
For peace of mind, children are covered for free up to $12,500 with the military Term Insurance to Age 90 Plan. Optional add-ons even allow children to become members in their own right starting at age 25.
Is underwritten by MetLife Inc.
Has been in business since the 1950s
Eligible children may be covered for up to $12,500 at no additional cost
Offers coverage for policyholders up to age 90
Only offers term life insurance; no whole life insurance plans are available
Founded in 1957, MBA offers 10- and 20-year term life insurance for veterans as an alternative to or supplement for existing VGLI coverage. The company's life insurance policies are underwritten by MetLife, Inc., which has received an A+ rating from AM Best. As an added benefit to senior veterans, MBA offers an additional term life insurance plan that provides coverage up to age 90.
Aside from the veteran, family members can obtain policies. Spouses are eligible for $1 million in coverage. All policies come with free coverage for each dependent child for up to $12,500 per dependent. And, as an optional add on, customers can apply for $10,000, $20,000, or $25,000 of additional term coverage for each unmarried child under 21 years old (or 25 years for full-time students who are unmarried and are dependents of the policyholder). Beyond that, eligible children can become MBA members starting at age 25.
Instant online quotes are available on the company's website. Interested customers can also call the company and speak with a sales agent Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For $150,000 in coverage benefits, a nonsmoking 35-year-old male can expect to pay $9.30 per month for term life insurance, while a nonsmoking 55-year-old male can expect to pay $46.50 per month.
What Is Life Insurance for Veterans?
Life insurance offers a way to provide financial support to your loved ones—specifically surviving dependents, a spouse, or other designated recipient—in the event of your death.
It can be more difficult for veterans to get traditional insurance policies due to residual mental and physical health issues. Life insurance for vets considers these challenges that these men and women face and provides them with alternatives.
Does the VA Offer Life Insurance?
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers SGLI to active duty members while they're serving. It also offers VGLI with up to $400,000 in coverage and Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI) for those that meet certain eligibility criteria, which includes meeting application deadlines.
What Does Life Insurance for Veterans Typically Include?
Veterans life insurance companies often include optional coverage for children and spouses. Some, such as AAFMAA, offer coverage for eligible grandchildren. Some offer preferred ratings (or discounted monthly premiums) for those with healthy lifestyles. Many pay benefits even in the event of a war-related death.
What Does Life Insurance for Veterans Typically Exclude?
Life insurance is no different than other types of insurance where it has noted exclusions. Suicide as a cause of death is commonly excluded from all life insurance policies. VGLI does not exclude for PTSD, TBI, or suicide, though that may not be the case for other providers. Be sure to read through the policy terms and take advantage of the free look period that allows you to read every line of the contract obligation-free.
What Are the Expected Costs of Life Insurance for Veterans?
Age, health, gender, and smoking history are a few of the main factors that affect the cost of life insurance for veterans. Another element that can affect the premium is the type and length of the plan.
On the younger side, nonsmoking 35-year-old male veterans can expect to pay between about $9 to about $25 per month for $150,000 in term coverage, depending on their overall health and plan selections.
Nonsmoking 55-year-old males can expect to pay between about $39 to about $86 per month for $150,000 in term coverage, depending on their overall health and plan selections.
How We Chose the Best Life Insurance Companies for Veterans
We reviewed dozens of life insurance companies to find those that offer the best options for veterans, based on overall ratings, history of serving veterans, range of plan offerings, pricing, plan features, and coverage options for family members and spouses. These are all important criteria for those looking for life insurance coverage after leaving the military.
Department of Veterans Affairs. "Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)." Accessed June 1, 2020.
AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Prudential Financial, Inc. and Its Subsidiaries." Accessed Oct. 28, 2020.
AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of United Services Automobile Association, Its Subsidiaries and USAA Capital Corporation." Accessed Oct. 28, 2020.
Better Business Bureau. "Military Benefit Association." Accessed June 1, 2020.
AAFMAA. "Level Term II." Accessed June 1, 2020.