What Is Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)?

Veterans group life insurance pays cash to the beneficiaries of a deceased member of the armed forces who had completed their service. Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is for service members who have completed their service and wish to continue to have life insurance coverage carried over from their Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy. They have one year and 120 days from the date they become veterans to exercise this option, and VGLI is a renewable term policy.

Understanding Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

Veterans group life insurance offers many benefits not available in the private life insurance market. Premium rates are age-based only and do not consider gender, tobacco use, job, or recreational activities—all of which can increase premiums in the private market.

The policy does not terminate at a certain age (such as 65); it remains in force for as long as the policyholder pays the premiums. Also, veterans who apply to convert their SGLI to VGLI within the first 120 days after completing their service are not subject to a health review. Approval of the policy is not contingent upon being in good physical or mental health.

The maximum amount of coverage a veteran may qualify for is the same amount of coverage they had under the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) after leaving the service. The SGLI is term life insurance offered to members of the military during active service. Veterans may opt for lower levels of coverage in $10,000 increments. Coverage can be increased after enrollment. The increase may be as much as $25,000 every five years but is capped to $400,000 until the veteran reaches 60.

As is the case with most types of life insurance, it's important for each veteran to compare potential plans in order to determine what is the best life insurance policy for their unique circumstances.

Eligibility for Veterans Group Life Insurance

There are certain eligibility requirements for veterans who want to apply for VGLI. They must have had SGLI and are within one year and 120 days from:

  • Being released from active duty, training, or order to duty in a period of 31 days or less
  • Being separated, by retirement or release, from an assignment from the Ready Reserves or the National Guard
  • An assignment of the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) or to the Inactive National Guard (ING) (Members of the United States Public Health Service Inactive Reserve Corps (IRC) are also included in this section.)
  • Being placed on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL)

Veterans may also be able to apply for this kind of insurance, even if their SGLI was part-time and they were performing duty. Anyone with an injury—or those living with a different ability who were unable to get insurance at standard premium rates—may also qualify.