SGLI Cost Review – Military Life Insurance

Transition challenges

If a service member waits to shop the market and secure their extended coverage until they are separating from the service, the price and policy approval will be subject to a health review. The VA put out a small list of health conditions that are most commonly uninsurable when veterans look for alternative options. The most common issue service members who become veterans face is PTSD.

Suicide Exclusion

The SGLI & VGLI benefit plans do not contain a suicide exclusion. It is important to be aware that most all other private market plans have this exclusion. It usually is a two year period from the beginning of the policy. This should be a consideration as many veterans struggle with transitioning into the civilian sector. If they choose to wait to purchase a private market plan until their separation date and heaven forbid commit suicide within 2 years of the plan than the insurance company will not pay out benefits to the beneficiaries. The exclusion is a state law insurance carriers are obligated to include in their policies.

If a service member secures a private market life insurance policy at least 2 years before their separation date they need not be concerned with the suicide exclusion. It will have already passed and their family is protected.

Occupational hazards

Service members are most commonly underwritten by life insurance companies based on their occupation. Although there are some plans that do not even ask for their occupation. The ones that do will look at the frequency of operations as well as their territory in order to decide if they will offer coverage at all. If they do they’ll take these factors into consideration in order to determine the price offered. It is not impossible for special forces or pilots to obtain coverage outside of the SGLI. Please contact me for more information.

War or territory exclusion

It is crucial for service members who have hazardous occupations and who deploy to understand that some companies offering private plans may have a war/occupational exclusion. While the majority of life insurance companies removed their war exclusions after the Korean and Vietnam Wars, there are a few companies that still have these exclusions. You will need to verify this before discontinuing the SGLI coverage. Be sure to read the new policy language beforehand. It’s also best to apply for life insurance coverage well before deployment as many carriers will not offer coverage with active orders.

Disability & injury provisions

When a service member is insured under the SGLI program they pay $1.00 a month for Traumatic Injury Coverage. This is a valuable benefit as it does payout for covered losses if a service members suffers from a traumatic injury. I think service members should stay enrolled in at least a small portion of the program because of this feature.

I recommend all service members at least maintain $100,000 of SGLI in order to be covered for this traumatic injury benefit.

The cost of SGLI also includes a disability extension provision. This allows service members who are unable to work due to a covered disability a chance at receiving two years of SGLI at no cost. On a private market plan life insurance carriers offer a waiver of premium rider which extends to the end of the policy term. This is an add on a consumer pays for in order waive their premium payments if they become disabled. The below case studies will include the rider for private market plans.

Smokers & health conditions

Service members who smoke or have rated health conditions will most likely find the military programs to be the best fit. Checking around for several quotes is a good idea to see how they compare to the SGLI.


There isn’t a one size fits all recommendation to service members regarding their life insurance benefit. It truly depends on their risk factors and comfort levels, and it’s worth noting that many service members may be at higher risk for physical and mental health conditions than those in the civilian workforce.

While I am happy that there is a veterans program in place, it doesn’t make sense for service members to run the risk of waiting to see what happens with their health. Essentially they are gambling on their life insurance costs in the long run.

My advice is for service members to look beyond the cost. It isn’t always about the money. When putting together a life insurance plan for service members, I aim to help them obtain the right amount of coverage and determine a strategy that works with their career goals. My hope is this article has highlighted some important features of the SGLI, VGLI as well as private market plans.

As a practicing broker I help military members and their families protect their home front with supplemental life insurance that fits their budget. Request an online quote or call me today!

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About Melissa Schreur - Owner & Agent Insure The Heroes

My name is Melissa Schreur. I am a military spouse providing life insurance services over the phone and online across the United States. With my 14 years of experience and access to top rated carriers, I work hard helping my clients find the best life insurance!

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