Life insurance for military families can be confusing! Whether you are a service member, spouse, veteran or retiree I’m willing to bet you have some life insurance questions. While the military provides a valuable life insurance benefit, many families do not understand the importance of securing a supplemental plan outside the military. As a military spouse, life insurance professional I’ve made it my mission to help families understand their life insurance benefit so that they can make good decisions about protecting their beneficiaries and safeguarding their insurability.
Use this page as a guide as you research your life insurance options as a military family.
You can find information about the military life insurance benefits such as the SGLI for service members, FSGLI for dependents and VGLI for veterans.
You’ll also find general life insurance information along with my best tips to ensure you get the best value as your put together your life insurance portfolio.
Remember life insurance isn’t for you, it’s for the ones you leave behind. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or need assistance.
Service members of the U.S. Armed Forces(active duty, reserve and national guard) have the option in participating in a group plan commonly referred to as the SGLI. This low cost life insurance program is often the best value for military personnel. That being said there are two reasons why they should buy supplemental life insurance plans on top of this benefit.
First, to ensure their family members are adequately covered should they pass away prematurely. Often times the amount afforded under the SGLI program is not enough protection. Second, to ensure they have fluid coverage continuity when they exit the service. Many veterans I’ve encountered have had challenges securing private market plans due to physical or mental health conditions. For a detailed review of the Service Members Group Life Insurance(SGLI) benefit see this page.
If a service member is a full time SGLI participant the family can elect to provide coverage for their spouse. Life insurance for military children is automatically provided at no additional cost. Spouses are often the backbone of the military family as they juggle many household responsibilities when service members go on deployments and temporary duty assignments. Often times they hold a job or operate a business as well.
It’s no wonder they are strong. They have to be. While this military does provide the lowest cost option for life insurance coverage on a military spouse, it is not enough to cover the financial value they contribute to a military household. It is imperative that families look into securing additional life insurance coverage on their spouse to be properly protected from financial catastrophe. For a detailed review of the Family Service Members Group Life Insurance(FSGLI) benefit see this page.
Military personnel getting ready to transition out of the service have a long list of items to attend to. One of those is to decide on their life insurance continuation. One of the options is to opt into the veterans program. While many veterans will find that this program is their lowest cost option, it is not the most competitive plan. This plan is best suited for transitioning military personnel that have uninsurable or expensive health conditions.
Before veterans decide on which avenue to go for their life insurance after the military they should shop around to find out the best price they can qualify for. For a detailed review of the Veterans Group Life Insurance(VGLI) benefit see this page.
All types of consumers have life insurance questions. Many times they get so confused they simply stop their search to secure a plan. In my years of experience as an agent, I’ve found some similarities in what consumers need to know in order to feel confident about their purchase. See the below tips to make your search for coverage as smooth as possible.
You have to start here. The amount of coverage you buy is what will determine not only the price of the plan but what exactly the plan will do for your family if you die. A general recommendation is to buy 7-10 times your annual income. The two other methods are to do either a life insurance needs analysis or a human life valuation.
Experienced agents and financial advisers can walk you through a set of questions to help you determine the best coverage amount. You can also use online calculators to do this on your own time. The biggest take away you should get is don’t get too caught up if you can’t narrow down an amount. Some additional coverage is better than none! You can always start off with an amount and continue your research to increase or decrease it later.
Once you have an idea of how much coverage you should have in place for the members of your military family you need to design a portfolio. A life insurance portfolio is simply a set of plans you have in place. This could be one plan per person or sometimes even more than one plan per person. Life insurance policies are sold as temporary and permanent plans.
Temporary coverage is commonly sold as term in lengths of 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years. Permanent coverage has many types of plans but the most common are whole life and universal. In most cases, military families are best suited to by term insurance. It’s my recommendation to talk with a financial adviser if you are considering any permanent life insurance plans to ensure you understand how they work.
Talking with your spouse about life insurance is not the most appealing task. Furthermore, many spouse may have some serious objections to having this discussion. Many couples put off planning out their life insurance for this reason. Even though it’s hard to think about your spouse dying, you must find a way to have a conversation about whether or not your household is prepared.
Especially, if you want to name your spouse as a beneficiary. They should know what to do with the benefit should you pass away. Families also should consider reviewing their wills and ensure that the legal side of things is well in order. Too many people put this off and create massive headaches for the loved ones they leave behind after they die.
By this point you should have a solid idea of how much coverage you need for each person in your household and how long of plan they need. It’s a great idea to establish a base line budget for how much you are willing and able to spend for these plans. You can simply name a total amount or breakout a budget for each individual’s plan.
Creating a budget for your life insurance portfolio will be extremely helpful when you start looking for prices. Their can be quite a few options. Having this base line budget will help you make good decisions when narrowing them down.
Now it is time to find the best life insurance for your military family. Whether you use your bank, one company or a broker, be sure to get a handful of quotes so you can compare your options. Be sure to share with life insurance representatives as much details as possible regarding any health aliments you or your family member have had in the last 5-10 years. This will help them provide the most accurate life insurance pricing.
Not all health issues will be an extra cost for life insurance but there are some that can bump up the price. This is important as you need to have the best idea how much it will actually cost after your review with the company is completed. Many consumers end up finding out after the fact that the company they applied for was not actually the best deal after the company reviewed their lab work or prescription history.
The application process for life insurance can vary between companies. That being said they are all very similar. There are coverage amounts that may not require an exam and have an expedited application time frame. If you are looking at obtaining a higher coverage limit or have any health issues there will likely be a longer review to make a decision on your plan.
The biggest takeaway you should have is that now that you have taken the time to make a decision on a company, they need to make a decision on you. This is why I recommend customers apply for maybe two or three plans at a time. You will be required to disclose this on each application. This will help move everything forward for you in case one company either does not approve you or offers you a higher rate.
Congratulations, you secured the best military life insurance! You are set for life, right? Not exactly. Life insurance should actually be reviewed every year or at least when you have a changing life event. These events are commonly getting married or divorced, having a child or adding to the family, getting a raise, buying or selling a home and retirement.
You need to be sure that your existing life insurance portfolio matches your family’s needs as your life changes. You may decide to leave your plans as they are but the point is to put a fresh set of eyes on your needs.
Learn how Insure The Heroes can help with your military life insurance protection!