Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on July 04, 2023

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What Is Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI)?

Veterans' Group Life Insurance is a government-backed life insurance program designed specifically for veterans who have separated from active duty or reserve service.

The primary purpose of VGLI is to provide affordable, renewable term life insurance coverage to eligible veterans, ensuring financial protection for their families and beneficiaries.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for VGLI, a veteran must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be a former member of the uniformed services who had Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage at the time of separation.

  2. Apply for VGLI within one year and 120 days from the date of separation from service.

  3. Not be eligible for SGLI coverage as a member of the Ready Reserve or National Guard.

Coverage and Conversion Options

Coverage Amounts and Increments

VGLI offers coverage in increments of $10,000, with a maximum coverage amount equal to the coverage held under SGLI at the time of separation. However, veterans can also choose to reduce their coverage amount, if desired.

Conversion From SGLI to VGLI

Upon separation from service, veterans have the option to convert their SGLI coverage to VGLI without having to provide evidence of good health.

This can be especially beneficial for veterans with pre-existing medical conditions that may disqualify them from obtaining private life insurance coverage.

Timeline for Conversion

Veterans have 1 year and 120 days from the date of separation to apply for VGLI. If they apply within the first 240 days, they will not be required to provide evidence of good health.

However, if they apply after the first 240 days but within the 1-year and 120-day window, they must provide evidence of good health.

Premium Rates and Payment Options

Determining Premium Rates

VGLI premium rates are based on the coverage amount and the veteran's age, with rates increasing as the veteran gets older. The premium rates are generally more affordable than those offered by private insurers, especially for veterans with pre-existing medical conditions.

Payment Frequency and Methods

VGLI premiums can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, with various payment methods available, including electronic funds transfer, allotment, or direct billing.

Premium Adjustments

VGLI policyholders have the option to increase or decrease their coverage amount, which will result in corresponding adjustments to their premium rates.

Additional Features and Benefits of VGLI

Accelerated Death Benefit

VGLI policyholders diagnosed with a terminal illness and a life expectancy of nine months or less may be eligible for an accelerated death benefit. This allows the insured to receive a portion of their death benefit while still alive, helping to cover medical expenses or other financial needs.

No Medical Underwriting Period

As mentioned earlier, veterans who apply for VGLI within 240 days of separation from service do not need to provide evidence of good health, making it easier for those with pre-existing medical conditions to obtain coverage.

Coverage for Spouses and Dependents

While VGLI itself does not offer coverage for spouses and dependents, veterans may be eligible for Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) coverage for their spouses and dependent children.

Additional Features and Benefits of Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

How to Apply for VGLI

Application Process

Veterans can apply for VGLI online, by mail, or by fax. The online application process is the fastest and most convenient method, with step-by-step instructions provided on the VGLI website.

Required Documentation

When applying for VGLI, veterans must provide a copy of their separation document (DD Form 214) or other proof of separation from service, as well as any required evidence of good health if applying after the initial 240-day period.

Deadlines and Late Enrollment

As mentioned previously, veterans have 1 year and 120 days from the date of separation to apply for VGLI.

It is essential to apply within this window to avoid losing eligibility for coverage. Late enrollment may be possible in specific situations, but it is generally not recommended, as it may result in higher premiums or denial of coverage.

Comparing VGLI to Other Life Insurance Options

Advantages and Disadvantages of VGLI

VGLI is a life insurance program that is available to veterans who were insured under the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program during their service. One of the main advantages of VGLI is that it is easy to obtain, with no medical exam required.

Additionally, VGLI premiums are often lower than premiums for individual life insurance policies. However, VGLI also has some potential drawbacks. For example, the coverage amounts are limited, and the premiums may increase over time.

Alternative Life Insurance Options for Veterans

Veterans may have several alternative life insurance options to consider, including:

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance policies provide coverage for a specific period, such as 10, 20, or 30 years. These policies often offer higher coverage amounts than VGLI and may have lower premiums for younger veterans.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance policies provide coverage for the lifetime of the insured and often offer cash value accumulation. These policies can be more expensive than term life insurance policies but may offer greater flexibility and more benefits.

Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance

Some employers offer group life insurance policies to their employees, which may provide coverage for veterans as well. These policies may be less expensive than individual policies, but the coverage amounts may be limited.

Alternative Life Insurance Options for Veterans


Importance of VGLI in Financial Planning for Veterans

VGLI is a valuable financial planning tool for eligible veterans, providing affordable and accessible life insurance coverage that can help protect their families and loved ones.

However, it is essential for veterans to carefully consider their individual needs and circumstances when choosing a life insurance policy, as VGLI may not be the best option for everyone.

Seeking Professional Guidance

When evaluating VGLI or any other life insurance option, it is crucial to seek guidance from insurance agents, financial advisors, or other professionals who can help you make informed decisions and ensure that your life insurance coverage aligns with your financial goals and needs.

Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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