As a Service member when you leave the Service, you are given a chance to convert your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage over to the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) program. SGLI is coverage while you serve and VGLI is coverage after the Service. The maximum amount of coverage you are allowed under VGLI is whatever amount of coverage you have in force of SGLI at the time of your separation. The maximum amount of coverage under either policy is $400,000.
Chances are that after separation from the Service, you will still need life insurance coverage. Life insurance is required to provide financial support for your family when your income is gone due to your death. A spouse with a career and personal assets can minimize your life insurance needs.
You are given 240 days from separation/retirement to convert from SGLI to VGLI and not have to complete the normally required health check-up. Depending on physical condition and health after your Service time, this “no health check-up” feature could be an important benefit to you. Commercial insurance companies and policies will require a health check-up.
VGLI is not cheap. Technically VGLI is a form of “annual renewable term” insurance. This means the premium amount goes up as you age. VGLI premiums increase every five years (see table below for current rates). Generally, if your health allows you to buy commercial life insurance do it. You can buy more commercial coverage for less cost.
VGLI monthly premium rates, as of February 2020 (updates will be posted here):
Learn more about the SGLI and VGLI programs here: http://www.insurance.va.gov/sgliSite/handbook/handbook.htm