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Facts and Fiction About Military Life Insurance

Military Life Insurance: Separating Fact from Fiction

Military life insurance comes in more than one form. There are private-sector military life insurance policy options, such as those offered by AAFMAA, and options offered by the federal government, such as Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI).

Military life insurance is an important part of family planning, but if you are new to life insurance in general or haven’t explored your options in a while, you may have a misconception or two about those options. Here are some of the most common reasons why they aren’t true.

Military Life Insurance Fiction: Payment of TSGLI reduces the amount of SGLI payout.

The Department of Veterans Affairs notes that payment of Traumatic Injury SGLI has “no impact on the amount of SGLI payable.” There is no reduction-in-kind policy in these cases. Civilian life insurance policy specifics may vary; check the fine print of your legally binding insurance policy to learn what options apply to you in such cases.

Military Life Insurance Fiction: Payment of SGLI Is Denied For Using Personally Purchased Military Gear

There is a persistent myth that SGLI won’t pay if the insured dies wearing privately purchased body armor or a privately purchased helmet. This is not true, according to VA.gov, which adds, “Wearing body armor or a helmet is not a requirement for an SGLI claim to be paid.”

Read more: Private Life Insurance for the Military Community

Life Insurance Fiction: SGLI or VGLI Payouts Are Dependent on Using Safety Gear

This is untrue. Even if the deceased was not wearing a seatbelt, helmet or other safety equipment, SGLI and VGLI are still paid. Be sure to read the fine print of any third-party private life insurance policy to learn what applies in these circumstances with that specific policy.




Life Insurance Fact: Specific Duty Required For Full SGLI/VGLI Protection in the Guard/Reserve

Reservists and members of the National Guard assigned to a unit scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive duty that are creditable for retirement purposes have full-time SGLI coverage all year round.

VA.gov notes, “You are also covered for 120 days following separation or release from duty.”

Life Insurance Fact: Your Military Life Insurance Pays If You Die in a Terrorist Attack

SGLI and VGLI proceeds are paid to your beneficiary or beneficiaries if you die in a terrorist attack. Check the policy of any third-party private life insurance policy to learn what applies in these circumstances with that specific policy. SGLI and VGLI have no “terror exclusions.”

Life Insurance Fact: Some Coverage can be Forfeited

If you have life insurance through the SGLI program, the coverage “will be forfeited only when an insured member is found guilty” of crimes such as mutiny, treason, spying, or desertion.

SGLI/VGLI can also be denied when the servicemember “refuses, because of conscientious objections, to perform service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or refuses to wear the uniform of such force,” according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Furthermore, no insurance will be paid via SGLI or VGLI “for death inflicted as a lawful punishment for crime or for military or naval offense except when inflicted by an enemy of the United States.”


Read more: Private Life Insurance for the Military Community

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About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.