Life Insurance For Military Spouses
Is there life insurance for military spouses? The short answer is yes, starting with the options offered through the Family Servicemembers Group Life Insurance program, also known as FSGLI. But there are private options offered, too.
Do Military Spouses Get Life Insurance?
There are government insurance options and private life insurance coverage for military spouses and family members.
For example, if you feel your life insurance coverage isn’t enough to cover the family’s needs, you can opt for a commercially available term or whole life insurance through a licensed agency such as the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (or AAFMAA).
Do Military Spouses Get Servicemembers Group Life Insurance Coverage?
Yes, but under a different program than those who serve.
Servicemembers are offered SGLI, described at the VA official site as “low-cost term coverage” you are automatically signed up for when you ship out to basic training. SGLI is for service members, including the Guard and Reserve.
Military spouses who are themselves service members are also covered by SGLI. A ‘dual military” couple and individual SGLI enrollees alike may qualify for:
- Coverage up to $500,000
- Coverage is offered in $50,000 increments
- 120 days of free coverage from your separation date
- Extension of free coverage for up to 2 years for those rated as totally disabled after discharge
- Part-time coverage is offered to Reserve members who don’t qualify for full-time coverage
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SGLI For Military Spouses: FSGLI
The SGLI option for military spouses is offered under the FSGLI program. Family Servicemembers Group Life Insurance is available to:
- Spouses of those covered under SGLI
- Dependent children of those covered under SGLI
VA.gov advises that spouses will qualify for FSGLI when the spouse is on active duty, but a military spouse may qualify for FSGLI even if the couple is dual-military. This is also true if you are a military spouse but are retired or separated yourself.
What’s Offered Under Family Servicemembers Group Life Insurance
If you sign up for FSGLI, you are covered for up to $100 thousand as a military spouse. Your coverage amount cannot exceed the servicemembers. Each dependent child is covered for up to $10,000 at no expense.
How to Apply for FSGLI
The Department of Veterans Affairs official site says there is an automatic signup process in cases where the coverage is for a civilian spouse of a service member signed up for full-time SGLI.
“We’ll automatically insure you under FSGLI. In this case, we’ll automatically take your premium out of your service member’s pay” according to VA.gov. But this does NOT apply to all.
FGLI For Those Married in 2013 or Beyond
In cases where a military spouse was married on or after January 2, 2013, “We won’t automatically cover you. You’ll need your service member to sign you up online through the SGLI Online Enrollment System (SOES).”
Converting SGLI to an Individual Life Insurance Policy
You may be allowed to convert FSGLI coverage to what the VA describes as “a permanent, individual insurance policy (such as whole life) within 120 days ”from the date the service member leaves the military, files for divorce, or dies. These rules also apply within 120 days of the servicemember canceling their own policy or the FSGLI policy in writing.
VA.gov reminds spouses that if they convert FSGLI, they become responsible for “all aspects” of the policy, “including premium payments.”
Other Life Insurance Options For Military Spouses
In addition to FSGLI, there are privately operated life insurance options; you can choose between term life insurance, whole life insurance, amounts of coverage, etc.
If you are shopping around for life insurance with options above and beyond FSGLI, there are some important considerations to remember as you compare plans. One of the first things to sort out? How much coverage you actually need.
It’s not enough to consider insurance that can pay for burial and related expenses. Some sources advise considering insurance that can cover all or most of the following:
- Multiple years of annual salary
- Total mortgage balance
- Payoff amount of any other debts
- Future college costs for dependents
Calculating your actual life insurance needs may seem daunting, but there are online life insurance calculators that can help. When you’re ready to use one you will need the following information to run the numbers:
- Payoff amount of your mortgage
- Estimated total outgoing monthly debt
- College fund expenses
- Amount of any investments
- Amount in your emergency fund now
- Annual income
- Lump sum pension amount
- Annual Social Security Income where applicable
You can also contact a life insurance representative to get a quote for coverage for you and your family.
Extra Life Insurance Isn’t Always About Dollar Amounts
There are many reasons to consider additional life insurance for military spouses and dependents. It’s true that the FSGLI coverage amounts for them aren’t as high as for the service members themselves, but there is another reason to think about extra life insurance; control.
- Service members are required to maintain SGLI accounts for themselves and their family members.
- VA.gov states, “If you have spousal coverage and you want to reduce, turn down, or cancel it, have your service member submit your changes online through the SGLI Online Enrollment System (SOES).”
- Troops must use milConnect to sign in and access life insurance benefits to change or cancel them.
If you want a life insurance policy under your direct control as a military spouse, a commercially offered life insurance policy is worth looking into.
You won’t need to ask your spouse’s permission or have their personal assistance to change or cancel the policy and you can keep this policy even if your spouse retires or separates from the military.
>> Getting affordable life insurance coverage with no medical exam or labs required is easy. Get a no-obligation, free consultation to determine your eligibility.
About the author
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.