VGLI: Veterans’ Group Life Insurance Overview
What Is VGLI Coverage?
VGLI is short for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance. It’s a renewable term life insurance policy the VA offers recently separated Servicemembers and Veterans. It allows you to continue the life insurance coverage you had in uniform under the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program.
Unlike most commercial life insurance policies, VGLI does not require a health screening if you are applying within 240 days of separation from service. VGLI coverage does not expire or decrease at a certain age. As long as the premiums are paid, your coverage continues.
With VGLI, you have the option to increase your benefit amount over time. You can also convert your VGLI term life policy into a commercial permanent life insurance policy without having to prove you are in good health. VGLI can be used as primary life insurance coverage, or as a supplemental policy.
Who Is Eligible for VGLI?
To be eligible for VGLI, at least one of these situations must be true, you:
- Had SGLI while you were in the military and you’re within 1 year and 120 days of being released from an active-duty status of 31 or more days.
- Retired or were released from the Ready Reserves or National Guard within the last 1 year and 120 days.
- Were assigned to the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) of a branch of service, to the Inactive National Guard (ING) or the United States Public Health Service Inactive Reserve Corps (IRC) within the last 1 year and 120 days.
- Were put on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL) within the last 1 year and 120 days.
- Were a member of the National Guard or Reserves with part-time Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), suffered an injury or disability while on duty and now you can’t qualify for standard premium insurance rates.
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What Does VGLI Include?
- Your initial VGLI coverage is up to whatever amount you had when you were in uniform.
- Every 5 years, you can increase that amount by $25,000 for up to a total benefit amount of $400,000.
- You can lower your coverage amount in $10,000 increments.
- VGLI policy holders who become totally disabled may be eligible to have their monthly premiums waived.
- VGLI policy holders or spouses who become terminally ill may be able to receive up to half of the face value of their policy in $5,000 increments before death.
- There are no suicide or “war” clause claim exclusions.
How Much Does VGLI Cost?
The cost of a VGLI policy depends on how much coverage you need and your age.
- Your physical health, gender, job, mental health (including PTSD and TBI), tobacco use, and recreational activities are not used to determine the cost of your policy like typical commercial life insurance companies do.
- There are no enrollment or membership fees.
- You can make automatic premium payments through your military retirement pay, VA compensation payments or your bank account. You can also use a credit card online or by phone.
- You can pay your premiums monthly, quarterly or annually. If you pay annually, you can get a 5% discount on your premium cost. Smaller discounts are available for quarterly and semi-annual payments
- There is a 60 day grace period after a missed payment before a VGLI policy is suspended. You have up to five years from the date of the lapsed payment to reapply to have the policy reinstated.
How Do Servicemembers and Veterans Sign Up for VGLI?
- You can apply online through OSGLI or eBenefits
- You can fax or mail an Application for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (SGLV 8714) to OSGLI using the contact information on the form.
How Do Servicemembers and Veterans Make Changes to Their VGLI Policy?
You can access your policy online to change or update your beneficiaries, or you can fill out the VGLI Beneficiary Designation form (SGLV 8721) and fax or mail it to OSGLI.
In order to apply:
- for a policy waiver due to total disability, fill out the Claim for Disability Insurance (VA Form 29-357) and mail it to the address on the form.
- for accelerated policy benefits for a terminally ill policy holder or spouse, fill out the Claim for Accelerated Benefits (SGLV 8284), have the attending doctor sign it, and mail it to the address on the form. You can also fax it to the number on the form.
- to have a VGLI policy reinstated, fill out and return the Reinstatement Application received from OSGLI when the policy lapsed. If you are applying within six months of a missed payment, you only have to provide proof that your health status hasn’t changed since the time of the missed payment. You are eligible for reinstatement up to five years after a payment lapse if you meet VGLI’s good health requirements.
Can VGLI Be Converted to Something Else?
Yes, VGLI can be converted to a commercial permanent life insurance policy, like a whole life policy, with one of the commercial insurance companies that has an agreement with the VA. You are not required to provide proof of good health to get the new policy, but the company may ask health questions to determine your premium costs.
To convert a VGLI policy to a commercial permanent life insurance policy, you must contact the company directly and submit a VGLI Conversion Notice you get from the Office of Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI). You can convert a VGLI policy to a commercial permanent policy at any time. However, it cannot later be converted back to a VGLI renewable term policy.
Check back often to read about any changes to the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance program.
>> Getting affordable life insurance coverage with no medical exam or labs required is easy. Get a no-obligation, free consultation to determine your eligibility.
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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.