For anyone considering a stint or career in the military and worried about life insurance, worry no more. Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is a life insurance program designed for U.S. service members who are on active duty or reserve members.
When an individual enters the service, they are automatically enrolled in SGLI and begin paying $28 per month for the maximum amount of coverage. If the service member decides to purchase a lesser amount of coverage or opt-out completely, they are required to electronically file their election of the SOES (online enrollment system).
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Who is Eligible for SGLI?
Servicemembers who meet certain qualifications will automatically be enrolled in the SGLI program with the maximum amount of coverage unless they elect to reduce that amount or opt-out of the program. The following chart shows who is qualified for enrollment in the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance program. Only one statement must be true to be qualified:
- You are an active-duty member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard
- You are a commissioned member of the NOAA or the United States Public Health Service
- You are a cadet or midshipman in the U.S. military academy
- You are a member, cadet, or midshipman of the ROTC participating in authorized training and practice cruises
- You are a member of the National Guard or Ready Reserve, assigned to a unit and scheduled to perform a minimum of 12 periods of inactive training per year
- You are a volunteer in an Individual Ready Reserve mobilization category
If you are in nonpay status with the Ready Reserve or National Guard you may be eligible for SGLI coverage if you are:
- Scheduled for 12 periods of inactive training for the year and
- Drilling for points instead of for payment
What Kind of Coverage does SGLI Offer?
The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance program offers term life insurance coverage in $50,000 increments up to a maximum amount $400,000 in coverage. Servicemembers are automatically enrolled with $400,000 of coverage but may reduce that amount or opt-out by filing the appropriate form.
The coverage is provided until you leave the military and for an additional 120 days thereafter. There is no charge for the 120 days of post-military coverage. Since your policy is term insurance and doesn’t build cash value, you will receive nothing from the policy after upon its termination.
This group life insurance program is similar the the FEGLI plan but is only offered to servicemembers.
The current cost to servicemembers is $0.07 per $1,000 in coverage which is deducted as follows:
Amount of Coverage
Cost per Month
There is no medical underwriting for getting coverage. All eligible servicemembers can be covered up to the maximum amount of $400,000.
Servicemembers can also qualify for a free extension of coverage for up to 2 years after leaving the military if you are disabled when you leave. The qualifications for the disability extension include:
- You’re are totally disabled when you are discharged and unable to work
- You have had one of the following regardless of your work status
- loss of hearing in both of your ears
- complete loss of speech
- permanent loss of both hands, or both feet, or both eyes, or 1 hand and 1 foot, or 1 foot and 1 eye, or 1 hand and 1 eye
To apply for the disability extension, you must complete the SGLI Disability Extension Application and forward it to the OSGLI address on the extension application.
What is the Conversion Option?
A conversion option allows the policyholder to convert their SGLI plan to a Veteran’s Group Life Insurance plan or to a policy offered by various insurance companies in the private market. The benefit of converting coverage rather than purchasing a new policy is that the insured service member is not required to provide proof of insurability (proof of good health) to the company that will accept the conversion.
Converting to Veteran’s Group Life Insurance
If you prefer to convert your SGLI coverage rather than purchase a new policy in the private marketplace, you have the option of converting it to a policy provided by the Veteran’s Group Life Insurance program as long as you do so within one year and 120 days. You will have the option of converting a portion of your coverage or all of your coverage without having to prove insurability (you are healthy).
Converting your SGLI Policy to Private Insurance
As was mentioned earlier, converting your SGLI coverage to an individual life insurance company offers the benefit of not having to go through medical underwriting but there are some health questions on the individual insurance application that you can choose to answer or not answer. The benefit of answering the question if you’re in good health is that you may qualify for a reduced rate for the new policy. The most important thing to remember is that you must start the conversion process within 120 days of leaving the service so that you will not experience a lapse in coverage.
To get the conversion process started, you will need to contact one of the insurance companies listed below to make certain they offer the SGLI or FSGLI conversion in the state you reside in or you can contact your local insurance agent for help with the conversion process.
Here is a list of insurance companies that offer SGLI conversion policies:
|American Fidelity Life|
|Bankers Life and Casualty|
|CICA Life Insurance Company|
|EMC National Life|
|Life Insurance Company of AL|
|Metropolitan Life Insurance|
|New York Life|
|Northwestern Mutual Life|
|SBLI USA Mutual Life|
|Trans World Assurance|
Most of the insurance companies that will allow you to convert your SGLI or FSGLI policy to an individual life insurance policy will request the following documents to process the conversion. You should have these documents ready in advance, especially if you are close to the 120 day cut-off.To obtain your conversion notice, you can call the OSGL at 800-419-1473.
Are there Other Benefits with SGLI?
There are a couple of other benefits provided with the SGLI program that can be very beneficial.
- Traumatic Injury Protection – This protection is not life insurance but rather disability insurance that pays a benefit to servicemembers in the event of a serious injury or loss of limb. The benefit available is up to $100,000 for an additional premium of only $1.00 each month.
- Family Coverage (FSGLI) – Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance is available to servicemembers who are covered full-time under the SGLI program. The FSGLI allows the service member to cover his or her spouse for up to $100,000 for an additional premium and $10,000 for dependent children at no additional charge. The additional premium for spouse coverage is based on the spouse’s age and amount of insurance you select.
Monthly Premium for Spouse Coverage
This chart shows the rates by age group for spousal coverage.
|Amount||Under 35||35 – 39||40 – 44||45 – 49||50 – 54||55 – 59||60 +|
Can I Buy Individual Life Insurance instead of Converting?
Since you will have free SGLI coverage for 120 days after leaving the service, you can take some time to decide which method would work best for you; Convert to VGLI, convert to an individual life policy, or start a new policy with a private life insurance company. In either case, you should consider shopping all three options to find out which will work best for you and your family. In many cases, you will likely discover that purchasing a new insurance policy will save you money, especially if you are in good health after leaving the service.