Guest Post – Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and an Important Note Regarding Individual Disability Insurance Eligibility
Understanding the value of maintaining life insurance to protect loved ones, the military makes group term life insurance available under the Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program to the following service members:
- Active duty
- Ready Reservists or National Guard who are assigned to a unit and scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive training per year
- Commissioned Members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Public Health Service
- Cadets or Midshipman of the U.S. military academies
- Members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps engaged in authorized training and practice cruises
If you are on this list, at the end of this article provides a link on how to enroll. This coverage is not free as you must pay a monthly premium. This article will provide you the information you need to make an informed decision about life insurance.
SGLI is group term life insurance which means it will pay your beneficiary, a person or entity you choose, who will suffer a financial loss in the event of your death. If you can’t think of anyone, for example if you are single with no dependents, you can stop reading because you probably don’t need life insurance. However, if you are married with children, mortgage, etc., this protection is extremely important. Financial planning calculators indicate that an insured individual should maintain 7-10 times their annual income in life insurance until their youngest child is 25 years old.
SGLI provides up to $400,000 of coverage regardless of health and age for $24 per month. A similar private policy from the open market issued on a 30-year-old non-smoker will cost between $22-$32 per month, so the SGLI policy is competitively priced. This is because most active duty military are young, healthy and retire fairly young so the liability for the insurance company, Prudential, is mitigated.
Upon separation from service, SGLI can be converted to Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) within one year and 120 days from separation. If done within 240 days of separation, no health qualification is required. Thereafter you must meet good health standards. Unlike SGLI, VGLI is not competitively priced and rates are determined by age and increase in five-year increments. A $400,000 VGLI policy is $40 per month between ages 30-34, $68 per month at age 40, $144 per month at age 50 and increases every five years to $1840 per month at age 75. Similar individual policies are approximately 60% of the cost of VGLI but you must qualify medically.
Taking into consideration the incomes of most military physicians and dentists, not only is SGLI inadequate in terms of need but it can lead to providing a false sense of security and result in the postponement of establishing an adequate personal term insurance program early in one’s military career before the development of health issues, nicotine use, avocations, or deployment. The only exclusions on individual life insurance policies are suicide during the first two years so war is covered but you cannot initiate coverage if you are stationed outside the country or have received orders to do so. Once again, the sooner you apply for coverage the wiser.
It is prudent to examine your individual life insurance options sooner rather than later. Please contact our office with any questions and don’t forget to ask about the disability insurance discount for new policies.
Important Note Regarding Eligibility for Individual Disability Insurance
Receiving orders for deployment outside the USA will prevent you from being able to apply for a non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable to age 65 policy until you return to the USA. This would mean paying a higher rate for the duration of your career. Since OCONUS PCS orders are given when you are at the end of training, it is prudent to explore establishing coverage prior to that time period. Avoid this potential pitfall and others by working with us and our extensive experience with military physicians and dentists today.
Andy G. Borgia CLU
SGLI Online Enrollment System (SOES) – Life Insurance https://www.benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/SOES.asp
SOES is the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) On-Line Enrollment System. It replaces the paper-based SGLI/Family SGLI (FSGLI) enrollment, maintains elections and beneficiary information, and provides 24/7 self-service access to SGLI information. SGLI provides insurance coverage to eligible members of the active and reserve components.