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Protecting Those Who Serve: A Guide to Term Life for Military Families

If you are one of the 1.3 million Americans in the military, then we’d like to thank you for your service to our country. In this post, we’ll guide you through the process of evaluating term life quotes to finding the best life insurance to supplement your SGLI policy.

Term Life Basics: Learn About Your Military Life Insurance OptionsQ. Can Military members get life insurance?

A: Yes. Military members may receive term life insurance through the military and/or through private term life insurance companies.

Q. Who is eligible for military life insurance?

A: The following military personnel are eligible:

  • Active duty members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard
  • Commissioned members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)
  • Cadet or midshipman of the U.S. military academies
  • Members, cadets, or a midshipman of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) engaged in authorized training and practice cruises
  • Member of the Ready Reserve or National Guard slated to perform at least 12 periods of inactive training per year
  • Servicemember who volunteers for a mobilization category in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR)

Q. What is military term life insurance and how does it work?

A. When you become a member of the military, you are enrolled in the Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance Program (SGLI), a term life policy which offers a $400,000 death benefit upon your passing. In addition, you receive Traumatic Injury Protection, which provides a payout to your loved ones ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, based on the severity of the injuries.

» Learn more: Life Insurance in the Military

Q. Can I make changes to my military term life insurance policy after I’ve been enrolled?

A. It is easy to make changes to your beneficiary or the amount of coverage that you wish to pay for by going to the SGLI Online Enrollment System (SOES) website to customize your plan.

Q. How long does military term life insurance last?

A: Your SGLI policy will remain in effect for 120 days after you separate from the military.

You will then have the option to apply for Veteran’s Group Life Insurance (VGLI), which does not require proof of good health and offers the same amount of coverage as SGLI for about the same rates if you are 29 or younger. Your VGLI premiums will increase with age however, with prices going up every five years. VGLI term life insurance will provide coverage throughout your life as long your life insurance premiums are kept current.

Q. Can I get coverage in addition to SGLI without impacting my existing coverage?

A. Yes. SGLI and VGLI are available to you independently of the amount of coverage that you purchase from another insurance company.

Q. Do I really need term life in addition to military life insurance?

A. Like every family, your coverage needs may change as your family grows or life’s little curve balls cause your household expenses and debt to rise.

Despite the generous amount of coverage offered by SGLI and VGLI, $400,000 may not be enough to protect your family. Extra protection with an additional term life policy can protect your family from financial strain if you were to become unable to work or unexpectedly pass away.

Additionally, if you have children and your spouse is the primary caregiver, it’s smart to buy a term life insurance policy for him or her as well. If your partner were to pass away, your child’s lives would be greatly impacted and the cost of child care would add up quickly.

» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator

Q. How much extra term life coverage might I need?

A: It will depend on your family’s unique situation.

For example, if you pass away before paying off a VA mortgage loan, then your spouse and/or your estate will become responsible for your debt.

In 2018, the average mortgage amount currently stands at about $200,000—a significant chunk of the death benefit your family would receive if you purchase the maximum SGLI coverage amount of $400,000. Annual tuition for a four-year degree from a public college is projected to reach about $40,000 in 10 years.

Even with a $400,000 policy, if you have two children (the national average) then your family may face a financial challenge in covering their most significant expenses, should you pass away.

Extra protection with an additional term life policy can protect your family from financial strain if you were to become unable to work or unexpectedly pass away.

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How to Supplement Military Life Insurance with a Term Life Policy

As a member of the military with a family, you are shouldering responsibilities that most civilians can only imagine. Your peace of mind regarding your family’s future is an important part of the morale that helps you do your job.

In this section, we’ll look at some of the ways to find the best life insurance for your loved ones.

Q. What is the best way to figure out the total amount of term life insurance I may need?

A: A good way to start is to tally up the debt that you’d like to have paid off, the amount that you wish to contribute towards your children’s college tuition and/or their expenses early on in their career, along with how much is required to replace the loss of your income.

You can then deduct the amount that your military policy would cover. The remainder is what you should consider when looking at separate term life policies.

The easiest way to do this is to use our free

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