VA offers life insurance programs that provide financial security and peace of mind for service members, Veterans, and their families. These insurance programs have specific eligibility criteria, insurance terms, and application processes. But how do you know if you’re eligible, and how do you apply?

The image at left provides a simple explanation for each of VA’s insurance programs. There’s an interactive version of it here. Using these interactive graphics, it’s now easier than ever to find out if you’re eligible for a VA insurance program.

So, which program is right for you?

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance

SGLI provides low-cost term life insurance coverage to eligible service members. Coverage is automatic for most active duty service members, Ready Reserve and National Guard members 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 and midshipmen of the U.S. military academies, and Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) members.

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Disability Extension

SGLI-DE is for service members who are totally disabled at separation. These service members may be eligible to extend their SGLI coverage for up to two years from separation from service–for free.

Veterans’ Group Life Insurance

VGLI allows Veterans to convert SGLI coverage after separation from service. If you apply within 240 days after discharge, then you don’t need to submit evidence of good health. You can retain VGLI coverage for as long as you pay the premiums. Also, you may enroll for a maximum amount of coverage that is equal to the amount of SGLI coverage you had when you separated from service.  Under certain conditions, the option to convert to a commercial insurance policy is extended to Veterans insured under the VGLI program.

Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance

FSGLI provides term life insurance coverage to the spouses and dependent children of service members insured under SGLI. If you are covered under full-time SGLI, then you are eligible to insure your spouse, regardless of whether your spouse is on active duty, retired, or is a civilian. The service member pays the premium for spousal coverage. Dependent children are insured at no cost. Under certain conditions, spouses who are insured under the Family SGLI program have the option to convert Spousal Coverage to an individual policy of insurance within 120 days from certain events.

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection

TSGLI provides short-term financial assistance to severely injured service members intended to assist them during their recovery from traumatic injuries. Coverage is automatic for service members covered under full-time SGLI. TSGLI is not only for combat injuries, but provides coverage for injuries incurred on or off duty.

Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance

S-DVI is life insurance for Veterans who have service-connected disabilities but who are otherwise in good health. S-DVI is available in a variety of permanent plans as well as term insurance.

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance

VMLI is mortgage protection insurance that can help families of severely disabled service members or Veterans by paying off the home mortgage in the event of the service member or Veteran’s death. VMLI is only available to service members and Veterans with severe service-connected disabilities who receive a Specially Adapted Housing grant.

Financial counseling

Financial Counseling is available to beneficiaries of SGLI, VGLI, FSGLI, or TSGLI coverage. Once the claim is paid, you or your beneficiary can get advice from a financial expert at FinancialPoint® to create a plan to address your specific financial needs.

As you can see, VA offers a number of life insurance programs, and each accommodates a different group of Veterans and service members, as well as their families.

Want to learn more about VA life insurance?  Don’t take our word for it, listen to Josh and his experience with VA life insurance.  


This post was originally published in 2015 by Melodee Mercer. It was updated in 2019 by Larry Eby. 

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19 Comments

  1. James Hand March 6, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I am a retired Vietnam Vet with a 40% VA rating (service connected). Can I apply for any insurance programs free? I have been 40% rated since I retired in 1997.

    • Melodee Mercer March 9, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Unfortunately, based on the information you supplied, you would not be eligible to apply for Service Disabled Life Insurance because you have only a two-year period from the time of your rating to apply. If you receive a rating for a new medical condition, then you will have a new two-year period starting from the date of the new rating.

  2. Willie Frank Garth March 6, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Retired USAF TSGT with 40% rating wanting to know if I can apply for life insurance?

    • Melodee Mercer March 10, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Mr. Garth… If you can email some information, I’ll be happy to answer your question. I cannot tell from the information you supplied if you would qualify for VA Life Insurance. Please use this email address: vbasocialmedia.vbaco@va.gov. Please do not post your personal information here. In order to answer your question, I would need the date of your 40% rating, whether it was for a new medical condition, and when you separated from the service. If you would like me to look up your records, please include your social security number or VA claim number.

  3. Dennis Dale Gramm March 5, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    hello to all…i am an american/vet who lives in philippines, but cannot get life insurance through va here..any ideas appreciated, thanks, Dennis Gramm

    • Melodee Mercer March 6, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      The only insurance that we cannot approve for Veterans living outside the United States is Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI), based on the way the law is written. We can approve both Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) and Service Disabled Life Insurance (S-DVI) if you meet the other requirements. Please review the graphic of the house above and click on any of the programs accept VMLI to see if you qualify. For more detailed information, and information on how to apply, you can go to our website http://www.benefits.va.gov/insurance/index.asp or feel free to come back and ask a question about a specific program here.

  4. Michael H Bolo March 5, 2015 at 11:58 am

    100% unemployable. Partly increased from past disabilitys, but increased due to serverty and given uvemployability status. Not sure i am allowed government life insurance?

  5. Melodee mercer March 4, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Here’s the link from the above article, which will take you to the eligibility timelines for all of our insurance programs. http://www.benefits.va.gov/insurance/overviewInsurance.html

    If you want general VA Insurance information, you can find it here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/insurance/index.asp

    If you have specific questions about how the VA Insurance programs work, feel free to click “reply” and ask your question here. However, if you have specific questions that involve your personal situation, please call our toll-free number 1-800-669-8477, to ask your question. I would not want you to give out personal information here.

    • james slade March 5, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Send me some imfo on ins.

  6. william paul nelson jr March 4, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    how can I get information on life insurance

  7. Melodee mercer March 4, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you for your interest in applying for VA Life Insurance. To be eligible you must have received your new rating in the last two years. Even a 0% rating will qualify. You can apply online by going to this link: https://www.insurance.va.gov/portal/routing.aspx or you can download an application by going to http://www.benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/forms/29-4364.htm

  8. Jeff Mangum March 4, 2015 at 10:38 am

    yes please send info

  9. Jeffrey Edsel Mangum March 4, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Im rated 20 disabled 63 years old i am interested in knowing the details on how to apply

  10. ron gerson March 4, 2015 at 7:53 am

    I am a korean war vet who cashed in a $10,000 policy several years ago. Am I eligible for an individual life insurance
    plan at this point?

  11. thomas wheeler March 4, 2015 at 4:34 am

    yes ,I would like to apply for life insurance, im a viet-nam vet , thank you

Comments are closed.

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