Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

SGLI provides is an insurance policy that provides up to $400,000 of coverage to the beneficiaries of all active or recently active service members.  The SGLI is provided by the government for all service members on active duty, it is paid for through a monthly deduction from their pay.  There are no underwriting requirements for this insurance at the time of entry into military service. It is automatically given to service members at the maximum amount, and all service members are covered for the same cost regardless of health.  Service members must make a request to change or refuse the insurance policy coverage. The coverage ends 120 days after the servicemember leaves the military.

SGLI Quick Facts

  • Group term insurance.
  • $400,000 maximum death benefit allowed.
  • Benefits paid in lump sum or 36 monthly installments.
  • Costs 7 cents per month per $1,000 ($28) by payroll deduction for active duty member coverage.
  • No refunds are provided if death benefit is not used.
  • Maximum coverage automatically provided unless reduced or refused by the active duty member.
  • Reduced or refused insurance coverage can be restored by written request with proof of good health and compliance with other requirements.
  • SGLI terminates for service members, their spouses and children at 120 days after leaving active duty.
  • Accelerated Death Benefit Option provides up to 50% of the death benefit for a terminally ill service member with a life expectancy of 9 months or less.
  • Beneficiary Financial Counseling Service available to survivors.

Traumatic Injury Protection

  • Compensation amounts are up to $100,000.
  • This is not life insurance; rather, it is disability compensation for serious injury and loss of limbs.
  • Automatically provided for all service members carrying any amount of SGLI for $1.00 per month.
  • This is valuable protection, and military members who totally cancel their SGLI also forfeit this benefit.

Family SGLI (FSGLI) Coverage

  • Provides spouse coverage with a death benefit of to $100,000.
  • Family coverage is automatic unless service member specifically requests that it be canceled.
  • Premiums for this insurance are determined by the spouse’s age and increase in 5-year increments.
  • Children are covered at no cost with $10,000 of life insurance per child until the child’s 18th birthday.
  • Spouse SGLI may be converted to an individual permanent commercial policy, but not VGLI. There is no conversion for child coverage.

What Happens To SGLI Benefits When Leaving The Service?

Service members about to leave active duty have the option of replacing SGLI with Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI). Points to consider in making this decision include:

  • VGLI does not require proof of medical insurability, as long as the member opts into VGLI within the first 240 days after separation or retirement.
  • VGLI coverage is limited to the maximum of SGLI coverage held at release from active duty. In many cases, this is not enough insurance to replace the significant survivors’ benefit package, which will terminate upon leaving the service.
  • In many cases the amount of VGLI available is not enough to replace the survivors’ benefits package, which will terminate upon leaving the service. Determine your individual needs.