Veterans Affairs Life Insurance, also known as VALife, is whole life insurance provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs that offers open enrollment and does not require veterans to show that they are in good health before they can receive coverage. This is different from other VA life insurance options:
- Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) does not initially require veterans to submit proof of good health when they apply for coverage, but if they apply more than 240 days after leaving the military, they are required to do so. Once a veteran has been separated for over one year and 120 days, they are no longer eligible for VGLI.
- Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) requires veterans to be in good health outside of their service-connected disability to be eligible for coverage. Veterans must have received a new disability rating within the two years before they applied for S-DVI. S-DVI also offers several different coverage types and durations that each have varying stipulations as the insured ages.
VALife will open for enrollment on January 1, 2023, one day after S-DVI closes to new enrollment (on December 31, 2022).
What does VALife offer?
VALife provides up to $40,000 in guaranteed whole life insurance coverage to all disabled veterans who enroll; no proof of good health is required. This coverage becomes effective two years after enrollment and lasts for the duration of the veteran’s life.
These insurance policies will also build cash value after the initial two-year enrollment period.
If a veteran passes away within two years of enrolling in VALife, the guaranteed payout to their beneficiary consists of the amount they have paid into VALife in premiums plus interest. If a veteran passes away more than two years after enrolling in VALife, their beneficiary will receive the full coverage amount.
Coverage is available in increments of $10,000.
Who can enroll in VALife?
VALife enrollment is open to all veterans under the age of 80 years old with a disability rating of 0% to 100%. Veterans can submit their enrollment at any time.
If a veteran is over 80 years old, they can enroll in VALife provided that:
- The veteran had a pending VA Disability Compensation claim from before age 81, and
- Received their disability rating after age 81, and
- Submits their VALife application within two years of receiving their disability rating.
If a veteran was previously enrolled in S-DVI and wants to switch their coverage to VALife, they are eligible to do so and can maintain their S-DVI coverage for the two years it takes VALife coverage to become effective.
What does VALife cost?
VALife premiums vary depending on the age of the veteran at the time of enrollment and the chosen coverage amount. The younger a veteran is at the time of enrollment, the less expensive their premiums will be.
As an example, a veteran who enrolls in VALife at 45 years old can expect to pay $108.00 monthly for $40,000 of coverage, while a veteran who enrolls at 65 years old would pay $248.00 monthly for the same coverage.
Premiums are paid for the duration of the veteran’s life.
What is happening to S-DVI?
VALife is intended to replace Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance, and as such, S-DVI will no longer accept applications after December 31, 2022.
Veterans who are currently insured under S-DVI are able to maintain their coverage.
Veterans who are currently insured under S-DVI and want to switch their enrollment to VALife can do so between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2025. S-DVI coverage will last for the two years it takes VALife coverage to become effective. Veterans may not be insured under both plans except during this transition period.
What if I need life insurance now?
The VA is not currently accepting applications for VALife and will not do so until January 1, 2023.
However, if you were rated for a service-connected disability within the past two years, you may still be eligible for coverage through S-DVI, which you can maintain until VALife enrollment opens. S-DVI will not accept new applications after December 31, 2022.
VGLI may also be an option, provided you are within one year and 120 days of separation or retirement and in good health. It offers higher coverage amounts (up to $400,000) and can be maintained for life, though premiums increase every five years.
VA life insurance plans are only one option. Veterans are encouraged to research commercial carriers to determine whether there are better options for their personal situation. “Good health” is not as high a bar as many veterans expect, and veterans may do well enough on a physical to get covered for less than the cost of VALife or VGLI.
Navy Mutual is an accredited Veterans Service Organization, and our representatives can help you understand the details of the life insurance options available to veterans through the VA. If you have any questions, you can contact us at (888) 298-4442.