Can life insurance be affordable?
The answer is yes. Planning for the future often takes a back seat to the more immediate financial obligations that individuals and families have. The VA offers several life insurance options to consider in your financial planning.
Life insurance provides important protection against financial loss due to death and is often available for a wide range of income levels. The right policy can provide funds for end-of-life expenses, an inheritance for loved ones or cover some outstanding debts.
Life insurance costs vary depending on a number of factors. In general, the younger and healthier a person is, the lower the monthly premium rate. However, these two factors alone do not paint the whole picture.
So what factors determine the price of life insurance?
VA life insurance options are offered in different types of coverage: term life and whole life. With a whole life policy, the cover lasts for a set period (eg 10, 15 or 20 years) and only offers a death benefit. Because of the shorter coverage period, term life insurance rates are usually lower compared to whole life insurance. However, it also provides higher coverage amounts. The VA offers lifetime coverage through programs such as Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI), which allows transitioning service members to convert their Service Members Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage into term life insurance.
Whole life policies provide coverage throughout the policyholder’s life as long as premiums are paid; and because it creates cash value, premiums are usually higher. VA’s newest whole life offering – Veterans Life Insurance (VALife) – will launch on January 1, 2023. VALife will offer veterans with any level of service-connected disability guaranteed acceptance of whole life insurance up to $40,000. VA’s current offering for service-connected veterans — Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI) — will close with new enrollment after Dec. 31.
How much coverage someone chooses depends on what they want their policy to cover. If the policy is intended solely to cover funeral expenses, the amount of coverage may be less than an insurance policy that is intended to cover all end-of-life expenses. Another policy may be suitable for inheritance, income support for loved ones or the amount needed to pay off any outstanding debts.
Demographics and lifestyle
Those who are younger and healthier tend to have lower premiums. The older a person is or the more health problems they have, the higher the rates can be. For most private sector offers, women tend to pay less than men due to a longer life expectancy. Many VA life insurance programs do not make these demographic distinctions.
In all VA programs, gender is not considered when determining life insurance premiums, meaning men and women receive the same competitive rates. VA’s newest life insurance offering – VALife – will be available on January 1, 2023 and has no health requirements to sign up. For transitioning service members, VGLI also has no health enrollment requirements as long as veterans apply within the first 240 days after separation from the military.
All insurance providers have different standards and guidelines that determine their life insurance rates. This means that an individual could get different rates from different companies for the same type of policy, underscoring the importance of looking at several options before making a final decision on which policy to buy.
Veterans, service members and their families can start their life insurance journey by calculating their needs using the VA Life Insurance Needs Calculator.
To learn more about VA life insurance programs—including the new VALife program, which begins January 1, 2023—visit the VA Life Insurance website.