Military veterans have much to consider when they finish their tour of duty, and finding the right life insurance is just one more consideration.
We’ll review the top government and private life insurance companies for disabled veterans, including plans offered by:
- Veterans Affairs
- New York Life
We’ve explored the pros and cons of each, as well as key information you’ll need to know about coverage limits and how to start your policy. We also recommend that you speak with an insurance agent and a benefits liaison with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that you receive the proper support and life insurance coverage.
Best Life Insurance Options for Disabled Veterans
Veterans Affairs Life Insurance
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several different types of life insurance coverage for active duty and discharged members of the armed forces. For the purposes of this review, we’ll only look at policies offered for veterans and disabled veterans.
Veterans Group Life Insurance
Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is offered to veterans who had full-time coverage under the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy; they are able to convert to VGLI after separation from service.
You can receive anywhere from $10,000 to $400,000 in term life insurance coverage under this policy. Premium rates will depend on your age, as well as the amount of coverage you choose. You can also increase the amount of coverage by up to $25,000 every five years until the age of 60.
One major benefit for VGLI is its flexibility if you decide to convert it to a civilian policy. The VA gives you the option to convert without having to provide proof of good health. The VA maintains a list of participating private life insurance companies that will offer comparable policies.
Veterans Affairs Life Insurance
Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife) replaces the Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI) as of January 1, 2023. Veterans become eligible as long as they have a disability rating from the VA.
Full coverage starts two years after you apply, and this coverage is guaranteed for all who apply, regardless of your current health status. You can be covered for up to $40,000.
If you apply within 240 days, you will not need to provide proof of good health to receive coverage. However, you will need to submit proof of good health after 240 days (and before the final deadline given above).
How to Qualify
In order to qualify for VGLI, veterans must apply within one year and 120 days of leaving the service. You also must have previously held an SGLI policy, unless you are leaving the Ready Reserves of National Guard, the Individual Ready Reserves, or are put on the Temporary Disability Retirement List.
VALife qualifications require a service-connected disability rating.
- Some may be eligible for free coverage under VALife
- VALife is an automatic and guaranteed benefit if you qualify
- Health status does not affect VGLI premiums
- VGLI can be converted to a private individual policy from group life status
- VALife has low maximum coverage
- VALife Premiums increase over time
- VGLI coverage is dependent upon having SGLI coverage
Prudential Veterans Group Life Insurance
Prudential has consistently been named one of the best private life insurance companies for veterans. They have been in business for nearly 150 years, and have a stellar reputation with veterans. It has been a provider for VGLI benefits since the program was established in 1974.
Prudential has numerous benefits, including manageable premium rates and a range of policies. Coverage is guaranteed for life regardless of health or employment status (as long as premiums continue to be paid).
What’s more, there are no exclusions for conditions like mental health issues, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, or HIV-positive status.
How to Qualify
You can request a conversion of your existing VGLI policy to a Prudential policy, and most policyholders will not be required to submit a medical exam. All other eligibility requirements are comparable to VA policies.
- Strong reputation with veteran policyholders
- Coverage is guaranteed for life with continued payments
- No exclusions for advanced conditions like PTSD or TBI
- Customer service can take time
- Term coverage can be more expensive than universal life coverage
New York Life
The New York Life Insurance Company is the largest mutual life insurer in the country, and the third-largest life insurer. It has strong capacity and a long-standing reputation for excellent service.
Financial stability with New York Life is strong, and this life insurance company receives very few customer complaints. Their policies are highly customizable and can include features like living benefits riders that will pay benefits in advance to your spouse or designee if you have a terminal condition.
Policyholders can also receive annual dividends on certain policies, and coverage can begin at a very young age. Whole, term, and universal life insurance policies are just some of the options they offer, as well as retirement planning services in addition to insurance coverage.
Some minuses of going with New York Life is that some of the customer service tools are not comparable to modern alternatives. It does not have website features like a rate calculator, policy information can be difficult to locate online, and the mobile app does not function very well. Also, not all policies are available in all 50 states.
How to Qualify
You can request a conversion of your existing VGLI policy to a New York Life policy. All other eligibility requirements are comparable to VA policies.
- Wide variety of riders
- Strong customer service
- High financial reliability
- Dividends for some policyholders
- Conversion to other types of policies
- Difficult to find policy information online
- No rate calculators on the website
- Cannot manage policy information effectively on the mobile app
The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is a strong contender for veterans insurance with a reputation for providing excellent coverage for spouses and dependent children as well. One thing you will need to keep in mind is that USAA policies do require a medical exam, but the policy limits are significantly higher than VA plans.
You can also convert your policy from term coverage to a permanent policy at any time, and they provide guaranteed insurability and increased coverage for certain policy types after major life events (like the birth of a child). Additionally, there are cash benefits for injuries incurred during active duty.
One major drawback is that SGLI or VGLI policies cannot be converted to a USAA policy, and there are only a few policy types available to veterans.
How to Qualify
- Much higher limits
- High levels of customer trust
- Guaranteed insurability at no additional cost
- Conversion of and increases in coverage available for most policies
- Cannot convert from an SGLI or VGLI policy
- Limited policy types available
The American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA) is a less expensive alternative to VGLI, and does not require a medical exam to qualify. This makes it an attractive choice for veterans looking for affordable coverage and an accessible policy. However, coverage is not available in all states.
The website provides instant quotes, and there are a variety of plans available that provide competitive levels of coverage (including policies built specifically for senior veterans).
Additionally, AAFMAA offers wealth management a mortgage loans along with their life insurance coverage, making it a potential one-stop shop for veterans looking to consolidate their financial planning portfolio.
How to Qualify
Potential members can qualify by being active duty, veterans, or retirees, as well as their immediate family members. Some other medical requirements may apply.
- Lower monthly premiums and other associated costs
- Additional financial management tools
- Ability to set up a quote online
- No medical exam required for some insurance policies
- Coverage not available to veterans in all states
The Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA) is another excellent choice for veterans with families. It is intended to replace SGLI when veterans are discharged, although SGLI and VGLI cannot be fully converted to a USBA policy.
Term life insurance plans have affordable family rates across multiple term lengths, and whole life insurance plans offer a guaranteed premium that is not subject to change based on age, health, or employment status. At least one of their term life plans offers equal coverage for married couples on a joint premium, and pays a death benefit upon the death of the first spouse.
On the downside, there are some age restrictions on policies, so older applicants might not be able to find the right coverage.
How to Qualify
Applicants must be active duty or retired military, in the Reserves, honorably discharged veterans, or federal civilian employees. There are also some additional age limitations by plan as well.
- Strong family plan options
- Guaranteed premiums on whole life insurance plans
- Strict age limits
- Not all plans available in all states
The Military Benefit Association (MBA) offers policies that are underwritten by MetLife, which provides an additional layer of support and reliability. One of the major benefits to their family plan is that children are added automatically, with the option to get their own policies at the age of 25.
This plan is a great alternative to the SGLI offered by the VA, and could be a more attractive option than the others due to its higher age limitations: people as old as 90 can obtain coverage. You can also get instant quotes online.
One downside to the Military Benefit Association is that it does not offer whole life coverage, which could turn some shoppers away.
How to Qualify
In addition to active duty, National Guard, and Reserves members, you can also become an MBA member if you are retired or have been honorably discharged. United States Public Health Services, NOAA, and full-time federal government employees are also eligible to join.
- Policies underwritten by MetLife
- Automatic coverage for minors within your family
- Upper age limit is 90, which provides great options for older veterans
- No whole life coverage options
MassMutual is another strong performer when it comes to customer service and reliability. That being said, getting in the door can be a hurdle since the website does not offer some of the same quote generator tools as other life insurance companies. Furthermore, you cannot make a claim on your policy online or make payments online.
Despite this, the coverage itself is high-caliber. Agents are able to fill the gaps where online services are lacking, and term life insurance policies can easily convert to whole life policies. Whole life policies are also guaranteed for those who are 50-75 years old.
If you’re a disabled veteran, MassMutual has plans that specialize in that kind of coverage. They also offer advanced services like long-term care insurance, plus other financial planning tasks like asset management and retirement plans.
How to Qualify
You can convert your VGLI or SGLI policy to a MassMutual policy if desired. Or, you can follow each plan’s individual eligibility requirements, which are comparable to other options provided here.
A medical assessment is also required for most policies.
- Convert from term life insurance to whole life insurance
- Whole life plans guaranteed for ages 50-75
- Specialized plans for disabled veterans
- High financial strength and customer satisfaction
- No ability to make payments or claims online
- Medical assessment required before qualifying for most policies
Northwestern Mutual is another solid performer for insurance for disabled veterans. It’s the largest life insurer in the country, and that high performance has led to reliable financial strength ratings as well as strong customer satisfaction.
Northwestern Mutual is one of the options listed by the VA for veterans who want to convert their VALife or VGLI policy to private life insurance companies without any medical exam. Life insurance policies offered by Northwestern Mutual include term life, whole life, universal life, and variable universal life, which provides great flexibility for those who may need specialized coverage.
Northwestern Mutual also has many user-friendly tools for online users, like an insurance calculator, automatic premium payments, and online customer service options. On the other hand, their website does not have much quality information about their policies, which means you will need to contact an agent or representative directly to get details on available policies.
How to Qualify
If you have an existing SGLI, VGLI, or VALife policy, you can convert to a Northwestern Mutual policy without any medical exam or health background screening requirements
- Largest life insurer in the country with a reputation that backs itself up
- Wide variety of life insurance coverage options for veterans
- Ability to convert from VA-sponsored plan
- Excellent online policy payment and management tools
- Lack of meaningful content on the website
What’s the Difference Between Term Life Insurance and Whole Life Insurance?
Your coverage and terms will vary by the type of life insurance plan you select, as well as the amount you are covered for.
However, since we’ve talked a lot about term life insurance policies and whole life insurance policies here, we’ve offered a quick review of each type below for quick reference.
Term life insurance covers the insured party for a defined period of time. Monthly premiums will vary based on the amount of coverage, but will otherwise remain the same regardless of how much time is left on your policy. There are also no additional options beyond the coverage terms themselves.
This is a great option for veterans who want a clearly defined benefit system, and who want simple payout options in the case of an emergency or death.
Whole life insurance covers the insured party for their entire life. As a result, premiums will vary based on the age of the insured party and the length of the policy. Additionally, most policies will throw in additional investment tools to the overall portfolio.
One of the major benefits of a whole life policy is the death benefit, which will pay out the policy amount in the event of your death. Not all term life policies offer this benefit; that being said, it can be difficult to obtain this payment based on your selected investment options.