If you are a veteran with a service-connected disability, you may be eligible for free or low-cost life insurance from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Life insurance can provide financial security and peace of mind for you and your family in case of your death. In this article, we will explain the different types of life insurance available for disabled veterans, how to apply, and what to consider before choosing a policy.
Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI)
Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI) is a program that provides low-cost coverage to eligible service members who have a VA disability rating of 0% or higher.
This program stopped taking new applications after December 31, 2022, but if you already have S-DVI, you can keep it.
The basic S-DVI policy provides up to $10,000 of coverage, and you may be able to get an additional $30,000 of supplemental coverage if you meet certain criteria.
The premium rates depend on your:
- Amount of insurance
- Coverage plan you choose
You can review the premium rates for S-DVI plans.
If you are totally disabled, you may qualify for a premium waiver, which means you don’t have to pay the premiums for your basic S-DVI policy. However, you still have to pay for the supplemental coverage, if you have it.
Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife)
Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife) is a new program that started on January 1, 2023. It provides guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance to all veterans aged 80 and under who have a VA disability rating of 0% to 100%.
You can apply for VALife at any time, with no medical exams or health questions required.
The VALife policy provides up to $100,000 of coverage, and the premium rates are based on your age and the amount of insurance.
You can review the premium rates for VALife plans.
Your full VALife coverage starts 2 years after you apply, but you can get partial coverage during the waiting period.
If you die within the first year, your beneficiaries will receive 25% of the coverage amount.
Dying within the second year, they will receive 50% of the coverage amount.
If you die after the second year, they will receive 100% of the coverage amount.
If you already have S-DVI, you have two options: you can apply for VALife now and keep your S-DVI during the waiting period, or you can keep your S-DVI and not apply for VALife.
DID YOU KNOW?
However, if you apply for VALife after January 1, 2026, your S-DVI will end when your VALife application is approved.
Note that VALife does not offer premium waivers, so if you have a waiver for S-DVI, it will not transfer to VALife.
Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)
Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) is a program that offers mortgage protection insurance to the families of veterans with severe service-connected disabilities who have adapted a home to fit their needs.
If you die, VMLI will pay off the balance of your mortgage loan, up to $200,000.
To be eligible for VMLI, you must have a VA disability rating of 100%, or be rated as permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected condition.
You must also have received a VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant to buy, build, or modify a home. You must have a mortgage on the home, and the home must be your primary residence.
The premium rates for VMLI are based on your age, the amount of insurance, and the current interest rate on your mortgage loan. You can review the premium rates for VMLI plans.
How to Choose a Life Insurance Policy
Before you decide which life insurance policy to get, you should consider your personal and financial situation, your goals, and your preferences. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How much coverage do I need? You should estimate how much money your family would need to pay for your funeral expenses, debts, living expenses, education, and other financial obligations in case of your death. You can use a life insurance calculator to help you figure out the amount of coverage you need.
- How long do I need coverage? You should think about how long you want your life insurance policy to last. Some policies, like S-DVI and VALife, are permanent, which means they provide coverage for your whole life, as long as you pay the premiums. Other policies, like VMLI, are term, which means they provide coverage for a specific period of time, usually until your mortgage is paid off.
- How much can I afford to pay? You should compare the premium rates of different policies and see how they fit into your budget. You should also consider the possibility of premium increases, especially for VALife, which has annual adjustments based on your age. You should also check if you qualify for any discounts or waivers, such as the premium waiver for S-DVI.
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of each policy? You should weigh the pros and cons of each policy and see how they match your needs and preferences. For example, S-DVI and VALife have the advantage of guaranteed acceptance, but they have the disadvantage of limited coverage and no cash value. VMLI has the advantage of paying off your mortgage, but it has the disadvantage of being tied to your home and not covering other expenses.
PEOPLE ALSO ASK
What are the benefits of having a life insurance policy?
The benefits of having a life insurance policy are that it can provide financial security for your loved ones, reduce the strain of losing a loved one, compensate for the loss of earnings, pay off outstanding debts, and offer peace of mind.
Are life insurance policies worth it?
Whether life insurance is worth it depends on your personal and financial situation, your goals, and your preferences.
Some common reasons to buy life insurance are to cover funeral expenses, replace income, and leave an inheritance.
However, some people may not need life insurance if they have no dependents, enough savings, or other sources of income.
What are the 3 main types of life insurance?
The three main types of life insurance are:
- Term life
- Whole life
- Universal life
Term life insurance provides coverage for a specific period of time, usually 10 to 30 years, and pays a fixed death benefit if you die during that term.
Whole life insurance provides coverage for your entire life, builds cash value, and pays a fixed death benefit.
Universal life insurance also provides coverage for your entire life, builds cash value, but allows you to adjust the premiums and death benefit according to your needs.
How much does life insurance pay out?
Generally, typical life insurance policies range from $250,000 to $1,000,000.
However, smaller term life policies may offer around $50,000, while larger whole life policies can exceed several million dollars. The average U.S. life insurance policy pays $189,000 to beneficiaries within 30 to 60 days of filing a claim.
Life insurance is an important financial tool that can protect your family in case of your death.
If you are a disabled veteran, you may be eligible for free or low-cost life insurance from the VA.
You should compare the different types of life insurance available, such as S-DVI, VALife, and VMLI, and choose the one that best suits your situation.
You should also review your life insurance policy regularly and update it as your circumstances change.
If you have any questions or need assistance, you can contact the VA Life Insurance Center at 800-669-8477 or visit the VA website.