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Service Members Get More Life Insurance Coverage

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2001 – Eligible troops will automatically be insured for a maximum $250,000 in coverage through the militarys life insurance program starting April 1.

The new coverage marks a $50,000 increase over the previous maximum provided by Servicemembers Group Life Insurance. The premium for maximum coverage will be $20 monthly, said Tom Tower, assistant director of DoDs military compensation office.

Participants can then decrease or maintain their levels of SGLI coverage, Tower said, adding that service members who want less than $250,000 of coverage after April 1 must apply for it through unit finance or personnel officials.

If you dont want the increased insurance, you have a 30- day grace period to decline it, otherwise, youll have to pay at least two months of increased coverage, he said.

The government and commercial insurers underwrite SGLI, which has been in existence since 1965, said Tower. It has been more than eight years since the last increase in maximum coverage, he added.

He said 98 percent of all service members are covered by SGLI and 80 percent have maximum coverage. This shouldnt be surprising, he noted, as military members, like police and firefighters, often perform hazardous duty.

At 80 cents for each $10,000 of coverage, SGLI rates are competitive, and coverage is guaranteed, whether youre an aviator, sailor or tanker, Tower said. Service members can also convert their SGLI policies to the Veterans Group Life Insurance program after they leave the service, he said.

Tower noted congressional interest in extending SGLI coverage, in lesser amounts, to service members family members.

It looks like there is support for passing that this year for spouses and children, Tower said. It certainly would make SGLI one-stop-shopping for family life insurance. Cant say its a certainty, but it looks like a good possibility.

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