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Title:How much life insurance do Veterans need?

Author:VA Careers

Date:December 2023

Source:U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

Volume:Volume 3 Issue 206

As a Veteran, your financial resources may already include benefits you earned through your service, such as your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account or, if you retired from the military, your retired pay and perhaps the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). But what about life insurance?

When you separated, your Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) terminated. Did you replace it with Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)? If you didn’t replace your SGLI with VGLI or another life insurance policy, you should do so as soon as possible. But how do you know how much you need? And if you already have some coverage, why should you consider getting more?

Check out you life insurance options available through VA, including the new VALife, a guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance plan.

Ensuring you have adequate life insurance for your situation is crucial if you have family that depends on your financial contributions and that would suffer financially if you were no longer there. Generally, you want to have enough life insurance so that the policy’s death benefit covers your outstanding debts and replaces your income for some amount of time. This ensures that your family members have the finances necessary to carry on with their lives as planned, including things like staying in your family house, paying the bills, sending kids to college and your spouse retiring.

To help decide how much life insurance will cover you, consider these three factors:

  • Your financial situation. Take the time to assess where you are with your investments, savings, level of debt and your household’s annual expenditures. This includes mortgage payments, utility bills and other living expenses. With this information, you’ll be able to determine how much it will cost to maintain your family and lifestyle when you are gone. Additionally, consider your financial goals, such as supporting a charity or establishing an estate.
  • Your family circumstances. Are you single or married? Do you have dependent children or a spouse? If you do have kids, are they planning to attend college? Make sure you’re prepared to cover all of your family’s needs and your life's big picture.
  • Your age. The younger you are, the longer your working life will be. Being younger also means you have more time to incur debt and other obligations. Keep in mind that life insurance is cheaper to obtain the younger you are. It becomes more expensive as you age, since your health may become a bigger issue later on.

Want to get a better idea of just how much life insurance you need? AAFMAA, the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association, has a free Life Insurance Calculator you can use to find out. For this and more helpful information, visit to sign up for free access to premium content from the oldest nonprofit military association — AAFMAA.

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