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Best life insurance for veterans

Find the right private life insurance policy after your service is over


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As a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marines, you’re automatically covered under the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program. But when you leave the armed services, that coverage expires. These are the best providers who have designed policies for veterans and their families who need life insurance.

When analyzing the best life insurance companies for veterans and military personnel, we weigh the insurer’s reputation in the industry, product selection, policy customization and underwriting standards. To determine industry reputation, our editorial team reviews the company’s financial strength, ratings and accreditations and customer reviews. We base product selection, policy customization and underwriting standards on an in-depth analysis of the insurer’s services and guidelines available on the provider’s website.

5 best life insurance companies for veterans

Best overall: Navy Mutual

Navy Mutual logo
Finder Rating: 3 / 5


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$10,000 – $1,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 85 years
Issue age
Navy Mutual offers life insurance to all active duty, reserve and retired military members, as well as honorably discharged veterans in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. The carrier is known for its portable protection, which means your policy will stay in place even if you transition out of the military.
  • Has a no-medical exam option for those who are preparing to deploy or don't want to undergo a physical.
  • Offers whole life coverage up to $1 million.
  • No restrictions for military service, including hazardous duty, travel and aviation.
  • No war or terrorism clauses.
Coverage range $10,000 – $1,000,000
Term lengths 5 to 30 years
Issue age 18 – 85 years
Medical exam required No

Best group life insurance: Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA)

Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA) logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5


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$25,000 – $500,000
Coverage range
18 – 69 years
Issue age
Founded in 1959, this nonprofit was formed to meet the needs of military members who required insurance that covered combat-related deaths. Backed by the financial strength of its underwriter, New York Life Insurance Company, USBA offers group term and whole life policies.
  • No war clause.
  • Policies are underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, which has the highest possible financial ratings from agencies like AM Best.
  • Sells 10-, 15- and 20-year term life policies, as well as children's term life and a first-to-die plan.
  • Offers whole life coverage catering to both adults and children.
Coverage range $25,000 – $500,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20 years
Issue age 18 – 69 years

Best for returning servicemen: USAA

USAA logo
Finder Rating: 3 / 5


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$100,000 – $10,000,000
Coverage range
18 – 85 years
Issue age
The USAA aims to make the transition from military to civilian life as seamless as possible. If you buy coverage while you're still in active service, the carrier doesn't require a medical exam when you leave. And if you purchase protection within 240 days of separation, you'll be able to convert your SGLI coverage to a private USAA policy so it covers not only yourself, but your spouse and children.
  • Sells whole, universal and term life policies lasting 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years.
  • Offers a severe injury benefit, which pays $25,000 to active servicemembers who are severely injured in the line of duty.
  • If you're between 18 and 35, you can add $100,000 worth of coverage to your opolicy when you marry, buy a house, or have a baby.
  • No war or terrorism clauses.
  • Guaranteed SGLI replacement.
  • Members get access to perks, like help with banking, retirement planning and real estate.
Coverage range $100,000 – $10,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years
Issue age 18 – 85 years

Best long-term care options: American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA)

American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA) logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5


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$10,000 – $1,000,000
Coverage range
17 – 100 years
Issue age
To apply for life insurance with AAFMAA, you need to be an active-duty military member, an Academy cadet or enrolled in the ROTC — or be within 120 days of separation. The association also opens coverage to military spouses and honorably discharged veterans in some states. All policies are portable, so your coverage will stay in effect if you leave the military.
  • No war, terrorism or aviation clauses or exclusions.
  • Provides term and whole life insurance, which includes a long-term care settlement option at no additional cost.
  • Purchase between $10,000 and $1 million in coverage to suit your budget.
  • Offers a free introductory membership, including a $5,000 term life insurance policy, to cadets at military academies.
  • Members can tap into the Survivor Assistance Services for help with filing claim forms and receiving benefit payments.
Coverage range $10,000 – $1,000,000
Term lengths 5 years
Issue age 17 – 100 years

Best for small amounts of coverage: Department of Veteran Affairs

Department of Veteran Affairs logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5


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$50,000 – $400,000
Coverage range
18 – 79 years
Issue age
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers group life insurance through Prudential. Since it's designed to replace SGLI, you'll need to enroll in the program within one year and 120 days of separation. Better yet, if you enrol within 240 days, you won't need to undergo a medical examination. Premiums are based exclusively on age, so it's ideal for young, healthy applicants.
  • Option to increase your coverage by $25,000 after one year, and once every five years thereafter up to a maximum of $400,000.
  • Set premiums.
  • Simple term life policy.
  • Easy online application.
  • Eligible veterans can't be denied coverage — even if they're overweight or use tobacco products.
  • Can be converted to certain commercial policies in the future.
Coverage range $50,000 – $400,000
Term lengths 5 years
Issue age 18 – 79 years
Medical exam required No

How to pick the best life insurance for you

When you’re researching companies and policy, ask these questions:

  • How much coverage can I buy?
  • Can I add riders to my policy?
  • Does the policy come with exclusions or age restrictions?
  • How flexible is my policy? (i.e. Can I buy more coverage or convert to a permanent policy later on?)
  • Can I purchase protection without a medical exam?
  • Can I combine my policy with other types of insurance?
  • What are the term lengths?
  • What kind of service should I expect?

Best life insurance options after leaving the service

These are the paths you can take to get coverage when you’re no longer in the military:

1. Convert SGLI to VGLI

You can keep the life insurance policy you had as an active-duty military member by converting to Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI). The timing is important. If you want to hold onto your benefits without going through the underwriting process, you’ll need to apply for VGLI within 240 days of leaving the service. After that, you will need to take a medical exam — and might be given higher rates or denied coverage as a result.

This option completely expires 485 days after you leave the military.

Since VGLI forgos the medical exam for the first 240 days, it’s best suited to veterans who have medical conditions that might otherwise disqualify them for coverage. This includes PTSD, disabilities, and neurological conditions. VGLI is also a solid choice for veterans in their 60s or above, who might pay a much higher premium with private life insurance.

2. Purchase private life insurance

If you opt to purchase a policy on your own, you have more control over your coverage. You can choose a term or permanent policy, and decide how much coverage you want to buy based on your family’s needs.

But to avoid any gaps in coverage, apply for a policy as soon as possible. Depending on your provider, it can take between three and weeks to go through the underwriting process — or even longer if you have a complex medical history.

For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), your insurer might want proof that you’re working on improving the condition. This could include providing prescriptions for medication, or listing any therapy or treatments you’re undergoing.

Can I keep SGLI if I’m disabled?

If you’re totally disabled at the time of discharge, you can apply to keep your SGLI coverage for two years after your service separation date. The scheme is called Servicemembers’ Group Disability Extension (SGLI-DE), and it’s available from the VA.

If the VA has given you a service-connected disability rating, you might be eligible to receive Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI). This provides $10,000 in coverage. And if you qualify for a waiver of premium, you can apply for the Supplemental S-DVI program, which offers an additional $30,000 in coverage.

Best life insurance company financial strength ratings

Life insurance providers are nothing without their financial strength, especially because your beneficiaries may not file a claim for years to come. This is how the five providers on our list fared with the major ratings agencies in the US, plus J.D. Power, which studies a sample of life insurance providers each year.

AgencyNew York Life Insurance Company (underwriter for USBA policies)USAANavy MutualAmerican Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA)*Prudential Life Insurance Co (underwriter for VGLI policies)
A.M. BestA++A++N/AN/AA+
Standard & Poor’sAA+AA+N/AN/AAA-
J.D. PowerN/AN/AN/AN/A3 out of 5 circles or “above average”

*AAFMAA isn’t rated by third-party agencies like AM Best because of its unique status as a tax-exempt 501(c)(23) company. But the insurer is on strong financial footing, with $25.2 billion of insurance in force and $1.3 billion in assets under management.

Best life insurance company customer reviews

To understand how providers treat their policyholders, we went straight to the Better Business Bureau. Keep in mind that the ratings and reviews cover each company as a whole — and not just their life insurance departments.

ProviderBBB ratingCustomer reviews
Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA)A+1 out 5 stars
USAAB-1.5 out of 5 stars
Navy MutualA+N/A
American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA)A+N/A
Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)N/A, though its underwriter, Prudential, has a D- rating while it responds to complaintsN/A, but Prudential has earned 1 out of 5 stars

Bottom line

When your SGLI runs out, you have two options: convert your coverage to a low-cost VGLI policy, or go with a private provider. The carriers on this list cater to military members and veterans by deleting common exclusions from their policies and offering perks such as survivor benefits. But if you’re in good health and willing to take a medical exam, it may be worth comparing regular life insurance providers, too.

Compare top life insurance companies

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Medical Exam Required
18 - 100 years old
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18 - 85 years old
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21 - 54 years old
Affordable 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies with instant quotes and no medical exams.
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20 - 75 years old
Build a customized laddering strategy to target specific financial responsibilities and save on term life.
25 - 60 years old
Depends on policy
Get affordable term life insurance with accelerated underwriting or no-exam coverage up to $1,000,000. Available in all states except CA, NY and MT.

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