part 5 of an 8-part series
It never fails, as a financial counselor I have heard stories about servicemembers declining their coverage for the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and their spouses not realizing the servicemember had opted out of life insurance coverage. SGLI does require a spouse to be notified of changes, such as declining coverage, but it can still happen and it can be devastating. Of course, no one wants to discuss life insurance. It can be uncomfortable and sad but nevertheless, it needs to be addressed. The SGLI is a great benefit for servicemembers and their dependents.
What is the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI)? SGLI is a low-cost group life insurance for servicemembers, check out your eligibility at dfas.mil. SGLI coverage is available in increments of $50,000 to a maximum of $400,000. SGLI premiums are currently $.065 per $1,000 of insurance, regardless of the member’s age. In 2013, the monthly premium for full coverage is $27 per month and in 2014, it will be $29 per month. These premiums also include a $1 per month premium for Traumatic Injury Protection Coverage (TSGLI). Learn more about TSGLI.
How do I enroll? Or change my options? You are automatically enrolled in SGLI if you fit into one of these main categories (for all eligible SGLI enrollees check out the full list here)
- Active duty member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard
- Cadet or midshipman of the U.S. military academies
- Member, cadet, or midshipman of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) engaged in authorized training and practice cruises
- Member of the Ready Reserve or National Guard and are scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive training per year
To adjust your SGLI coverage options you can find out more information here. Be sure you update your family if you make changes to your SGLI.
What is the Family Servicemember Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)? Family members and children are eligible and automatically enrolled for FSGLI once registered in Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). The servicemember can decline coverage by filling out a form at his or her personnel office. In addition, dual-military headed households require both spouses be registered in DEERS as well. FSGLI provides up to a maximum of $100,000 of insurance coverage for spouses, not to exceed the servicemembers’ SGLI coverage amount, and $10,000 for dependent children. Even if you are enrolled in SGLI, FSGLI enrollment may not be automatic so please check out this table for more information.
As with all important financial decisions, it may help to get more advice and information. You can contact your financial counselor at your installation through your Family Readiness Office or through Military OneSource. In addition, you military bank may be able to provide you information, calculators or worksheets that will help you navigate your insurance needs.
Stay tuned the next blog in our series: Tips on Only Taking Low-Interest Loans
By: Andia Dinesen, AFC®
VP Communications and Operations
Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA)