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Veterans now may extend life insurance coverage at higher limits

Members of the military who leave the service can continue their government Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage when they become civilians. Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) can be purchased in increments of $10,000 up to a maximum of $400,000. However, the VGLI coverage amount can't exceed the amount you had under SGLI.

Veterans must choose VGLI coverage within one year and 120 days of discharge, although if you choose it within 120 days you don't have to show evidence of good health; after 120 days you do. Premiums are based on the member's age at the time of separation.

A VGLI policy can also be converted to an individual commercial permanent policy (such as whole life) whenever desired. More than 45 commercial life insurers participate to provide these conversion policies. Other life insurance policy types such as term, variable life and universal life are not available as conversion policies.

Both VGLI and SGLI are administered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA), which has information and policy applications online.

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