Best Life Insurance Companies for Veterans

Top Companies Providing Excellent Life Insurance for Veterans and Their Families

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Life insurance helps make sure your loved ones are protected and provided for after you’re gone, but finding the best life insurance as a veteran can be overwhelming. The VA offers low-cost term life coverage through Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) when you are in the service. After your service is complete, you can convert the coverage to a term policy with VA Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI), but this might not always be the best option.

While the VGLI plan has its advantages, life insurance from a commercial provider may get you the best price long term and the longest-lasting coverage. The best life insurance companies feature flexible coverage options, affordable policies, and high customer satisfaction ratings. Here are our top recommendations for the best life insurance for veterans.

The 8 Best Life Insurance Companies for Veterans in 2022

Most companies below are listed by the VA as participating companies, meaning you can convert your existing SGLI, VGLI, or Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) coverage to an individual life insurance product without undergoing an exam or answering health questions.

Best Overall : New York Life


New York Life

New York Life 

  • AM Best Rating: A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Why We Chose It

New York Life offers outstanding financial stability, receives very few customer complaints, pays dividends, and lets you convert your SGLI or VGLI coverage to one of its individual life insurance products.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Accelerated death benefits available

  • Few customer complaints


  • Highest financial stability

  • Eligible policyholders may receive dividends

Cons
  • No online quotes available

  • Policy information is difficult to find online

Overview

New York Life offers a robust selection of policy types, the ability to convert your SGLI or VGLI policy to one of its products, and pays dividends to eligible policyholders. Plus, it received an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best (the highest rating available) and has an excellent track record when it comes to customer complaints, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Because of these outstanding attributes, New York Life is our first choice for life insurance for veterans as well as our top pick for best whole life insurance companies.

New York Life has been in business since 1845 and offers a range of policy types and riders, including living benefit riders for chronic or terminal illnesses, available at no extra cost. To obtain a quote from New York Life and apply for coverage, you'll need to speak to an agent. You can not get a quote or apply for coverage online.

Best for Financial Stability : MassMutual


MassMutual

MassMutual

  • AM Best Rating: A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Why We Chose It

MassMutual boasts an A++ for financial strength, received very few customer complaints, did well in J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. It also offers dividends. You can convert your SGLI, VGLI, or FSGLI coverage to one of its whole life products.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Eligible policyholders may receive dividends

  • Access to living benefits riders

  • Very few complaints

  • Highest financial strength rating

Cons
  • Doesn't allow online credit card payments

Overview

MassMutual pairs solid financials with satisfied customers. It received an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best and had very few customer complaints over the past three years, according to the NAIC. Plus, it scored above average in J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study.

The company has been in business since 1851 and offers a wide selection of life insurance, including term, whole life, universal life (UL), and variable life policies. It also pays dividends to eligible policyholders and provides access to living benefits with riders.

MassMutual does not offer military program quotes online, but you can get help from a financial advisor regarding the conversion of SGLI, VGLI, or FSGLI. MassMutual offers term quotes online.

Best for Customer Satisfaction : Northwestern Mutual


Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual

  • AM Best Rating: A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Why We Chose It

Northwestern Mutual scored extremely well in J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. It's the largest life insurer in the country and received virtually no complaints over the past three years.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Ranks high in customer satisfaction

  • Highest financial strength rating

  • Very few customer complaints

Cons
  • Website lacks policy information

Overview

Northwestern Mutual ranked third for customer satisfaction per J.D. Power, higher than any other life insurer in this list. It also earned an A++ from AM Best, the agency's highest financial strength rating, and is the largest life insurance company in the country. Over the past three years, the company received an extremely low number of complaints, especially given its size. Notably, the company has been paying dividends to eligible policyholders for the past 150 years.

Northwestern Mutual is one of 11 insurers listed by the VA that lets you convert your SGLI, VGLI, or FSGLI coverage to one of its products without requiring a medical exam or asking health questions. The company offers term, whole life, universal life, and variable universal life insurance policies.

Northwestern Mutual also offers several riders, including living benefits for terminal and chronic illnesses, and a guaranteed insurability rider. However, the company does not provide many details about its policies or riders on its website.

You'll need to speak to a financial professional in order to convert your military coverage or get a quote.

Best for Living Benefits : Prudential


Prudential

Prudential

  • AM Best Rating: A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Why We Chose It

Prudential is a great choice for veterans interested in life insurance with living benefits. Prudential's Living Needs Benefit rider is free of charge on most policies and let's you receive a portion of the death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, are confined to a nursing home, or require an organ transplant.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Few customer complaints

  • Living benefit riders

  • Superior financial strength

Cons
  • Worse than average customer satisfaction

  • Expensive term coverage

Overview

Prudential was established in 1875 and has an AM Best financial stability rating of A+. The company receives fewer complaints than expected, according to the NAIC, but doesn't do as well as the aforementioned companies on this list. 

We chose Prudential as the best for living benefit because most policies include its Living Needs Benefit rider free of charge, which lets you access the death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, are confined to a nursing home, or require an organ transplant.

Prudential offers a range of policies, including universal life, indexed universal life, variable life, and term, as well as optional riders such as an accidental death benefit rider and a waiver of premium for disability. However, the company did not do well in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study—it ranked 15th out of 21 companies. And it's term policies are relatively expensive.

You can get a civilian Prudential quote online for term coverage or contact one of their agents to get the best rates for SGLI or VGLI conversion options.

Best for Active MilitaryUS : USAA


USAA

USAA

  • AM Best Rating: A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Why We Chose It

USAA offers solid benefits for active military members, boasts the highest financial strength rating that AM Best bestows, and receives very few customer complaints.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Highest financial strength rating

  • Few customer complaints

  • Free guaranteed insurability option

  • Benefits for injuries during active duty

  • Anytime conversion

Cons
  • Doesn't offer SGLI, VGLI, FSGLI conversion

  • Few policy types available

Overview

USAA is a well-known name for military insurance, founded in 1922 by a group of army officers who pooled together to insure their own automobiles. USAA has an AM Best rating of A++, the highest available, and an excellent track record of very few complaints with the NAIC.

Active military members and their families will appreciate the unique benefits USAA offers. The company provides $25,000 for certain injuries sustained in the line of duty as well as guaranteed insurability at no cost on Level Term V. This benefit lets you increase coverage upon certain life events, such as marriage or having a baby, without having to take a medical exam or answer health questions.

The company also offers an "anytime conversion" rider which lets you convert your USAA term coverage to a permanent policy until the end of the level term period. However, you can't convert your existing SGLI, VGLI, or FSGLI policy to a USAA policy. And you won't find many policy options available either—USAA only offers term and simplified whole life policies directly.

While USAA offers quotes online, your military information, other qualification, or membership is required.

Best for Disabled Veterans : VA Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI)


Why We Chose It

VA Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance is a great choice for life insurance for disabled veterans. If you meet certain requirements, you may be able to secure up to $10,000 in life insurance coverage, and $30,000 in supplemental coverage.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Good for disabled veterans

  • Some veterans may be eligible for free coverage

Cons
  • Low maximum coverage capacity

  • Strict qualification requirements

  • Premiums increase every five years

Overview

Getting life insurance for disabled veterans can be tricky. Even though some policies don’t require medical exams and have simplified underwriting, there are still medical questionnaires, and you may be denied coverage for certain disabilities, including PTSD. For those who have trouble getting coverage elsewhere, the VA offers insurance for disabled veterans. This can help ensure you get life insurance coverage even when other life insurance companies deny coverage.

In some cases, totally disabled veterans may be eligible for free coverage and can purchase additional coverage through the program. The program offers up to $10,000 of coverage and the possibility to increase coverage by up to $30,000 if you become totally disabled and are unable to work.

To be eligible, you must apply within two years from the date the VA grants your new service-connected disability. There are no online quotes, but they offer a brochure with premium and plan options with rates per $1,000 of coverage. You can apply for policies online through your VA online account.

Final Verdict

Life insurance for veterans can be complicated by a variety of factors, including service-related health conditions or disabilities. However, there are several different insurers that offer life insurance policies that are suitable for veterans, whether they focus exclusively on service members and their families or provide all-around value. Plus, most of the companies on this list let you convert your SGLI, FSGLI, or VGLI to an individual policy with that company without taking a medical exam or answering health questions.

New York Life is our top choice for life insurance for veterans. New York Life offers affordable, flexible life insurance policies for veterans up to 90 years of age. The company has a rating of A++ from AM Best and has high customer satisfaction ratings. They also offer veterans the ability to convert SGLI and VGLI plans.

Compare the Best Life Insurance Companies for Veterans

 Company  AM Best Rating  Customer Complaints  Policies Offered
New York Life
Best Overall 
A++ Very few complaints Term life, whole life, universal life, variable universal life
MassMutual
Best for Financial Stability
A++ Very few complaints Term life, whole life, universal life, variable universal life
Northwestern Mutual
Best for Customer Satisfaction
A++ Virtually no complaints Term life, whole life, universal life, variable universal life, survivorship life
Prudential
Best for Living Benefits 
A+ Few complaints Term, universal, indexed universal, variable universal
USAA
Best for Active Military
A++ Very few complaints Term, whole, universal
VA Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance
Best for Disabled Veterans
N/A N/A Term, whole

What is life insurance for veterans?

Life insurance provides payment in the form of a death benefit to your beneficiary if you die and permanent policies may be also used as an investment or savings tool. Life insurance rates increase as you get older, and vary depending on your health and other criteria. When you leave the military, you may have health conditions or disabilities due to your time in service or injuries acquired in combat. These conditions can make it hard to find good life insurance at a good price. 

Fortunately, as a veteran, you have many choices for life insurance:

  • Continue your plan with the VA
  • Find private insurance
  • Supplement your VA group insurance with private insurance
  • Convert your policy with private life insurers who participate in conversion programs

How does VGLI compare to civilian or private life insurance?

Both are ways to extend your SGLI life insurance benefits, but VGLI insurance rates will increase as you age. If you convert to a permanent life insurance policy with a private life insurance company, you can lock in a lifelong rate that will be higher initially, but won't increase as you age. You can also convert a VGLI policy to a policy with a private carrier at any time.

VGLI
  • Same rates for smokers and non-smokers

  • Same rates regardless of health

  • No investigation of health history within 240 days of leaving the military

  • Same rates regardless of sex

  • No health questions if you apply within 240 days of separation

  • Term life insurance only, no cash values

  • Policy premiums increase every five years based on age

  • Maximum coverage is $400,000 or the same amount you had on your SGLI plan (if less than $400,000)

Private Life Insurance
  • Rates based on smoker or non-smoker status

  • If converting SGLI with a participating conversion company, no medical exam or heath questions

  • More policy options available, including permanent policies

  • More riders available

  • Possibility of dividends some policies

  • Possibility of terms up to 30 years

  • Coverage not limited to a maximum of $400,000, can go to several million, depending on the company

What Life Insurance Does the VA Offer?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several life insurance plans to cover active servicemembers and their families, disabled veterans, and veterans:

  • Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI): For active service members, no health requirements to obtain coverage. Cost is based on coverage amount only; coverage is $25 a month for a $400,000 death benefit.
  • Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI): You can convert your SGLI policy when you end service to a VGLI policy. This is a renewable term policy, premiums increase every five years at renewal. 
  • Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI): This is life insurance provided to spouses of active duty service members. This coverage can be converted to a policy with a private carrier within 120 days of separation.
  • Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI): For those who have received a VA service-connected rating in the last two years and are in otherwise good health.
  • Veteran’s Mortgage Life Insurance: This coverage is available for severely disabled veterans who have a Specifically Adapted Housing grant.

What Are the Expected Costs of Life Insurance for Veterans?

The cost of veterans’ life insurance will depend greatly on the type of policy you choose, your age, and your health (if you don't convert an existing policy). For example, term life with level premiums may cost you the same amount for up to 30 years. Whereas a renewable term policy, one that renews every five years like VGLI, will start off at one rate, but then increase every five years.

VGLI Five-Year Renewal Term Insurance Rates 2022
Age Policy Value $400,000
<=29 $28 per month
30-34 $36
35-39 $48
40-44 $64
45-49 $84
50-54 $132
55-59 $240
60-64 $396
65-69 $588
70-74 $904
75-79 $1712
80 and over $1800
Source: Veteran's Affairs

What Is the Time Limit to Convert SGLI Coverage to an Individual Policy?

Conversion is the process of switching your SGLI coverage to a private insurer without having to take a medical exam or answer health questions. (Alternately, you can switch to a VGLI plan.) In order to benefit from conversion, you must do so within specific timelines:

  • 120 days after your date of separation to convert your SGLI to a private plan without a medical exam or health questions. The participating private insurer may ask you to answer health questions to get a better rate, but the VA states that you are not obliged to answer those health questions. 
  • You can convert a VGLI to an individual policy at any time.

How We Chose the Best Life Insurance Companies for Veterans

To find the best life insurance companies for veterans, we researched more than two dozen life insurance companies for reputation, product selection, underwriting methods, and price, including those cited by the VA as options for converting SGLI coverage, along with other non-profit and member group plans. We reviewed pricing, customer satisfaction, complaints, and coverage options to come up with our overview of the best life insurance companies for veterans.