Final expense insurance, or burial insurance, covers the cost of funerals and various other costs. If you are a veteran and are looking for funeral coverage, your needs may already be met with your VA benefits. However, even then, there are still certain charges not covered by VA benefits that would be covered by a final expense plan.
How can you determine if you need final expense insurance as a veteran? Let’s find out.
What Do VA Benefits Offer?
When planning your final expenses, you will need a plan that will cover the many costs involved, particularly with the funeral and any remaining medical bills. Guaranteed acceptance life insurance, similar to final expense, does not require you to answer health questions or a medical exam to secure coverage.
When a veteran passes away, you will have to apply for benefits with the VA. You may do this by submitting a written application and military service records for access to burial benefits. Both plans are surprisingly similar, offering a no-exam life insurance policy with guaranteed coverage from $10,000 to $25,000 for final expenses. If you’re eligible for a Veteran Survivor plan, it offers a few additional benefits, including:
- Up to $2,000 in burial benefits for service-related deaths
- Reimbursement of some or all costs of transportation to a VA National Cemetery
- $255 from government benefits
- $700-$1,400 from the VA (if the veteran passed away in a VA hospital)
- $300 for burial and funeral expenses for a veteran who did not pass away in a VA hospital
- $300 for a plot allotment for a veteran choosing a burial in a private cemetery
- Headstones, markers, and medallions
- Burial flag
- Presidential Memorial Certificate
You may also be eligible to be buried in a VA national cemetery. Apply in advance to learn if you qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery. You qualify if you are:
- A veteran of the armed forces
- A service member who died while on active duty
- Veteran’s spouse
- Veteran’s minor child
The VA, then, provides some funding for the funeral, but in most cases, the benefit won’t cover everything.
Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance and Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance
Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI) may be another option for veterans. If you become disabled and unable to work, you can apply to get up to $30,000 more in coverage through a supplemental S-DVI plan. You may also receive coverage if you’re fully disabled and under age 65.
Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) also covers those with disabilities or health issues. It’s based, however, on the relation of your condition to your service. If your condition is a direct result of your service, you can apply for this plan to cover your mortgage after you’ve passed away because your home will more than likely have to be adapted to your medical needs.
To get VMLI, you will need to have applied for a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant. The SAH covers the cost of adapting your home to your needs and is typically used as an indicator of your need for a VMLI plan.
If you’re eligible for one or both of these plans, they can be used to cover the costs that would otherwise be covered by a final expense plan. If this is the case, as a veteran, you may not need final expense insurance. However, once again, not all expenses are covered, and you do have the option to add an insurance policy to your VA benefits to handle all of your costs.
Life Insurance and VA Benefits Continued
Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is a specialized plan available only to veterans. All veterans may be eligible for this plan regardless of physical or mental health issues. The benefits you receive through this plan will be equal to your policy from while you were serving.
You’re eligible for VGLI, according to the VA, if you meet any of these requirements:
- Had part-time Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is a member of the National Guard or Reserves, and you suffered an injury or disability (damage to your body or mind that makes it hard for you to do everyday tasks, including meaningful work) while on duty—including direct traveling to and from duty—that disqualified you for standard premium insurance rates, or
- Had SGLI while you were in the military and you’re within 1 year and 120 days of being released from an active-duty period of 31 or more days, or
- Are within 1 year and 120 days of retiring or being released from the Ready Reserves or National Guard, or
- Are within 1 year and 120 days of assignment to the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) of a branch of service, or the Inactive National Guard (ING). This includes members of the United States Public Health Service Inactive Reserve Corps (IRC), or
- Are within 1 year and 120 days of being put on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL)
VGLI is a term life insurance policy—it covers you for a set period (or term) and then ends. Like a regular term life plan, if you die during that term, your beneficiaries will receive your selected death benefit.
Keep in mind, however, the conditions of any term life plan, including VGLI—become more expensive as you get older, and they are contingent on the policy holder’s death within the set term. If the policyholder is still alive after the term is over without renewal, you will forfeit the payout and monthly premiums made to it.
So—do veterans need final expense insurance? It depends. If you are only eligible for VA benefits alone, you may want to add a policy to this coverage to handle those costs not covered, including the tombstone and body preparations.
If you are eligible for S-DVI and/or VMLI, you will likely be able to cover these costs. However, you may not like the conditions of the plan, in which case you may opt for a final expense plan.
You Deserve Unfiltered, Unbiased Life Insurance Help—Contact Senior Life Services
As a veteran, you have fought long and hard for our country—you shouldn’t have to fight for your insurance coverage back at home. Our goal is to get you the best coverage at the best price, no strings attached. If you’d like to get started, contact Senior Life Services today.