Considering life insurance policies may seem like a mundane activity, but for servicemembers and Veterans who have several options for life insurance coverage, this conversation is necessary.
Why Comparing Life Insurance Plans Is Important
While looking at different life insurance plans and your financial needs, reading the fine print may not seem like the best use of your time, but it’s an important step to take to ensure you get the best coverage with the features you need at the best value. There are many types of life insurance plans that offer a temporary or permanent level of coverage, and you need to find the combination that works best for your situation. Selecting the right coverage for your needs will give you and your family the financial security to know they will be taken care of should the income earner pass away.
Different Coverage Levels
A life insurance policy is not a one-size-fits-all financial instrument, it is designed to provide a specific amount of financial protection based on the policyholder's individual needs. When comparing life insurance plans, you want coverage that fits your needs and lost income.
Unique Risks of Military Service
Your service in the military may involve hazardous duties, and an overall higher degree of risk. These factors can increase your family's dependence on additional protection with life insurance. By comparing life insurance providers and plans, you can find a product that is designed to insure the military servicemember and Veteran community.
There are additional considerations associated with military service — such as the potential for service-related medical conditions which may require specific insurance coverage options. Some life insurance carriers may exclude coverage to active-duty servicemembers or charge additional premiums to provide coverage at a higher risk.
However, there are some life insurance companies that provide protection for military members and Veterans. For example, certain insurance carriers may offer policies without war clauses, aviation exclusions, or extra charges for hazardous occupations. Some even offer considerations for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These benefits can provide more comprehensive coverage and peace of mind.
Life insurance policies provide more than just coverage — they also come packed with a variety of features that can provide additional benefits and flexibility. You’ll want to check the benefits that come with the policies you’re comparing so you can decide which is best for you and your family.
For instance, a disability waiver of premium could waive your premium payments if you become disabled. This is particularly important for military personnel who may be at a higher risk of disability due to their service.
Some policies may offer an accelerated death benefit, which allows you to receive a portion of the death benefit early if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Given the potential exposure to health risks in the military, this feature could provide financial relief when it's most needed.
There is also a military severe injury benefit, which provides a payout if you are severely injured in the line of duty. Or, there might be conversion options that allow you to convert a term policy to a permanent one without further health checks.
Life insurance fine print often details exclusions and conditions that are not covered, such as deployment to conflict zones or participation in hazardous duties. This means that a policy would not pay out if a claim is made for death or disability that occurs under these circumstances. You should look for policies that do not exclude these risks or that offer special provisions for servicemembers.
Exclusions can also apply to certain health conditions. For instance, some policies might not cover deaths related to pre-existing conditions such as cancer or diabetes, including those that could be related to military service.
For servicemembers and Veterans, it’s key to find a life insurance carrier that will accept the risk and reality of military life.
Life insurance is an investment in your family's financial security, and as with any investment, it's important to ensure you're getting value for your money. This is where cost comparisons come into play.
The cost of life insurance can vary significantly between providers and policy types. Factors such as the level of coverage, policy features, and even your military service, can affect the premium. Comparing costs helps you find a policy that fits your budget while meeting your coverage needs.
Compare the cost with the quality of insurance you’re getting. A less expensive policy might exclude some of the benefits we mentioned above or it may have a short-term period of coverage, such as five years.
How to Evaluate Life Insurance Policies
Evaluating life insurance policies can seem overwhelming. Following are six steps to make it easier to find what you need at a price you can afford.
1. Identify Your Needs
The amount of coverage you obtain should be sufficient to replace lost income, pay off debts, cover future expenses such as children's education or a spouse's retirement, and even account for funeral expenses.
2. Understand Policy Types
Term life insurance covers you for a specific period and is often less expensive per dollar of coverage than whole life insurance. It can be ideal for those on Active Duty or who have transitioned to a civilian second career and need large amounts of coverage while their family is growing and still depends on their income.
Whole life and universal life insurance policies provide lifelong coverage and have a cash value component. These policies may be more suitable for long-term financial or estate planning needs.
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll want to look for a military friendly insurance provider that will provide coverage to service members who may have a higher risk or hazardous duties.
3. Research Insurance Companies
The insurance company you choose will become your partner in securing your family's financial future, so it is important to find one you feel comfortable with to cover and support your needs.
You'll want to consider the company's reputation, financial stability, customer service, and track record of managing claims. Servicemembers and Veterans should consider looking for a company that has experience working with military personnel, as they will be more likely to understand the benefits you need and the exclusions you should be aware of.
4. Compare Coverage Levels
Different policies offer different coverage levels, and the cost of premiums can vary significantly for the same level of coverage across different providers. The younger you are, the lower the premium will be for a life insurance policy because your risk is low. The older you are, the risk is higher and the premium will reflect that increased risk.
5. Review Policy Features
Make sure to review the policy for the specific features you are seeking, such as a disability waiver or an accelerated death benefit. With every life insurance policy there is a 30-day grace period or Free Look period. This provision lets you review the terms and conditions as you can cancel the policy with no penalty. There is also a two-year contestable period if the insured dies within two years of the policy issue date. This two-year period means the insurer has the right to investigate the insurance claim by the beneficiary and can deny the claim if there is any evidence of misrepresentation by the applicant. Additionally, some life insurance policies offer features specifically tailored to the needs of military personnel, such as benefits for severe injuries incurred in the line of duty or flexible conversion options for changing military-to-civilian life circumstances.
6. Understand the Cost-Comparison Method
The cost of a life insurance policy, or its premium, can vary significantly between providers, types of policies, and coverage levels. While you want to ensure you have sufficient coverage, it's also essential to find a policy that fits your budget and your needs. Keep in mind that certain insurers may offer special rates or discounts in recognition of your service and that others may charge extra for the unique risks associated with military duties.
Why Should Military Families Choose AAFMAA?
AAFMAA has served the military community since 1879, and we truly care about your well-being. Many of us are current or former military ourselves, so we understand the challenges and rewards of military life. Our team is dedicated to and experienced with helping military families like yours, and we will work collaboratively with you to find the best policy.
Our policies stand out by offering:
- No war clause, no aviation clause, and no terrorist clause — and no surcharges on any of our policies.
- No exclusion for hazardous occupations for Active Duty.
- No exclusions or extra fees for aviation.
- No automatic denial for PTSD — each case is carefully considered on its own merits.
- No surrender charges on whole-life policies.
- Our Hallmark Survivor Assistance Services. We provide a personal representative that will coordinate the notifications to the military and government agencies to ensure your family receives the benefits and entitlements you earned during your time in service.
We always provide clear contact information on how to reach us with any questions. Plus, AAFMAA Members have access to additional resources that can help them take control of their financial future.
AAFMAA is Member-owned, which means that you are an integral part of our products and services and you are the focus of everything we do. Our non-compensated Board of Directors comprises Association Members, including Veterans from enlisted and officer ranks, and represents all Members in the strategic direction of the Association. In short, AAFMAA is an organization you can trust to have your best interests in mind.
Contact us today to get a quote and see if AAFMAA is right for you and your family.