Military members coming home should look to life insurance

Jun 21, 2012

Military personnel and their families may want to look into additional life insurance.

When returning home from the military, U.S. servicemembers have a lot to think about. They want to get their family into a house, find a job, possibly secure benefits and complete other tasks that are important to get acclimated with life stateside. One thing that may be forgotten by many troops returning home and their spouses is buying life insurance to help financially protect their families financial future.

Frank Darras, an insurance lawyer based in California, said family members at home need to be sure to help troops keep track of their finances and assist them when buying life insurance to make sure their future stays safe.

“As a military spouse, it's expected that your other half can get called away at a moment’s notice," he said. "What if, as the the sole adult in the household, you were no longer there to stay at home with your 1-year-old during a deployment? Who would pay the bills and care for the child? These are the costs that should be considered when shopping for a life insurance policy.”

Darras said families should carefully think about what insurance policy will best fit their lifestyle. He said spouses should buy a policy that would compensate for their husband or wife being away, much like planning for deployment. He said from there, they should figure out how much they need to live on.

“Deployment is a fact of life, and military families always have to be prepared, especially if the unthinkable were to happen. Sometimes families have months to prepare for deployment and other times families have just hours," Darras said.

Beyond life insurance policies that members of the military are entitled to, a story in the Army Times said it may be a good idea to get another policy to make sure financial security can be reached for the long term. Members of the U.S. military are entitled to Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, which costs about 6.5 cents per $1,000 in coverage, but the news source said each family should look at their own needs to see if additional coverage is needed.

"For example, do you want your spouse to be able to pay off debts such as cars and the mortgage?" the website asks, saying that the rule of thumb is that families need eight to 10 times the income of the policyholder. "Do you want to fund your spouse’s schooling so he or she can get into the workforce? Do you have a family member with special needs or parents who rely on you for support?"

TheMilitaryWallet.com said private life insurance should be considered for servicemembers who need more than $400,000 in life insurance coverage. However, the website said military members should watch out for provisions that may not give payouts if they die in battle. This is a big reason why military members often stick to SGLI coverage, but if additional coverage is necessary, it can be found with some shopping around.

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