You Cannot Lose Your SGLI Insurance Coverage By Not Wearing A Seatbelt or a Motorcycle Helmet

by Hank

Okay, first off, let me get one thing clear up front.  I think that it is very important that Servicemembers wear their seatbelts in their cars and wear their helmets when riding their motorcycles.  But, with that said, I also think that it is incredibly important for members of our Armed Forces to have as much information as possible and not needlessly worry about rumors and myths that are falsely floating around the military.

Every weekend (especially long weekends), commanders at all levels across the Army stand before their Soldiers and give them a safety brief.  Of course they tell you not to drink and drive, not to do illegal drugs, etc.  A lot of times they say things like, “You will not receive your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) if, God forbid, you are killed while riding a motorcycle without a helmet, killed in a car crash when you were not wearing your seatbelt, if you die outside of your 250 mile travel radius, etc.  All of these things are myths!  Your family will still get their insurance money if the worst happens.

Don’t believe me?  I wouldn’t blame you.  I cannot count how many times that these myths are announced to our young Troopers.  But, read below exactly what the Veteran’s Administration (VA) has to say about these myths on their website.

The only way for your SGLI insurance benefit to get denied is:

If you are found guilty of mutiny, treason, spying, or desertion, or refuses, because of conscientious objections, to perform service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or refuses to wear the uniform of such force.

Here are the truths about your SGLI insurance…

  • SGLI claims are paid regardless of the location of the death.
  • Your SGLI or VGLI proceeds will be paid to your beneficiary or beneficiaries, regardless of whether you were or were not wearing a helmet.
  • SGLI or VGLI claims are paid regardless of whether the member was or was not wearing a seatbelt (in a car, government vehicle, tactical vehicle, and airplane…the same is true!)
  • SGLI will be paid pay regardless if the Servicemembers died while wearing privately purchased body armor or a privately purchased helmet.
  • Your SGLI or VGLI proceeds will be paid to your beneficiary or beneficiaries if you die in a terrorist attack.
  • There are no war or terrorism exclusions that would prevent payment of my SGLI or VGLI insurance to my beneficiary.

I bet that if you asked your commander to name a person who has been denied their government insurance benefits that they would be hard pressed to name one.  Or, they might name a person that they heard or a story from a friend of a friend about a guy who lost his benefits because he died too far away from the base.

I had a friend in college who was so worried about not receiving his benefits that he drove to and from is home 200 miles away in his military uniform to ensure that he would be considered killed while on duty if there was a line of duty investigation.  Looking back, it was so silly, but he took it seriously because he wanted his family taken care of in the event of his death.  It is these unnecessary situations that military commanders and leadership can nip in the bud by knowing the myths of our government insurance and by not continuing to spread these false rumors that are constantly circling in the military.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerry April 17, 2009 at 11:54 am

It sounds like this is one of those situations where a commanding officer or NCO is trying to get a good point across, but it leads to complete and utter misinformation. My CO used to tell us a litany of things that would happen to us if we did something stupid (and he was as good as his word), but he never resorted to the trumped-up insurance threat. Thanks for setting the record straight.
Jerry

hankc44 April 17, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Jerry,

Thanks for the comment. You are absolutely right. The CO had the best intentions at heart trying to keep his Troopers safe, but spreading rumors isn’t the best approach either.

I was just informed that Survivor Benefits (which is can equal a substantial amount of money, but not as much as SGLI) may be what he was referring to and may be in jeopardy if you do not wear a seatbelt, etc.

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