VGLI Life Insurance Claims for Death Benefits: What Beneficiaries Must Know to About Denied or Delayed Cases

VGLI coverage is designed to protect veterans’ families and dependents in the unfortunate event of a veteran’s death. Since VGLI policies are binding contracts between the insured veteran and the insurance company, beneficiaries may wonder how the insurance company can delay or deny their claim after they lost a loved one. 

Certainly, some claims are rightfully delayed or even denied. However, many VGLI claim denials and delays are based on incomplete materials, missing documents, and incorrect interpretation of the laws controlling VGLI claims. If the insurer does not act in good faith, an experienced, dedicated VGLI attorney at our law firm will work hard to help VGLI beneficiaries receive the VGLI benefits to which they are entitled under the law.

If you or someone you know has issues with a denied or delayed SGLI claim, call us at 888-510-2212 for a free consultation.

Below we will address some of the most frequent legal questions we get from beneficiaries who are in need of help with their denied or delayed VGLI claims:

VGLI Death Benefits Claims FAQ 

Denied VGLI Claims

It is crucial to know that far too often the reasons for denied VGLI claims are not legitimate and any life insurance claim denial should be thoroughly examined. Since many VGLI claim denial can be overturned on appeal, our VGLI attorneys encourage you not to take a claim denial as the final word. Speak to one of our VGLI lawyers to understand your rights and options.

The most common reasons why and when VGLI claims are denied are:

Denial due to cancellation of the policy

The insurer may claim that the policy had been canceled prior to the insured’s death.

Denial due to ineligibility for VGLI coverage

Many VGLI claims get denied if the insurance company claims the deceased veteran did qualify for VGLI coverage when he applied for it. This is especially frustrating, because veterans in such cases may have foregone buying alternative coverage.

Denial due to misrepresentation on the VGLI application

The insurance company may deny a VGLI claim on the basis of some incorrect or missing information on the application for VGLI coverage. Even though in most cases, veterans are not required to pass a health exam to qualify for VGLI, there are situations where coverage is dependent on the veteran’s medical history information.

Denial due to failure to convert SGLI to VGLI

In some cases, VGLI claims are denied because the insurance company says the insured waited too long to convert his SGLI into VGLI. If a servicemember had SGLI while on active duty, he/she has a year and 120 days to convert his/her SGLI policy to VGLI. If the insurance company approved coverage but denied your VGLI claim after the veteran’s death, your claim was most likely wrongfully denied. 

Denial due to invalid beneficiary change

Another common reason a VGLI claim is denied is an invalid beneficiary change. Laws governing VGLI require policy owners to follow certain rules when changing beneficiaries. If such rules are not followed, the insurance company may deny a VGLI claim and pay the proceeds under a VGLI policy to the person named beneficiary in a prior designation. 

If requirements for changing a beneficiary are not met, this can also be a cause for a VGLI claim denial. Two or more VGLI beneficiaries may file a claim which may result in interpleader actions and lengthy delays. 

Some of these practices may be dishonest and claim denials may be based on incorrect information. Beneficiaries who have been depending on the insurance company to pay the death benefit so they can pay the burial expenses and move on with their life could be left with nothing.

We have extensive experience in appeals procedure and litigation of VGLI cases and have helped many people who have had their SGLI benefits denied for all the reasons listed above.

Call us at 888-510-2212 to get a free evaluation of your case.

Delayed VGLI Claims

Usually, an insurance company can review a life insurance claim for a reasonable amount of time. In the majority of cases, the insurance company has 30-60 days to conclude the claim review after it has received all the supporting documents. 

The most common reasons why VGLI claims are delayed are:

Delay due to insufficient supporting documents

Since in some cases, the insurance company will need to receive and examine the decedent’s medical records, the review may take longer than expected, thus delaying paying out VGLI death benefits. 

Certainly, the insurance company may have legitimate reasons for delaying paying a VGLI claim. However, many VGLI claims are delayed for the wrong reasons. A VGLI lawyer can help you understand your rights under the law and guide you through the process of recovering delayed VGLI benefits.

Delay due to beneficiary dispute

Another reason why a life insurance claim may be denied is a beneficiary dispute or beneficiary contest. Life insurance beneficiary disputes may delay a claim for a year unless you take action. The insurance company may approve a claim for payment, but it may not be sure who the rightful recipient is. This usually happens when several individuals file competing claims for the same life insurance benefits. An insurance company may not wish to pay to one individual and not the other in order to avoid being sued by the claimant whose payment was denied.

Certainly, the insurance company may have legitimate reasons for delaying paying a VGLI claim. However, many VGLI claims are delayed for the wrong reasons. A VGLI lawyer can help you understand your rights under the law and guide you through the process of recovering delayed VGLI benefits.

A life insurance claim can be delayed for various reasons. In order to understand how to expedite payment on a claim, consult with an experienced life insurance lawyer. VGLI attorneys at our firm have vast experience handling SGLI claims denials for all the reasons listed above. They will protect your rights and help you avoid denial of your VGLI claim. 

To speak with one of our life insurance lawyers call 888-510-2212.

VGLI and Divorce

Beneficiary disputes involving claims for VGLI proceeds are subjected to federal laws which are very complex. In such cases, VGLI laws rule over any state law or regulations and require the insurance company to pay the veteran’s policy proceeds only to the beneficiary named on the VGLI beneficiary form. Even so, each case is different and yours may be the exception. To fully understand your situation, it’s best to consult with a VGLI attorney. 

Our VGLI attorneys are specialized in the field of VGLI laws and have the expertise to investigate your situation, guide you through filing the claim, and appealing the SGLI claim if you have valid claims over the death benefits.

Read more about VGLI and divorce cases and a former spouse’s rights to SGLI death benefits.

Call 888-512-2212 to get a free consultation with one of our VGLI attorneys. 

What Is VGLI Life Insurance? 

SGLI, or Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance offers term life coverage at very low premiums for active duty service members. However, when a service member stops being on active duty, SGLI stops after a certain period of time expires. Then, the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance program (VGLI) becomes available. 

VGLI is a term life insurance that allows veterans and former service members to maintain coverage for life provided they continuously pay premiums.

VGLI Coverage: How Much Is VGLI?

The maximum initial amount of VGLI is the same amount of SGLI coverage a servicemember had while on active duty. It starts at $10,000 and can then be increased up to $400,000

Does VGLI Expire?

VGLI coverage does not expire but it will lapse unless premiums are paid when due or within the 60-day grace period. VGLI rates increase with age.

VGLI Exclusions: Does VGLI Cover Suicide?

Unlike commercial life insurance policies, VGLI includes cover for suicide, as well as acts of war.

VGLI Eligibility Requirements: Who Qualifies for Coverage?

All members with SGLI coverage are eligible for VGLI upon release from service. 

The veterans get a VGLI life insurance policy if he was within a year and 120 days of:

  • Release from active duty;
  • Separation, retirement, or release from the Ready Reserves or National Guard;
  • Being assigned to the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) or the Inactive National Guard (ING), including members of the United States Public Health Service Inactive Reserve Corps (IRC);
  • Being placed on the Temporary Disability List (TDRL);
  • Release from active duty for training under a call or order to duty that does not specify a period of less than 31 days.

One may be eligible for VGLI if they had part-time SGLI and suffered an injury or disability while on duty that disqualified them for standard premium rates.

Since it does not require medical exams or disclosure of health information, tobacco smokers and people with medical and mental health issues can get life insurance coverage which will stay in force as long as premiums are paid. 

VGLI Beneficiary Designation

An insured veteran can designate anyone as a beneficiary on the policy and can later change beneficiary as he/she wishes. However, VGLI policyowners must follow VGLI rules while changing a beneficiary to make sure such changes are valid, since this can lead to denied or delayed VGLI claims due to either invalid beneficiary designation or a beneficiary dispute or contest.

Beneficiaries’ Rights to the Proceeds of a VGLI  Life Insurance Policy in a Dispute

Your rights to the VGLI life insurance benefits depend on the law and the facts of your case. Agreeing to settle a beneficiary dispute may or may not be the best option depending on your particular circumstances. A VGLIlawyer will help you understand your legal rights to the proceeds of a life insurance policy and will handle all the negotiations and possible litigation on your behalf. 

In case the parties involved in a life insurance beneficiary dispute agree to resolve the disagreement, your life insurance lawyer will draft an agreement that all the parties will sign in order to protect your rights in the future. If you are not represented by counsel during a life insurance beneficiary dispute, you may risk losing some or all the benefits to which you are entitled under the law. Retaining a life insurance lawyer with experience in resolving beneficiary disputes may be the best decision on the path to recovering your VGLI claim.

Role of Interpleader in Life insurance Beneficiary Disputes

If the VGLI life insurance beneficiaries and claimants involved in a dispute cannot or do not wish to reach a resolution by way of negotiations, the insurance company will file a lawsuit called interpleader. An interpleader is a court action filed by a neutral stakeholder – the life insurance company- against the competing claimants. The insurance company will eventually withdraw from the suit allowing the life insurance claimants to present their arguments in court.

If an interpleader is filed and you are one of the involved parties, retaining a life insurance lawyer is not just advisable – it may be necessary. A court action requires a litigant to adhere to strict court rules, deadlines, filing requirements, etc. In order to present a winning argument, you need a dedicated, experienced life insurance lawyer on your side.

Consult With a VGLI Attorney to Understand Your Legal Rights to VGLI Death Benefits

Our life insurance attorneys understand the reasons behind VGLI claim denials and delays, having helped many veteran’s families and beneficiaries collect VGLI benefits. We can help you dispute an unfairly denied VGLI claim, expedite a delayed payment for a VGLI claim, and also guide you through the process of submitting the claim. Our attorneys are experienced, dedicated, and compassionate. 

No Fee Unless We Win Your Case!

Our life insurance lawyers work on a contingent basis. This means we will not charge a legal fee unless we win your case. Only then will we charge a reasonable legal fee. We take pride in offering competitive contingent fee structures and will work with you to ensure you are comfortable with the fee. 

Call 888-510-2212 to speak to one of our life insurance lawyers for free