UPDATED: Jul 5, 2022

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Written By: Melissa MorrisReviewed By: Benji CarrUPDATED: Jul 5, 2022Fact Checked
The Facts of Life

  • Most life insurance policies have a war clause that can cause the denial of your claim
  • A war clause is added to most life insurance policies to protect the life insurance company
  • Life insurance policies for the military offer different benifits
  • When deciding on which policy to purchase, make sure you research your options

Buying a life insurance policy can be confusing, to say the least. There are so many things to consider, especially when it comes to making sure your family is taken care of in the event of your death. You need to take into consideration your health, lifestyle, work, and other aspects of your life.

When choosing your life insurance, you may not consider whether your policy has a war clause. For most of us, having a war clause in our life insurance policy may not seem like a big deal, but it can be, especially if you are in the military. Finding life insurance companies that don’t have a war clause will ensure your family will be taken care of.

What is a war clause in life insurance?

Generally speaking, a war clause is a clause in an insurance contract that states you will not be covered dues to acts of war in most types of insurance. A war clause in a life insurance policy states that your death will not be covered if due to acts of war. This can include:

  • Terrorism
  • Revolution
  • Military coup
  • Insurrection
  • Invasion

For most people, this isn’t a big deal, but for those serving in the military, having a war clause included in their life insurance policy can be detrimental for your family in the event of your death. Knowing what you are covered for could save your family a lot of suffering in the future.

Why is there a war clause in life insurance policies?

There is a war clause in most life insurance policies for a number of reasons. First, there would be no way to accurately calculate premiums in terms of damages sustained by acts of war. In the event of an act of war such as terrorism, there would be no way an insurance company could afford to pay the claims on such a large scale. This would send the company into bankruptcy. The expansion of the war clause became more widespread after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

What effect does a war clause have on my policy?

If a war clause is included in your policy, you will not be covered during an act of war. This can lead to financial hardships on your family in the event of your death. While you have life insurance and a death gratuity through the military, will that be enough to care for your family long-term?

While the $100,000 death gratuity and $400,000 policy through the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) may seem like enough, think of that over the span of 20 years. The amount per year for your family to survive on would be approximately $25,000. Purchasing a secondary life insurance policy is necessary to support your family.

Costs for your family can add up. Your spouse will have to worry about providing for your children’s food, clothing, and education, including money for college. Extraordinary medical expenses for your family may arise in the future, not to mention the everyday costs that $25,000 a year won’t cover. Being prepared is the best thing you can do for your family.

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Life insurance companies without a war clause     

Most policies have a war clause, but there are some life insurance companies that don’t. Deciding on which life insurance policy to choose from will depend on what you are looking for. How much life insurance do you need? What type of life insurance should you buy? Should you purchase your policy through the government or a private company? It can be overwhelming to say the least.

There are some great life insurance companies to choose from without a war clause. Some will depend on which branch of the military you are in while others may require a membership. Knowing what you are covered for could save your family a lot of suffering in the future. Here is a comparison of the top life insurance companies without a war clause.

SGLI

Founded in 1965, the SGLI life insurance policy available to servicemembers is a low-cost group term policy. Eligibility is based on whether you are an active-duty servicemember or in the reserves.  If you are eligible, you are automatically insured. SGLI has a maximum benefit amount of $400,000. There are no underwriting processes. It is a guaranteed life insurance policy at a flat rate. At the time of your separation or retirement from the military, you will have a 120 day grace period to transfer your policy to a participating company.

USAA

USAA life insurance was founded in 1963. It has become one o the most respected insurance companies in the United States. USAA utilizes level term coverage. This typically lasts from 10 — 30 years, and your payments and coverage remain the same during the term you select. This level term life insurance for those in the military gives extra benefits to its members. Not only are you covered during times of war, but you may also be covered if severely disabled. If you retire or separate from the military, your SGLI benefits can be transferred in part or entirely.

AAFMAA

The American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA) was created in 1879 and offers life insurance without a war clause. Being the longest-running nonprofit association for active service members and veterans, they offer coverage of up to $800,000. It also fills the gaps left by the SGLI while separating or retiring from the military. As with other level term insurance plans, AAFMAA life insurance plan guarantees your premium will never increase. There are different level term options to choose from depending on your particular needs. This option can be more affordable than SGLI, depending on what you are looking for.

MBA

Beginning in 1956, the Military Benefits Association (MBA) has provided insurance to its members. Its level term plan for servicemembers offers up to $600,000 in life insurance coverage. Your rates will remain the same through your level term plan. The level term life insurance is affordable and a great addition to your SGLI policy. They also offer a term plan as well. Even when you leave the military through separation or retirement, you can keep your coverage.

AFSA

The Air Force Sergeant’s Association (AFSA) was established in 1961. While founded by Air Force officers, membership is available to any uniformed servicemember. With a maximum coverage of $500,000, there is an option for simplified coverage of $200,000 just by answering three medical questions. This group term life insurance will stay with you as long as you continue to pay your monthly rates.

AFBA

The Armed Forces Benefit Association (AFBA) was founded in 1947. At the time of its creation, there was no life insurance benefit for a member killed in combat. AFBA offers insurance policies up to $400,000, and you can keep full coverage after separation or retirement.

Policy comparison

SGLI USAA AAFMAA MBA AFSA AFBA
Type of plan Group term Individual term Individual term Group term Group term Group term
Maximum coverage $400,000 $350,000 $ 800,000 $600,000 up to age 75 $200,000 $400,000
Transferrable policy after separation or retirement Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Keep in mind that many of these life insurance companies offer options to purchase insurance for nonmilitary spouses and children. Some also have a permanent disability extension to the policy, which can be life-changing in the event of a catastrophic injury.

Finding Life Insurance Without a War Clause

Ensuring you have life insurance that will protect your family while serving your country in the military is crucial for your peace of mind. Knowing you are covered without a war clause in your policy is essential.

While there are some excellent life insurance companies, both government and private run, those listed in this article are the best life insurance companies that don’t have a war clause.  Knowing your family will be taken care of is everything.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

Melissa Morris has a BS and MS in exercise science and a doctorate in educational leadership. She is an ACSM certified exercise physiologist and an ISSN certified sports nutritionist. She teaches nutrition and applied kinesiology at the University of Tampa. She has been featured on Yahoo, HuffPost, Eat This, Bulletproof, Vitacost, LIVESTRONG, Toast Fried, The Trusty Spotter, Best Comp...

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Written by Melissa Morris
Professor of Nutrition & Kinesiology Melissa Morris

Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr