Posted on Wednesday, 16th December 2009 by

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Life insurance is often the last thing a federal employee thinks about when deciding to retire. After all, you are looking for a great escape not your last hoorah. Yet, making uninformed FEGLI decisions prior to retiring can make it very difficult for your loved ones.

What you should know about your Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) coverage:

  • FEGLI is a term insurance policy, but it is unusual because it never has to be renewed, and you never have to provide health information to continue your current coverage.  It is a term policy because the costs increase periodically and there is no accumulation of cash value.
  • The FEGLI basic insurance costs do not increase with age and this basic insurance is subsidized by the government.
  • As part of the basic insurance, additional coverage is provided at no extra cost for those under age 45. This additional coverage decrease incrementally between the ages of 35 through 45.
  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance is provided at no additional costs as part of the basic insurance coverage.
  • The cost of the FEGLI optional insurance (A, B, C) increases significantly in your 40’s.  The optional insurance amounts are group rates that are not subsidized by the government.  Therefore, you may be able to find better rates elsewhere.
  • The cost and the amount of coverage both increase when your salary increases.
  • FEGLI coverage is provided by Met Life.

Not sure how much FEGLI coverage you have?  In block 27 of your SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action, or on your Leave and Earning Statement, it will list the coverage options you selected.  Then go to the FEGLI calculator available at to determine the dollar value of the insurance.

Print a copy of the insurance amount every year to keep with your will and use the document to see if this insurance is still cost effective and meets your needs.

When was the last time you looked at the amount of your FEGLI coverage, or other life insurance coverage, to determine how much life insurance you need?  Compared the costs of the insurance to other insurance options available.

Everyone should re-evaluate their life insurance needs periodically and have someone they trust to review their insurance needs and options. If you decide to purchase insurance from an insurance provider other than FEGLI, be sure it is a reputable company with a great financial rating. Review our FEGLI online guidance and Survivor Concerns pages that discuss insurance options and links to insurance company rating services.

Part two of this series titled “Evaluating Your Life Insurance Needs” will help you assess your needs and review your existing coverage to see where you stand.

Request a FREE Retirement Benefits Summary & Analysis from a local adviser. A sample analysis is available for your review. Includes projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections. This service is not affiliated with

The information provided may not cover unique or special circumstances and federal regulations are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your HR specialist or benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center.

Visit often to learn more about retirement options, benefits, and estate planning issues and I suggest signing up to receive my FREE monthly benefits newsletter.

Last 5 posts by Linda Sherman


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7 Responses to “A Life Insurance Check-Up: Understanding FEGLI Coverage – Part 1”

  1. macie golden Says:

    I have been trying to find out how I can sell my life insurance policy, but I cannot find out how much I have left. when I call opm they tell me they don’t have the records and to call FEGLI, and they tell me the same. I have terminal cancer and I have gotten the basic out already, but I was told by a lady at OPM that there are companys who will buy the other 2 thirds.

  2. Linda Duncan Says:

    What you are referring to is a “life settlement.” But before you seek a life settlement you need to verify how much life insurance you have in place. Here is a OPM link to more information about verifying the amount of life insurance coverage:

    Once you have amount of the insurance, you can contact your insurance or financial advisor for information about a potential life settlement. You may also want to talk with your heirs to see if they want to continue paying the policy rather than selling it to someone else.
    Best Wishes – Linda

  3. Mary A Walkley Says:

    How much Federal Employees Group Life Insurance do I have?

  4. Dennis Damp Says:

    Check with your payroll office if you are still employed. If you are retired contact OPM at 1-888-767-6738 if you don’t have a record of what you elected for coverage. You can also contact FEGLI at the number located on our web site at If retired, check the copies of your retirement paperwork.

    Dennis Damp

  5. Linda Duncan Says:

    Jacques, As an employee you can find this information two different ways: 1. The amount you personally pay for FEGLI life insurance is listed on your leave and earning statement. There will likely be two deductions if you have elected optional insurance. 2. The FEGLI options you have elected will also be listed on your Notification of Personnnel Action, SF-50 and the FEGLI calculator to determine the coverage and cost of the insurance is available at:
    If you are retired, this information will be listed on your annual statement for retirement income from OPM that usually arrives in January, or your can contact OPM directly.

  6. Linda Duncan Says:

    The cost of the basic insurance occasionally increase, but the increases are not based on age as are the optional insurance amounts. There is one other thing you should note as a retiree: At the time of retirement you made an election that will affect the cost of the basic insurance when you turned 65. The insurance rates are located at:

    The amount of life insurance coverage you have is based on your salary amount at the time of retirement and the options you elected. You can input that information into this handy dandy FEGLI calculator to determine the amount of coverage and the costs: Also as you evaluate your coverage you should make sure your designation of beneficiary forms are correct, because they bypass the designations in the will.

    For inquiries you should contact OPM with your CSA number.

  7. Linda Sherman Says:

    James G. – You need to contact OPM to review your FEGLI, FEHB, survivor benefits coverage. The contact information is:
    (888) 767-6738

    Contact TSP directly for TSP information: 1-TSP-YOU-FRST (1-877-968-3778)