Sentry Auto Insurance Review

Business insurance with several discounts available

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Sentry

Sentry

overall rating
2.1

Our Take 

Sentry has been helping customers with their business auto insurance needs since 1904. With various insurance coverages for multiple industries, Sentry is a good choice for business owners looking for a one-stop shop. Customers also have access to several discounts and can manage their accounts online and make claims 24/7.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • 24/7/365 support available

  • Multiple discounts available

  • High AM Best rating

Cons
  • No complimentary roadside assistance

  • No online quotes

  • No online applications

Key Takeaways
  • Sentry was founded in 1904 and insures business vehicles in all 50 U.S. states. 
  • Customers can apply up to seven discounts to their premiums. 
  • Sentry offers commercial auto insurance, dealership auto coverage, motor carrier coverage, physical damage insurance, and non-trucking liability insurance for businesses. 
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1904
  • Types of Coverage Commercial auto insurance, dealership auto coverage, motor carrier coverage, physical damage insurance, non-trucking liability insurance
  • Available Discounts 7
  • Purchasing Options Online or in-person through an agent
  • Customer Service Email or telephone (800-473-6879)
  • Official Website https://www.sentry.com/

Pros Explained

  • 24/7/365 support available: Sentry offers an online portal where customers can manage their account, pay bills, and make and monitor claims. This makes it easy for customers to get the help they need when they need it. 
  • Multiple discounts available: With seven different discounts available, customers could save money on their premiums. 
  • High AM Best rating: Sentry has an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best, a company that assesses insurers’ financial stability. This high rating is an indicator of Sentry’s financial strength.

Cons Explained

  • No complimentary roadside assistance: Sentry does not offer complimentary roadside assistance. If a customer needs roadside assistance such as towing, fuel delivery, or flat tire assistance, it will be at an additional charge.
  • No online quotes available: Sentry doesn’t offer online quotes, making it difficult to compare prices to competitors. 
  • No online application available: Sentry does not offer the opportunity to apply or purchase coverage online. Potential customers must speak to a representative to get more information or apply for a policy. 

Introduction

Sentry Insurance offers 401(k) plans and insurance coverage for business owners. Its products include 401(k) plans and life insurance, business auto, business owner policy, commercial property, general liability, and workers’ compensation coverage. Business owners can choose from various auto coverages, including commercial auto insurance, dealership auto coverage, motor carrier coverage, physical damage insurance, and non-trucking liability insurance.

Company Overview

Founded in 1904 by Wisconsin Retail Hardware Association members, Sentry offers business insurance coverage in all 50 U.S. states. The company is headquartered in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. 

Although Sentry started off providing coverage to the retail hardware industry, it has grown to offer options for construction companies, dealerships, manufacturing and process, trucking, retailers and distributors, as well as service industries such as automotive repair, healthcare, and real estate. 

Types of Coverage

While Sentry mainly offers business auto insurance coverage, personal motorcycle and nonstandard auto coverage are available through its partner brand, Dairyland. Here are some of the coverage options Sentry offers:

Commercial Auto Insurance

Sentry offers commercial auto insurance for business owners whose employees drive as part of day-to-day business activities. This coverage protects vehicles that are leased or owned for business use. Coverage options include collision, comprehensive, and liability coverage, but Sentry also works with companies to determine what other coverages they might need. 

Commercial Auto Liability

Sentry’s commercial auto liability coverage protects the company and its employees if a driver is found liable for injuring someone or damaging someone’s property. If the company is sued for a covered accident, this coverage can also help cover court and defense costs. 

Physical Damage Insurance

Sentry’s physical damage insurance helps cover the repair, replacement cost, or actual value cost of a vehicle that’s damaged due to a fender bender, animal, or inclement weather. Depending on a business’s needs, Sentry also offers rental reimbursement, gap coverage, and towing coverage. Physical damage insurance includes these coverages:

  • Collision: If your vehicle collides with another vehicle or overturns
  • Comprehensive: When your vehicle is damaged by something other than a collision
  • Specified perils coverage: Covers specific named perils that pose a threat 

Non-trucking Liability Insurance

Sentry’s non-trucking liability insurance covers vehicles when they are in use for non-business purposes, and its optional unladen trucking coverage protects drivers when they are not hauling a load. Its non-trucking liability coverage is even transferable between leases. 

Motor Truck Cargo Insurance

Sentry’s motor truck cargo insurance covers the following:

  • Losses due to mechanical reefer breakdown, debris removal, and freight charges that can’t be collected after an incident
  • Cargo theft
  • Refrigerated trucks and cargo that lose temperature due to sudden and accidental mechanical failure or breakdown of refrigeration or heating equipment

Discounts

Sentry offers some discounts to its business customers including:

Risk-based pricing

Risk-based pricing rewards businesses with good driving records and low claim frequency.

Liability deductible 

Businesses can assume some of their risk to reduce their premium policy. This type of discount is typically used by risk-conscious business owners who are looking for significant savings on their total cost of insurance.  

Payment Options

Sentry offers several ways for customers to pay for their policies: 

  • Pay bill online by signing into your customer portal
  • Use your account number and zip code to pay quickly without signing in
  • One-time payment by phone
  • Through auto pay
  • Pay by check 

A discount is available for those who make payments quarterly, every six months, or annually. 

There are several different payment plans available to customers including: 

  • Exposure-based monthly payments (miles, units, receipts, etc.) - used more often by larger businesses and for trucking customers only 
  • Installment payments - depending on the amount down, payments are made over a certain number of months
  • Financing plans through the the business’s independent insurance agent

Loss Ratio

If the loss ratio of a company is low, it typically signals that the company should be offering lower premiums for its coverage. Sentry’s loss ratio is 59.24%. Based on our internal assessment, Sentry has a loss ratio score of 2, with a score of 5 being the highest. Because they rank on the lower end of the loss ratio scale, it would be expected that Sentry offers lower prices, which isn’t necessarily the case. Sentry’s median annual premium is $3,190, which is the third most expensive average premium out of the 25 companies we compared.

Other Features

Sentry customers can file a claim 24/7 through the company’s online portal. Customers can also track and monitor their claims online. 

Sentry offers roadside assistance, but at an additional cost. Services such as towing, locksmith servicing, battery service, fluid delivery for water, oil, fluid or fuel, flat tire assistance, or mechanical or electrical breakdown service are available to purchase as additional coverage options.

Customer Service

Sentry offers 24/7/356 customer service support. To contact customer service, you can call 800-473-6879 or send an email using the form on Sentry’s website. Current customers can log in to their portal to manage their accounts, file claims, or make payments. 

Customer Satisfaction 

In general, Sentry has received relatively positive reviews from its customers. It makes accessing a representative via phone or email easy, helping customers get the help they need. Although users appreciate Sentry’s widely accessible customer service, Sentry does have some customer complaints. In 2020, the insurer had 86 customer complaints, down from 170 in 2019 and 129 in 2018.

The majority of negative reviews are related to Sentry's partner brand, Dairyland, which offers personal insurance coverage. This makes it difficult to judge customer satisfaction with Sentry's commercial auto insurance coverage. 

Satisfaction Ratings

Sentry has not been ranked or rated by JD Power or the NAIC, making it difficult to determine how it compares to competitors. 

However, it does have an A+ (Superior) AM Best rating out of a possible A++. AM Best rates insurance companies’ financial strength and stability on a letter-based scale; high ratings signify that insurers are financially sound and can pay out customer claims. 

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) customer complaint database is a valuable tool if you’re researching insurance companies. NAIC collects consumer complaints about insurers and compares this data across the industry. The industry average complaint score is 1.0, and Sentry has a score of 1.873, meaning the company has more complaints than average.

Account Management

Sentry has an online portal where customers can manage their accounts, make claims, and pay their bills. Customers can also speak with Sentry representatives over the phone or in person.  

How Sentry Compares to Other Auto Insurance Companies

Sentry doesn’t offer online quotes, making it difficult for potential customers to compare their prices to other auto insurance companies. That said, our experts compared premium costs across ten providers. Sentry was the most expensive provider in Delaware and South Carolina, and the second most expensive in Idaho. If you're looking for relatively inexpensive coverage, Sentry may not be your best option.

Final Verdict

If you’re in the market for commercial auto insurance, Sentry may be a good choice. The company has been around a long time and has a strong financial reputation. And with its specific industry coverages, Sentry can help you get exactly what your business needs. 

Sentry’s customer service allows customers to get help whenever they need it, either by phone or through the online portal. And though the company doesn’t offer online quotes or online applications, it’s easy to connect with an agent. 

However, if customer satisfaction is important to you, Sentry likely isn’t your best choice. It has more customer complaints than average and could be an expensive option, depending on your location. 

Methodology

All of our reviews of auto insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company’s coverage, customer service, pricing, years in business, accreditation, and more. To rate Sentry and other providers, we developed an auto insurance review methodology that compares the auto insurance coverage types, additional features, discounts, account management, and reported customer experiences to help us provide insights into things like customer service and the strength of each company’s offerings.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. AM Best. "AM Best Assigns Credit Ratings to Dairyland American Insurance Co and Point Ins Co; Affirms Ratings of Sentry Ins Group Members." Accessed Nov. 23, 2021.

  2. Sentry. "What We Offer." Accessed Nov. 23, 2021. 

  3. Sentry. "History." Accessed Nov. 23, 2021. 

  4. Sentry. "Why Choose Sentry." Accessed Nov. 23, 2021. 

  5. NAIC. "NAIC Market Share Reports 2018-2020." Accessed Nov. 23, 2021.

  6. NAIC. "NAIC Consumer Insurance Results." Accessed Nov. 23, 2021.