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Sentry Insurance was founded in 1904 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The company was originally created to serve the members of the Wisconsin Retail Hardware Association. Over the years the company has grown to offer both individual and business insurance for 1.1 million policyholders, across multiple states.
Sentry Insurance Group is made up of the following companies, servicing different markets and states:
- Sentry Lloyds of Texas
- Middlesex Insurance Company
- Patriot General Insurance Company
- Dairyland Insurance Company
- Sentry Casualty Company
- Sentry Select Insurance Company
- Viking Insurance Company of Wisconsin
- Peak Property and Casualty Insurance
- Parker Centennial Assurance Company
- Sentry Life Insurance Company
- Sentry Life Insurance Company of New York
- Dairyland County Mutual Insurance Company of Texas
Sentry Insurance is sold through a network of independent agents. Product availability varies by state, and each subsidiary company offers different options. Although, individual auto insurance policies are mainly underwritten by Dairyland Insurance.
Through affiliated and subsidiary companies, Sentry writes a few different personal insurance products and many more business insurance products.
Personal auto insurance policies are written through Sentry’s subsidiary, Dairyland Insurance. In some states, the coverage is underwritten by other companies. The Dairyland website advertises SR-22 insurance, which indicates that the company may cater to higher-risk drivers.
Auto insurance policies offer a basic selection of options in addition to the basic liability coverage. There is a list of fairly common discounts, such as multi-car and anti-theft device, as well as a few less common discounts such as one for being a homeowner.
Dairyland also offers a non-owner car insurance policy to protect the driver while operating a vehicle owned by someone else.
Also written by Dairyland, motorcycle insurance is available to cover a variety of different types of bikes as well as scooters, ATVs, and the trailers used to transport them. Total coverage includes the bike, accessories and more, as well as liability.
There are a variety of discounts for motorcycle policies, and Dairyland also offers a group discount to BikeBandit.com members.
Patriot Term Life III is Sentry’s term option, with a minimum $50,000 benefit and terms of up to 30 years. Policies offer a waiver of premium in case of disability and a children’s term rider and can be converted to permanent life insurance at the end of the term.
Traditional Whole Life IV is Sentry’s permanent life insurance option, with a minimum of $25,000 in benefits and several rider options. This policy offers a lifetime guaranteed benefit and level premiums.
Sentry offers a range of business products to cover many different types of companies. Their main focus is on vehicle and farm equipment related industries, but they also offer policies for industries such as food processing and metalworking.
Also available for businesses from Sentry is a selection of Employee Benefits packages, including group insurance and retirement programs. Business Life is also offered.
Equipment Physical Damage Insurance
Sentry offers two policies designed to cover personally owned farm equipment. The SentryGuard and UltraGuard programs are endorsed by John Deere.
These policies cover a variety of potential risks, and the UltraGuard policy satisfies John Deere financing requirements.
Annuities and Retirement Products
Sentry offers both fixed annuities and a selection of other financial products designed to help customers prepare for retirement. These include IRAs, both Roth and traditional.
Online quoting for auto and motorcycle is available for select states through the Dairyland Insurance website, but the site requires a great deal of information to obtain a quote, making it difficult to compare rates. Quotes are also available over the phone, or through agents.
As an agent-driven insurance company, Sentry rates are likely to be somewhat higher than a direct-buy insurance company, as agent commissions tend to drive up rates. There is a good list of discounts available that could help bring the rates down.
Claims are filed through multiple different departments depending on what type of policy and which company has underwritten the policy. Each company and department has a toll-free number available to submit claims. Currently, the company’s website does not offer an online quoting option.
Neither the Sentry website nor the Dairyland website offers much information in terms of the claims process.
Sentry Insurance has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), although they are not accredited. There are 108 complaints against the company in the past three years, 35 of which were closed in the past 12 months.
ConsumerAffairs.com , under Dairyland Insurance, lists 60 ratings, all of which are one-star reviews. Positive reviews are rare overall on this site, and this is not a particularly large number of reviews, but the overwhelmingly negative complaints about claims service and billing issues are somewhat concerning.
There are a fairly large number of complaints about Sentry on various sites, most of them pertaining to Dairyland auto and motorcycle policies. There are few reviews of any of Sentry’s other products available.
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Sentry offers a limited selection of personal lines products and a number of business insurance products. Drivers who are higher-risk are more likely to consider Dairyland, Sentry’s auto provider, as an option, and rates are not likely to be competitive for lower-risk drivers. There is some concern regarding Dairyland’s reputation for claims handling, but other Sentry products appear to have no such issues. As a result, this company is likely to appeal more to those looking for business insurance and other products than low-risk drivers.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.