Compare Insurance Quotes
About Sentinel Security Life
In 1948, a group of funeral directors in Utah created Sentinel Mutual Insurance Company to provide insurance plans for people looking to provide coverage for funeral expenses. The “Mutual” was dropped in 1954 as the company changed its operating status to that of a stock corporation. A few years later, in 1957, another name change resulted in the current company name, Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company.
Acquisitions in the 1960s led to growth, and in the following decades the company expanded to be licensed in a total of 27 states. Their coverage area includes all of the Western states as well as most of the Midwest, Hawaii, and a few Southern and Eastern states.
The original product, funeral pre-planning coverage, is still a part of the lineup. A variety of quick-issue life insurance plans targeted at seniors are available, mainly aimed at covering final expenses. They also offer dental and vision plans, hospital coverage, annuities, and Medicare Supplement; plans available vary from state to state.
Sentinel’s products are sold through a network of independent agents across their operating area. The company’s headquarters are currently located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Sentinel writes a variety of Medicare Supplement plans in most of the states where they are licensed. They currently offer only Supplement and not Advantage or Part D. Sentinel offers this coverage in most of the states where they are licensed, but not in Minnesota, Florida, or Georgia.
The states where they do offer coverage are those that use the standardized letter system. Which plans are available again varies by state, although most states appear to have a good selection to choose from.
In California, our sample comparison state, Sentinel writes Plans A, B, C, D, F, and N. Some states also include Plan G, while others have fewer available.
This is a good selection, starting with the basic Plan A, which covers coinsurance for hospital, medical, and hospice as well as paying for three pints of blood each year. All plans include this coverage, while adding additional elements such as paying deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. Plan F offers the most available coverage out of the standardized plans. Because of the high level of coverage, this plan usually also comes with a relatively high premium. To mediate this, many companies offer the high deductible version of the plan, which includes a deductible in return for a lower monthly rate. Sentinel does not appear to offer this option.
Their plan list in all states includes the most popular choices – A, F, and N, as well as a few others to choose from. It is a better selection than we have seen from many other companies, including some large ones, and allows consumers to choose the combination of coverage that works for them and fits their budget.
Online quoting is not available from Sentinel, which is somewhat surprising for a company with such a large coverage area. There are two methods for obtaining a quote listed on the website; a toll-free number that appears to go directly to Sentinel, or a quote request form that can be submitted. The site also offers the option to find a local agent who can then provide more information.
Sentinel is an agent-driven company, as is evidenced by the effort put forth on their website to attract new agents to sell their products. This type of company frequently relies on connecting customers with agents in order to make sales. This sort of system, however, can result in unwanted solicitation. It also makes the task of comparing rates more difficult, requiring multiple phone calls rather than a quick Internet search. While the personal touch of an agent may appeal to some, to others ease of quoting may be more important.
Ratings and Reviews
Sentinel currently holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with only five complaints listed in the past three years. For a company that is licensed in half the country, that is a low complaint volume.
The few reviews found on Google include two reviews from agents who sell the products. While it’s nice to see that the agents like the company, it’s not the sort of review that is particularly helpful to consumers looking to choose an insurance company. It also has the tendency to come off as a sales pitch.
We were unable to find much else in the way of reviews for Sentinel. Of the reviews available, none referred directly to Medicare products or service.
The Bottom Line
Sentinel might be a good choice for those who prefer to work with an agent who can offer some options in terms of Medicare plans and pricing. They have a good selection of plans available in many states, but without rates it is difficult to provide a comparison to other companies. However, for those who prefer to handle their insurance purchase and policy needs online, they may want to research additional options.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.