UPDATED: Mar 18, 2020
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Sentinel Security Life is a Utah-based insurance company offering a range of life insurance, supplemental, and financial products. Final expense insurance is their flagship product.
About Sentinel Security
The history of Sentinel Security Life is rooted in the cost of final expenses; the company was founded by a group of funeral directors who saw first-hand the hardships families faced when struggling to pay funeral expenses. They created Sentinel Mutual Insurance Company in 1948, writing affordable life insurance policies for Utah families.
The company took the name Sentinel Security Life in 1957 and began adding products that include annuities and Medicare Supplement insurance. Through growth and acquisitions, they have expanded to provide insurance across the country.
Their headquarters is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, and they sell policies through local independent agents.
Sentinel Security Final Expense Products
Sentinel’s final expense life policy is called New Vantage Life. It is a whole life insurance policy designed specifically to pay funeral and other final expenses and is available in three forms.
New Vantage I is an immediate benefit life policy issued to those with no health issues. The full death benefit is payable from the date of issue.
New Vantage II is for those with minor health issues that render them ineligible for the immediate benefit policy. The modified death benefit schedule pays out 30% if death occurs in the first year, 70% in the second year, and the full benefit thereafter.
New Vantage III is a final expense option for people with more serious health issues. For the first two policy years, the death benefit equals all of the premiums paid plus 10% of the face value. After the second year, the full benefit is payable.
All of the policies are simplified issue, which means there is no medical exam required. A health history will be needed in order to determine which level of the policy can be issued, but most people should qualify for one of the levels.
Death benefits can be assigned to a specific funeral home, and the policy includes the option to provide funeral instructions in order to ensure the insured’s wishes are carried out.
The site does not list issue ages for these policies, nor is there any information on the maximum face value of a policy.
Sentinel, like many smaller life insurance companies that rely on agents, does not offer online quoting. There is no rate information available unless you speak with an agent directly.
The best rates will be available on the New Vantage I program, and they likely increase from there based on health condition. Final expense is generally meant to be an affordable policy, offering smaller death benefits than standard insurance, but rates can vary quite a bit based on the age and health of the applicant.
Sentinel’s website does not offer a dedicated claims section. While that is not uncommon, it can make finding information frustrating for a beneficiary, especially in an already difficult time.
The FAQ section of the website provides very little information other than instructions to contact the company, without providing contact information.
The forms page does have the claim forms available for download. These forms include detailed instructions for completing the claim process, including what documentation is needed. On the forms, the mailing address and fax number are listed, and a policyholder services phone number is also provided for questions. That number can also be found on the contact page.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Sentinel Security Life has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with only one complaint on file in the past three years. They have been BBB accredited since 1979. The one written complaint in the reviews section shows a lack of understanding of the policy terms, and the company provided a clear and respectful explanation of the situation in response.
The company has an overall 4-star rating on Google based on a total of 13 reviews. Most of those reviews do not have much in the way of useful commentary, and some are from agents selling the company’s products rather than customers. Still, the overall high rating is encouraging.
The Bottom Line
Although we do not have a lot of detail or rates to provide a value comparison, this company appears to worth contacting for a rate quote. They have options for most health situations and have made final expense insurance their focus for 70 years, which gives them some expertise. They have a good reputation with no red flags in their low volume of complaints.