Nationwide vs. Sentry: Which Company is the Best Fit for You?

How do Nationwide and Sentry compare when it comes to auto insurance rates and discounts? If you want to find out which carrier has the best prices for your unique profile, check out our latest guide below.
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Quick Facts

  • In general, Nationwide offers cheaper premiums than Sentry
  • Nationwide offers more affordable rates for policyholders whose driving record contains an at-fault collision
  • Sentry tends to be a much more affordable option for drivers with a DUI

Nationwide or Sentry: Which Company has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

So, you're considering switching to a new insurance policy. After all, you've seen ads from all sorts of companies offering huge savings. But exactly how much can you save by switching?

You might be considering Nationwide or Sentry for your next policy, but which carrier will save you the most?

Nationwide Sentry

As you can see, Nationwide is around $25 a month less expensive than Sentry when looking at the national average rates for insurance.

But that doesn't necessarily mean Nationwide will be the cheaper option for every single driver. Car insurance carriers vary their premiums depending on things like where you live, how good your credit score is, how clean your driving record is, how old you are, and a ton of other factors. So, at the end of the day, prices from every company will differ quite a bit from person to person.

So, if you want to find out which of Nationwide or Sentry is really the best for you, keep reading to see average rates for each carrier broken down by lots of different rate factors.

Nationwide vs. Sentry: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Nationwide Sentry

Nationwide and Sentry only compete against each other in two states, with Nationwide offering more affordable premiums to the average driver in all of them. Washington has the most noticable difference, where Nationwide prices are $93 less expensive than auto insurance rates at Sentry.

That being said, there's a lot more that goes into your insurance cost than just your home state. Read on to find out more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Nationwide Sentry
18-year-old drivers$380$397
25-year-old drivers$148$186

Young drivers -- especially teens -- typically pay a lot for car insurance compared to older drivers. It's usually because teen drivers are statistically much more likely to cause collisions and other accidents that will result in an insurance claim.

However, that doesn't mean that teen drivers have to just accept sky-high auto insurance premiums. As you can see above, teens who use Nationwide save over 4% per month compared to those who use Sentry. It's worth noting that Nationwide offers car insurance in 34 different states compared to Sentry's two, which can skew the average prices a bit, but the difference here is still considerable.

That being said, with both companies, you'll see your premiums drop significantly by the time drivers turn 25. For example, average prices for Nationwide policyholders decrease about $250 and Sentry's rates lower around $200 over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Nationwide Sentry
65+-year-old drivers$125$148

Drivers around retirement age normally enjoy some of the most affordable insurance premiums you can find. After all, they've likely been driving for quite some time, which generally lowers their chances of collisions and other infractions that can raise prices.

So, which company offers the best rates to retired drivers? Nationwide gets the edge, with premiums for drivers 65 and older $23 more affordable than the national average for Sentry.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Nationwide Sentry

You may not be aware, but car insurance rates tend to be less expensive for married policyholders than they are for single drivers. This usually boils down to married drivers having more than one vehicle on their policy -- something a lot of insurance carriers will reward with discounts.

For single policyholders, the difference in average prices between these two companies is significant, with Nationwide rates coming in at about 10% less than Sentry's. The advantage for married couples with Nationwide is also obvious, where drivers save more than $25 a month.

Nationwide or Sentry: Average Rates by Gender

Nationwide Sentry

Men are statistically more likely than women to get into accidents and file an insurance claim. That means when it comes to auto insurance men will typically end up paying a little more.

Men usually pay around 7% more per month than women with Nationwide, but with Sentry, the difference is closer to 10% a month.

When it comes to the cheapest prices for each gender, Nationwide comes out on top for both men and women, with average premiums 14% less for men and 11% cheaper for women.

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Nationwide vs. Sentry: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

Nationwide Sentry
State Minimum*$112$104
Full Coverage**$229$286

*State minimum value indicates liability-only policies at each state's minimum bodily injury and property damage (BI/PD) limits

**Full coverage indicates state minimum BI/PD limits with collision and comprehensive coverages added to policy.

For most people, insurance isn't the easiest topic to understand. There are so many different terms and limits that it can make it pretty confusing to find the right policy for you.

The two most common policies end up falling into two different types of coverage -- liability coverage (that covers property damage and bodily injury for other drivers if you cause a collision) and full coverage (which includes collision and comprehensive coverages that protect your own car, in addition to liability).

When it comes to state minimum liability insurance, Sentry has the edge, while Nationwide offers the lowest average prices for full coverage policies with similar coverage limits. Policyholders looking for basic state minimum coverage can save around $10 with Sentry Insurance, while full coverage comes out to be about $55 cheaper with Nationwide.

Is Nationwide or Sentry Better for Drivers with Spotty Records?

It's no secret -- drivers with good records end up getting the best deals on their car insurance. But that's not to say you can't save money if you don't have the best driving record, either.

You'll probably end up paying more with collisions and speeding tickets on your record, but which of these two carriers offers the cheapest rates to drivers with less-than-ideal driving records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Nationwide Sentry
Clean Record$125$178
1 Speeding Ticket$149$203

Drivers who use Nationwide for their auto insurance can normally expect their monthly bill to go up around 16% after getting a speeding ticket. Sentry policyholders can expect a less drastic increase of about 12%.

Even so, Nationwide tends to offer the best prices for both drivers who have clean records and those with a recent ticket -- their rates are around 30% more affordable for drivers with clean records and 27% less expensive for those with a ticket.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Nationwide Sentry
Clean Record$125$178
1 At-Fault Accident$178$221

Nationwide policyholders who get in an accident can expect to see their premiums increase by just under $55, while those who have insurance through Sentry will see around a $45 increase.

At the end of the day, the cheaper rates come from Nationwide, with average prices coming in at $178 compared to Sentry Insurance's $221.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Nationwide Sentry
Clean Record$125$178
1 DUI$230$178

If you get a DUI charge, you can expect some pretty significant increases in your monthly car insurance bill -- generally a lot more than a collision or speeding ticket. Nationwide drivers usually see a 46% increase in their insurance premiums after a DUI charge, while Sentry will typically raise rates by about 0%.

Sentry has the overall most affordable premiums for drivers with a DUI on their records at $178 a month, but it's worth noting that Nationwide's average rates come from 34 states compared to just two for Sentry, so the data may be skewed slightly.

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How does Credit Score Impact Nationwide and Sentry Rates?

Did you know many auto insurance companies take your credit score into account when determining prices? This isn't true for everyone (for example, are two states that ban the practice entirely), but it will come into play for lots of drivers.

The reasoning car insurance carriers use is that policyholders with bad credit will be less likely to pay their bills on time; so normally, they'll be asked to pay more, while those with good credit will be rewarded with more affordable rates.

So, which carrier offers the lowest premiums for drivers with good, average, or poor credit?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Nationwide Sentry
Excellent Credit Score$133$172
Good Credit Score$153$185

If you have a great credit score, Nationwide will usually reward you the most. For policyholders with "excellent" credit scores, Nationwide comes in nearly 22.67 cheaper. Drivers with "good" credit scores generally save around 17% with Nationwide compared to average prices from Sentry.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Nationwide Sentry
Fair Credit Score$179$198
Poor Credit Score$215$225

Nationwide typically offers lower rates than Sentry when it comes to drivers with less-than-stellar credit. Drivers with "fair" credit pay about 10% per month less with Nationwide compared to Sentry, and those with "poor" scores normally save an average of around 4% per month.

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Is Nationwide or Sentry Better for Drivers who Work from Home or Have Short Commutes?

Nationwide Sentry
6,000 Annual Miles$170$195
12,000 Annual Miles$171$195

How much you drive can have a big impact on your monthly auto insurance bill. Usually, the more milage you put on your vehicle each year, the more you can expect to pay for coverage.

As you can see in the table above, annual mileage doesn't have much of an impact on how much Sentry charges. However, there's a small difference in monthly premiums for Nationwide, with drivers who put 6,000 miles on their car annually paying about $1 less each month compared to those who drive 12,000 miles yearly. Still, for drivers in both categories, Nationwide is the less expensive company.

Nationwide or Sentry: Compare Rates for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Drivers

Where you call home can have a substantial impact on your monthly insurance payment. Generally, if you live in an urban area with more cars on the road, you'll pay a little more for car insurance, while the opposite is true for people in rural areas.

Nationwide Sentry
Urban Areas$199$224
Suburban Areas$159$218
Rural Areas$151$143

When comparing these two companies side-by-side, Nationwide typically comes out as the cheaper option for drivers in urban and suburban areas, while Sentry wins in rural areas.

Those in rural areas can expect to save around $8 with Sentry compared to Nationwide. People who live in suburban areas pay about $59 less with Nationwide compared to Sentry. For drivers in urban ZIP codes, Nationwide's average prices are around $25 less than Sentry Insurance.

Nationwide vs. Sentry Discounts

No matter why you might be in the market for a new auto insurance policy, you're always going to want to save as much money as you can, and the best way to do that is by taking advantage of as many insurance discounts as possible.

But where do you even start? With what seems like a million different discounts out there, it may be difficult to find all the ones you qualify for.

Luckily, we did the hard work for you and broke down all of the different discounts offered by both Nationwide and Sentry so that you can see which one can save you the most money each month.

Nationwide Sentry
Advance Quote Discount
Agency Transfer Discount 
Anti-Theft Discount 
Defensive Driver Discount
Distant Student Discount 
Driver Training Discount 
EFT Discount 
Employee Discount 
Good Driving Discount 
Good Student Discount 
Group Discount 
Homeowner Discount
Intra-Agency Transfer Discount 
Life Policy Discount 
Multi-Car Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount 
New Vehicle Discount 
Paid In Full Discount 
Paperless Discount 
Passive Restraint Discount 

Nationwide blows Sentry away when it comes to the sheer amount of discounts available, offering 17 more discounts than Sentry.

There are a couple discounts both carriers offer, but Nationwide also offers discounts for agency transfer, anti-theft, distant student, and more.

On the other hand, Sentry has a few proprietary discounts of their own like multi-car discounts and paid in full discounts.

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Final Thoughts: Is Nationwide or Sentry Best for You?

You've seen the effect certain variables have on your car insurance and the different discounts companies offer. But, at the end of the day, is Nationwide or Sentry the right company for you, your vehicle, and your wallet?

Nationwide might be best for you if....

  • You've received a ticket for speeding recently and don't want to see your rates rise.
  • You want the most robust protection via a "full coverage" policy.
  • You're of retirement age and want to take advantage of lower premiums.

Sentry might be best for you if...

  • Your driving record includes a DUI charge.
  • You're looking for the best prices on liability only coverage.
  • You live in a rural area.

Hopefully, this guide helps you get a better idea of the difference between Nationwide and Sentry. We also hope we've given you the information you need to make the best decision about your auto insurance.

At the end of the day, the best way to make sure you're getting the best deal on your insurance policy is to compare quotes from several carriers, not just Nationwide and Sentry. Luckily, sites like make it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your ZIP code below and get multiple free quotes from some of the best auto insurance companies in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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Nationwide vs. Sentry FAQs

Is Nationwide or Sentry cheaper?

Nationwide is the less expensive of the two carriers when looking at national average rates, with policies averaging $170 a month with Nationwide and $195 for Sentry. But that doesn't mean Nationwide will be the lowest company for everyone, since there are multiple different factors (things like gender, age, driving record, etc.) that play a role in how much you pay.

Who is better, Nationwide or Sentry?

Sadly, the answer truly is "it depends.". Neither carrier is "better" for everyone -- it all comes down to what your unique insurance profile looks like. For example, Nationwide is more affordable for drivers with excellent credit, while Sentry offers less expensive premiums for drivers with a recent DUI.

Why do Nationwide and Sentry offer me different rates?

Car insurance companies use quite a few different variables when calculating the rates they charge. Things such as where your home is, where you live, gender, age, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all be taken into consideration. Both Nationwide and Sentry use different formulas, so it's likely they'll offer different prices. The best way to determine which company is the most affordable for you is by comparing personalized quotes from a bunch of different carriers.

How do I know if Nationwide or Sentry is right for me?

The only way to find the auto insurance carrier that's right for you is by getting quotes from multiple companies and finding the one best suited for your individual budget. Luckily, makes it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your ZIP code and you'll get quotes from dozens of your local top insurance carriers for free. That way, you can guarantee you're getting the best rate. And maybe you'll find that the best company for you isn't Nationwide or Sentry at all, but another you hadn't even thought of!


All of the data referenced in this article has been gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. We analyzed more than 2.5 million rows of carrier-reported data to calculate the average rates referenced above. All rates are based on an insurance profile of a single-vehicle policy for a driver that owns a 2016 Honda Accord. For more information on how we calculate rates, please reference our data methodology.

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