Erie Auto Insurance Review: Is It Worth It?

Stellar insurer that combines great auto insurance prices and customer service, but is only available in select states

Editor's Rating

5.0

Good for

  • Excellent value: great customer service and handling for low premiums in eastern states
  • Drivers who want steady rates can look into Erie's Rate Lock feature

Bad for

  • Drivers outside of the mid-Atlantic and midwest as Erie does not operate there
  • Drivers in NY, IN and WV, who may see Erie on the costlier end

Erie Auto Insurance Review: Is It Worth It?

Stellar insurer that combines great auto insurance prices and customer service, but is only available in select states

Good for

  • Excellent value: great customer service and handling for low premiums in eastern states
  • Drivers who want steady rates can look into Erie's Rate Lock feature

Bad for

  • Drivers outside of the mid-Atlantic and midwest as Erie does not operate there
  • Drivers in NY, IN and WV, who may see Erie on the costlier end

Editor's Rating

5.0

Erie Auto Insurance Review: Is It Worth It?

Editor's Rating

5.0

Good for

  • Excellent value: great customer service and handling for low premiums in eastern states
  • Drivers who want steady rates can look into Erie's Rate Lock feature

Bad for

  • Drivers outside of the mid-Atlantic and midwest as Erie does not operate there
  • Drivers in NY, IN and WV, who may see Erie on the costlier end

Find the Cheapest Insurance Quotes in Your Area

Currently Insured?

Erie is a rare auto insurer that combines affordability with great customer service. The company's biggest drawback is its limited geographical availability--policies are sold only in the mid-Atlantic and midwest. In this review we assess Erie auto insurance on its price, claims handling, coverage options, shopping experience and discounts offered.

In This Review

Erie Review: Great Price, Great Service, Great Value

Erie combines stellar price with stellar service--something that is often uncommon in the auto insurance industry. Very few companies will deliver the same value as we've found at Erie. Customers of the company commend its customer service, and are often content with the plethora of offered coverage. In the table below, you can see how Erie stacks up to other major competitors.

ProfileAllstateProgressiveState FarmGEICONationwideErie
30 Year Old Male, No Accident$1,570$1,260$1,327$1,112$1,346$977
20 Year Old Female, no accident$8,269$6,926$4,521$5,138$4,115$2,411
30 Year Old Male w/ Accident$2,491$1,605$1,788$1,904$2,389$1,383

The downside to Erie is its lack of availability to most drivers in the U.S. Currently you can only find Erie policies in 12 states, all concentrated in the mid-Atlantic and midwest. Erie's affordability will also vary between states. We found drivers will get the most value out of Erie in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. In the midwestern states in which it operates, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, there are actually more affordable options--we discuss more about geographical variation below.

Even if Erie ends up with a costlier quote for you, we would recommend you still consider an Erie policy if you can afford it. Your car plays an important role in your everyday life, and it may be worth having a company that will get you back to normalcy the fastest after an accident, even if it costs a bit extra.

To see our numerical rankings for Erie's auto insurance service and its competitors, look at the table below.

CompanyAffordabilityClaims SatisfactionCoverageShoppingDiscountsTotal
Erie5.05.05.05.04.05.0
Progressive5.03.04.05.05.04.0
State Farm4.02.05.05.05.03.5
GEICO5.03.04.05.04.04.0
Allstate2.04.05.04.05.03.0

Erie Auto Insurance Quote Comparison

Erie is one of the most affordable auto insurers in the country. We found a 30 year old male with no accidents can get a full coverage policy for less than $1,000 per year, making it either the first or second cheapest insurer in most of the cities and towns Erie operates in. Drivers in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania are the most likely to see Erie as the cheapest.

RankStateAvg. Rank of Affordability
1Maryland1.0
2Virginia1.7
3Pennsylvania1.8
4DC2.0
5New York2.1
6Indiana2.6
7West Virginia3.2
8Ohio6.8
9Tennessee8.7
10Illinois11.3

Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance Quotes in Your Area

Currently Insured?

Erie becomes a little bit more expensive in New York, Indiana and West Virginia. In Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois it is more middle of the road in terms of affordability. In all states, but especially those, we would recommend you get quotes from multiple companies to compare.

Erie's Car Insurance Rate Hikes

Auto insurers have been raising premiums at higher rates in the past five years than they had for the previous decade. While Erie is no exception, they have managed to keep rates more stable than the vast majority of the other large insurers. In every year since 2012, Erie has raised rates by a below average amount.

YearErieGEICOProgressiveState FarmAllstate
20121.4%2.2%4.5%1.1%2.7%
20130.8%2.6%0.7%2.4%1.6%
20140.6%2.9%2.0%2.8%2.8%
20150.6%5.2%0.4%2.3%3.9%
20163.0%3.0%2.3%5.1%5.9%

As we discuss in more detail below, Erie also has a "Rate Lock" coverage where returning customers will not see their rates increased unless they add a car or driver to their policy or change addresses.

Erie Claims Satisfaction Review

Erie is one of the few companies that combines great low-cost pricing with stellar claims handling. Respondents to the 2016 J.D. Power auto insurance study gave Erie 5/5 stars for its ability to see through the entire process of a claim, from appraisal to settlement. Other insures with comparable price, like GEICO and Progressive, score much lower.

CompanyInitial Claim ReportingServiceAppraisalRepairRental CarSettlement
Erie555445
GEICO333333
State Farm333323
Allstate333343

The national J.D. Power study showed the Hartford and USAA to slightly edge out Erie for the "best" claims handling, but the more local study of the Mid-Atlantic states showed Erie to be best in that geography. Conversely, the local study of Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin showed Erie to dip in quality--only getting 3/5 stars for claims handling in those states.

Complaints

NAIC complaint data supports that customers are generally happy with the service they receive at Erie. The company's closed complaint ratio was only 0.46, which is significantly less than the national median ratio of 1. In comparison, State Farm's ratio is nearly 3x the national median. Of the 118 complaints filed by customers with the NAIC, only 15 involved the claims process.

Erie Coverage Options

Erie has some of the most inclusive coverage options of any auto insurer. Beyond the necessities, Erie also has built in coverages that insure your pet up to $500 should they be injured in a car accident. Other optional coverages include protection for your personal items, rideshare coverage and locksmith services if you're locked out. The most notable (and unique) of Erie's coverages however is the Erie Rate Lock, which promises your rates won't go up for any circumstance other than adding another driver or car to your policy. You can see a summary of Erie's coverage below.

CoverageDoes Erie Have It?
Liability
Physical Damage
Uninsured Motorist

Roadside
Rideshare

Rental Reimbursement
Erie Rate Lock
Gap Insurance
Pet Damage
Locksmith Services
Personal Items Coverage
New Car Protection
Custom Parts and ReplacementX

Erie Rate Lock

Erie's Rate Lock is a guarantee to customers that their rates won't go up unless they add a new driver or vehicle to their policy or change addresses. So if you get into an accident, have a speeding ticket, your rates will stay the same. You will also be shielded from natural rate hikes which have plagued the auto insurance industry for the past few years. By our analysis, auto insurance rates have increased an average 22% over the last five years, so as a Rate Lock customer, you'll be spared of those hikes.

There are a few things to be aware of though. Any accidents or incidents you have incurred that have not been applied to your rate, will be applied when you when you add a new driver, new vehicle or address. The coverage also costs extra. How much you pay will ultimately depend on your driving profile. Considering how much more expensive rates can become after an accident or incident, we would say the extra cost is worth it.

Erie Auto Plus

Another coverage you can purchase at Erie provides you with diminishing deductibles, and an some extra limits on certain coverages depending on your state. In Pennsylvania for example you get an extra $10,000 for death benefits. It costs an extra $30 to add Erie Auto Plus. Over five years, you will spend $150 for the coverage, but if you remain claims free for that time, you can reduce your deductible up to $500 ($100 per year).

Buying an Erie Auto Policy

Though a small company, Erie's shopping process is as simple as buying one from Allstate or State Farm. You cannot buy your policy online, but you can start a quote and have it sent to an agent who can then sell you the policy in person or over the phone. If you do not feel like physically speaking to the agent, you have the option to have them text you to finalize your policy. If you prefer to go in person, Erie will give you the address of the nearest Erie agent while you fill out your application.

Erie lacks the tools provided by State Farm and Progressive which help you figure out how much coverage you need. Since you need to speak to an agent however, the absence of the tools is not too concerning. Your agent will best be able to guide you on how much coverage you need.

Auto Insurance Discounts at Erie

Erie offers all of the standard discounts that you will find at the largest insurance companies. Most will be applied automatically upon your purchase of a quote. Others, like the student away discount, you will have to request if your college aged son or daughter goes away for school. Not every discount will be available in every state, so be sure to clarify with your agent.

DiscountAmountDiscounted Coverage
Passive RestrainUp to 30%PIP/MedPay
Safe Driving Discount10%All Main Coverages
Multi-Car Policy15%All Main Coverages
Young Driver Accident Prevention Course5% to 20%Total Premium
Student Away Discount20%All Main Coverages
Youthful Driver Discount10 to 35%All Main Coverages
Age 55 or older5%All Main Coverages
Anti-TheftUp to 20%Comprehensive Insurance
Loyal Customer Discount1%Total Premium
Reduced Usage Discount30%Main Coverages except Comp
Multi-Policy Discount10%Total Premium

*Main Coverages include BI, PD, Coll, Comp, PIP/MedPay and UIM

Where is Erie Available?

Erie's biggest drawback is its limited availability. Currently you can only find Erie in 12 states plus Washington D.C. with all of them situated in the mid-Atlantic and midwestern states. As the company grows it is possible it will expand to more states, but for now only the following states sell Erie auto policies.

Map shows where Erie is available

Methodology

Our score for Erie was derived by our assessment of the company's affordability, claims handling, coverage, shopping experience and discounts. Affordability and claims handling were weighed out of 30 points, coverage out of 20 points, and shopping and discounts out of 10 points for a total of 100.

Sources

National Association of Insurance Commissioners
J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction
Erie.com

Comments and Questions