Erie car insurance review: Coverage with a lot of extras

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Editors’ take: Erie Insurance values one-on-one interactions — and its high customer satisfaction ratings reflect that. But you’ll need to contact an agent for most needs, which could feel inconvenient if you prefer online service. Still, Erie car insurance policies come with a lot of extras that could save you money.


Erie auto insurance at a glance

Availability Available in 12 states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as in Washington, D.C.
J.D. Power customer satisfaction ratings Higher than average
Number of complaints in 2019 Fewer than usual complaints for an insurance company of its size, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
How to get an insurance quote Online or through an agent
How to submit a claim Contact your Erie agent or call Erie; auto glass claims can be submitted online

Pros

  • Ability to lock in your rate
  • Lots of insurance “extras” included in policy
  • High customer satisfaction

Cons

  • Only available in 12 states
  • Limited ability to manage your policy or claims online
  • Fewer-than-typical discount opportunities

What you need to know about Erie auto insurance

Founded in 1925, Pennsylvania-based Erie Insurance offers auto insurance in 12 states along the East Coast and in the Midwest, as well as in Washington, D.C. According to the company website, Erie values providing a “human touch” through its more than 12,000 agents. In addition to car insurance, Erie offers a range of coverage options, including for other vehicle types as well as homeowners, renters, life and business insurance.

Lots of insurance extras

Erie auto insurance policies come with several extras, including a waived auto glass repair deductible, a roadside and rentals bundle, locksmith services, personal item coverage, and even pet insurance in case your pet is injured in a car accident.  

Ability to lock in your rate

With the Erie Rate Lock feature (known as “Erie Rate Protect” in New York), your auto insurance rate won’t increase — even if you file a claim — unless you make a policy change, such as adding or removing a driver or vehicle or changing your address. Take note that Erie Rate Lock is not available in all states, and the rate lock period is limited to three years in Virginia.

High customer satisfaction

Erie’s number of customer complaints in 2019 was lower than usual for insurance companies of its size in the market, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

The company also scores high in customer satisfaction in J.D. Power studies. It was rated above average in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study and No. 2 in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study. In addition, it was rated No. 2 in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions and No. 3 in the North Central Region in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, which looks at customer satisfaction related to billing, claims, interaction, price and policy offerings.

Auto coverage offered by Erie

Erie Insurance’s coverage area might be limited, but its coverage options aren’t. Erie’s offerings include the following types of coverage:

  • Liability insurance
  • Collision insurance
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Rental car expense coverage (basic coverage included with comprehensive coverage in most states)
  • Roadside assistance
  • New car protection — If you total your new vehicle that’s up to two years old, Erie will replace it with a new vehicle of the latest model year. Note that this coverage isn’t available in North Carolina or New York.
  • Better car protection — If you total an older car, Erie will replace it with a vehicle that’s two years newer.
  • Ridesharing coverage — This coverage — available in some states — helps protect you if you use your vehicle to drive for a ridesharing company like Uber or Lyft.
  • Non-owned vehicle coverage — Erie offers coverage for cars, moving vans and trailers that you don’t own.
  • “First Accident Forgiveness” — After you’ve been an Erie customer for three years (in most states), Erie won’t charge you extra the first time you’re in an at-fault accident.
  • “Diminishing Deductible” — Your deductible will be reduced by $100 (up to $500) every year that you don’t file a claim. Keep in mind that eligibility varies by state — check with an insurance agent to see if you qualify.

Auto insurance discounts offered by Erie

Erie offers a limited number of common auto insurance discounts.

  • Reduced usage — Erie offers a reduced usage discount if you plan to store your vehicle for 90 consecutive days or more (not available in Kentucky).
  • Safety savings — Drivers receive discounts for having safety features like factory-installed airbags, anti-theft devices and anti-lock brakes in the vehicle (also not available in Kentucky).
  • Multi-car discount — You could qualify for a discount if you insure two or more cars with Erie.
  • Multi-policy discount — Discounts are available for customers who have an Erie life or home insurance policy along with Erie car insurance. Keep in mind that Erie life insurance policies aren’t available in New York.
  • Annual payment plan — You could save if you pay your premium in one lump sum.
  • Young drivers discount (not available in North Carolina) — Unmarried drivers under the age of 21 who live with their parents could be eligible for savings.

Common question: Does Erie offer accident forgiveness?

Erie Insurance offers first accident forgiveness. This means you won’t see a premium hike the first time you’re at fault in a car accident. But in most states, you’ll need to be an Erie customer for at least three years to qualify for accident forgiveness.

Common question: What does Erie cover?

Erie offers a range of auto insurance coverage options, including standard liability, comprehensive and collision coverage, as well as a bunch of extras and add-on options. And Erie’s coverage doesn’t stop with cars. The company also covers other vehicles, including motorcycles, RVs, boats, ATVs, classic cars, golf carts and snowmobiles. Erie’s nonvehicle coverage includes home (homeowners, renters, condo, mobile home and flood), life insurance and business insurance.

Not sure if Erie auto insurance is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

Here are two other insurers to consider if you think Erie might not be the best fit for your situation.

  • Esurance: This insurer could work for someone who prefers to manage their auto policy and claims entirely online or via a mobile app.
  • Geico: Geico may be a good choice if you’re looking for a wider range of discount options.

About the author: Joe Dyton has been a professional writer specializing in the real estate and insurance industries for 20 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Rider University. You can connect with Joe on his website, … Read more.