If you're looking for basic protection for your home, Erie Insurance is undoubtedly one of the best homeowners insurance providers around. Its customers always seem happy and it enjoys a good reputation for its auto and life insurance offerings too. A well-established insurance provider covering 12 states, plus Washington D.C., in the North West of the country, Erie also attracts a below average number of state regulator complaints for a company of its size, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Erie's JD Power Home Insurance survey results are extremely positive too, with the five out of five it received for overall customer satisfaction putting it in an exclusive club headed by overall award winner Amica Mutual. That Erie’s 2019 results were improvements on its scores in previous years suggests it is a company where lessons have been learned and improvements made as well.
Erie operates through a large network of over 12,000 local agents, which is a high concentration given the company’s limited geographical scope.
Erie Insurance Homeowners Insurance review: Features
Information support: Reasonable online information hub, tackling subjects beyond basic insurance.
Customer support: Telephone and online support available. The company is also on social media.
Interface: Browser only.
- Great standard cover, including guaranteed replacement cost
- Decent add-ons
- Standard discounts
Erie claims to offer more comprehensive homeowners insurance than the “typical competitor”, and in many ways this statement does stand up to scrutiny. Its basic homeowners insurance, before add-ons, is among the best we’ve seen.
For example, Erie offers what it calls “guaranteed replacement cost”, which means it won’t subtract a wear and tear estimate from your payout, even if you have to rebuild your entire home. This isn’t available in all states though, so talk to an agent for more information.
In addition, its personal property cover has fewer exclusions than equivalent cover from many competitors, and its coverage for ‘hard to replace’ items (like property deeds and passports) is more comprehensive than most. What’s more, Erie’s basic policy will cover animals up to $500, a category overlooked by many competitors.
In summary, Erie does the basics very well, and it also offers a range of add-ons to suit your personal circumstances. For example, cover for water backup and sump overflow, earthquakes, floods and service line damage can all be added to the basic policy. This isn’t as comprehensive a list as, say, that from Allstate, but it will suit the needs of most customers.
Erie also offers discounts, though these are fairly standard. Savings are available for the installation of protective systems (sprinklers, fire and burglar alarms) and for bundling home and auto policies, as well as for getting a quote well in advance of your current policy expiring. There’s nothing unusual here, and Liberty Mutual is one provider that offers a far longer list of potential discounts.
Erie Insurance Homeowners Insurance review: Interface and usability
- Clean, functional website
- No mobile app
Erie’s website is nice to look at and functional, though it doesn’t offer the depth of resources of some competitors. You can use it to pay a bill, start a claim, find an agent and access a resource centre, which is really just a detailed Q&A on Erie’s policies. It does have a decent blog where you can find articles that go beyond basic insurance, but the websites of Allstate and State Farm are better in this regard.
Unusually, Erie doesn’t offer a mobile app to help homeowners insurance customers manage accounts or make claims. This is something of an oversight in an age when a customer may want to complete their financial chores on the train into work, or in a quiet moment between meetings.
Erie Insurance Homeowners Insurance review: Quality of product
- Strong financials
- Very satisfied customers
Erie is rated A+ (“superior”) for financial stability by A.M. Best, which makes it a reliable option.
On top of that, customers who took part in JD Power’s Home Insurance survey clearly think Erie is a very solid product. As well as five stars for overall customer satisfaction, the company hit top marks for policy offerings, price and interaction with the company. Its claims process was rated four out of five and its billing process and policy information three out of five.
These are impressive scores putting Erie among the best in the survey, and ahead of better known national rivals like Allstate, State Farm and Liberty Mutual. They also appear to show Erie on an upward curve. In 2018, the company received an overall customer satisfaction score of three out of five, so it has climbed from average to excellent in just 12 months. This may be evidence of the company listening to feedback and prioritising customer service and support.
Should you use Erie Insurance Homeowners Insurance?
The problem much of the country will have with Erie homeowners insurance is that it is simply not available. Erie’s limited geographical coverage means that many potential customers miss out on an excellent alternative to the sector leaders.
But within its area of operation, Erie clearly knows its market and serves it well. It has a large network of agents supporting a very good basic product. Decent add-ons and standard discounts make for an attractive package.
On the flipside, Erie’s website - though attractive and easy to navigate - can seem a little thin on resources, and the company has yet to release a mobile app that lets customers manage their accounts on the go.
But those customers don’t much seem to care. Product, price and support all score highly in the JD Power rankings, putting Erie Insurance up with the likes of Amica Mutual as one of the best homeowners insurance providers of 2019.