Founded in 1925, Erie Family Life Insurance has a long history and receives outstanding customer satisfaction marks. Since the company offers term, whole, and universal life insurance policies and riders, the insurer may be a suitable solution for customers looking for basic coverage, so long as you live in one of their coverage areas.
- Pros and Cons
- Key Takeaways
Received an A (Excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best
90% customer retention rate
Coverage amounts ranging from $10,000 to $10,000,000
Coverage is only available in 12 states and the District of Columbia
Unranked customer satisfaction from J.D. Power
Must contact insurance agents to enroll
Online quotes are not an option
- $2.5 billion in total operating revenue and $293.3 million in net income in 2020
- Network of 13,000 independent insurance agents
- The company also offers auto, home, and business insurance coverage
- Year Founded 1925
- Kinds of Plans Whole life, term life, universal life
- Number of Plans 4+
- Payment Options Undisclosed
- Official Website www.erieinsurance.com
Erie Family Life Insurance is the insurance arm of Erie Insurance, which also sells home, auto, and business insurance. The company offers term, whole, and universal life coverage and a long-term care rider to round out its coverage. The insurer boasts solid ratings for its financial stability and customer satisfaction performance.
We reviewed the coverage options, riders, ratings, and reputation of Erie Family Life Insurance to help you compare life insurance policy options.
Headquartered in Erie, Pennsylvania, Erie Family Life Insurance has almost six million policies in force within 12 states and the District of Columbia. The states where Erie Family Life Insurance operates are: IL, IN, KY, MD, NC, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WI, and WV.
Unfortunately, customers can not apply for coverage online. Instead, you must contact a local agent, but the company works with 13,000 independent insurance agents to offer its policies to customers.
Erie Family Life Insurance offers three different types of coverage: term, whole, and universal life. It’s unclear how many policies are offered, but it does appear you can customize your plan while working with one of their insurance agents.
Also, the company states you can purchase life insurance policies with an application only—and without taking a paramedical exam—as long as your coverage is $100,000 or less. However, you’ll likely have to answer some health-related questions as part of the underwriting process.
Erie Family Life Insurance is a publicly held company, not a mutual insurance company. In searching the website for Erie Family Life Insurance, we could not find any information about company dividend payouts to life insurance policyholders.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance provides coverage for a specified time period, usually between 10 and 30 years. Generally, you make premium payments for the length of the term, but if you pass away during that time, your beneficiaries will inherit a death benefit.
With Erie Family Life Insurance, you can choose a term of five, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. The insurer offers two life insurance plans: an easy-to-purchase option and a level term plan.
- Easy-to-Purchase Term: The company website does not disclose specific coverage amounts you can purchase with this policy or the level term plan. You should be able to discuss those details with an agent since the company states you can choose your coverage amount “when you buy term insurance.”
- Level Term Insurance: Erie Family Life Insurance also offers a level term insurance plan, which means the death benefit remains the same during the entire term. Your beneficiaries will inherit the same amount whether you pass away during year one or year 20 of a 20-year policy. Similarly, the premiums also do not change during the term.
You can select a term of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years virtually at any time, even 15 days after birth. And, you can choose to convert your term policy to a permanent whole life plan to keep the coverage for your entire life. Erie Family Life Insurance guarantees the conversion option regardless of your health, occupation, or hobbies. However, you do have to convert the policy during the level period or before age 70, whichever comes first.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance, a type of permanent life insurance, covers yourself and your loved ones for the rest of your life. Whole life insurance also carries a cash value component that grows over time.
Erie Family Life Insurance provides coverage amounts from $10,000 to $10 million. You can purchase this coverage from the day of birth (for your child) up to age 85. The company provides payment flexibility with six payment duration options to choose from, although the website doesn’t disclose what those duration options are.
The company’s whole life insurance also allows you to take cash advances on your death benefit without paying a fee if you become terminally ill.
If whole life insurance isn’t in your budget right now, it may make sense to purchase convertible term insurance to start and convert to whole life insurance later.
Universal Life Insurance
Universal life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. While whole life insurance offers fixed premiums and guaranteed cash value growth, universal life policies offer you more flexibility with premiums and death benefits.
Universal life coverage from Erie Family Life Insurance includes flexible payment options, although the insurer doesn't provide specifics with regard to their payment options. The plan also consists of a guaranteed level death benefit and guaranteed cash value.
You’ll also receive a guaranteed interest rate that serves as a “floor” for your cash-value account. In other words, your interest rate will never be lower than the guaranteed rate for your cash-value account.
Riders are additional benefits you can add to your policy to supplement your policy and round out your coverage. Many policyholders agree to pay the increased premium to customize their coverage to meet their family’s specific needs.
Only one rider is mentioned on the website for Erie Family Life Insurance.
Long-Term Care Rider
You can purchase the long-term care (LTC) accelerated death benefit rider as an add-on to a qualifying universal life or whole life insurance policy. The rider’s purpose is to give you early access to your death benefit to cover medical expenses should you require long-term care.
To qualify to receive a monthly distribution of 2%, 4%, or 8% of the death benefit, a licensed health professional must certify that you can’t perform two or more activities of daily living on your own. These activities include bathing, dressing, eating, getting in or out of bed, or using the bathroom.
Remember, any payments you receive to pay for long-term care are deducted from the death benefit you leave for your beneficiaries. It’s also worth noting that Erie’s long-term care coverage is not available in New York and the District of Columbia.
Customer Service: Phone and Email
You can contact the customer service department at Erie Family Life Insurance by calling (800) 458-0811 and choosing option three from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST. The company also has a contact page to initiate email support.
Unlike much of its competition, Erie Family Life Insurance doesn’t offer online chat support through its website. There is a “Start a Claim” link, but that page states it is for your “auto, home, or business insurance claim” and makes no mention of life insurance claims.
The insurer does have a useful life insurance calculator to help you determine how much coverage you might need to address your needs. The website also has a helpful FAQ page that answers many general life insurance questions but provides few specifics about its policies.
Customer Satisfaction: Excellent
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) operates a database that tracks consumer complaints about insurance companies. Every year, the NAIC publishes complaint ratios for each insurance company to illustrate the number of complaints a company receives relative to its market share.
Under the NAIC model, 1.0 is the median complaint ratio, which means scores above 1.0 are worse than average, and scores below that mark are better than average. In both 2019 and 2020, Erie Family Life Insurance received perfect complaint scores of 0.0 for its individual life customers. In 2018, its mark was 0.23, which is still better than the industry average for its size.
Erie Family Life Insurance doesn’t appear in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study, which tracks and ranks customer satisfaction performance of the top insurers nationwide.
The insurer also carries a customer retention rate of above 90% each year, according to the company website.
Financial Strength: A (Excellent)
AM Best is a credit rating agency that releases Financial Strength Ratings (FSRs) on insurance companies. The purpose of the rating is to inform consumers of an insurer’s financial strength and ability to pay for its ongoing obligations. As such, a strong rating from AM Best could indicate the company is in an excellent position to stay in business and cover its policyholders' claims and other financial responsibilities.
AM Best has issued an A (Excellent) rating for Erie Family Life Insurance based on its balance sheet strength, positive business profile, and adequate risk management.
Cancellation Policy: Free Look Period
Erie Family Life Insurance does not disclose their cancellation policy on their website, but they likely follow “free look” guidelines. Although free look laws vary by state, they generally provide at least 10 days for new policyholders to cancel their policy for a full refund without penalties.
By contrast, you won’t qualify for a refund of premiums paid if you fail to cancel your policy before the free look period ends.
Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you get cancellation policy details from an agent for any coverage you’re considering.
Price of Erie Family Life Insurance: Must Contact Agent
Erie Family Life Insurance doesn’t give pricing details or examples on its website. To receive quotes for term, whole life, or universal life coverage, you must contact a local independent agent who sells Erie Family Life Insurance policies. You can request a quote directly from the company’s homepage, or you can click on “Find an Agent” on its website.
Alternatively, you can call the company directly using the customer service number during business hours.
How Erie Family Life Insurance Compares to Other Life Insurance
Erie Family Life Insurance stands out for customer satisfaction, boasting a 90% retention rate and a near-perfect complaint record the past three years from the NAIC. But unlike many of its competitors, Erie Family Life Insurance only offers policies in 12 states and the District of Columbia.
Here’s how the company compares to another top-ranked insurance company we reviewed:
Erie Family Life Insurance vs. New York Life
We’re comparing Erie Family Life Insurance and New York Life as both companies feature many similarities including outstanding complaint trend scores with NAIC, strong financial strength ratings from AM Best, no online quotes or pricing samples, and policies sold through agents.
Of course, some critical differences also exist between the two companies:
- The New York Life website is more transparent and informative about the full suite of policies with more options.
- J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study ranks New York Life 6th, while Erie Family Life Insurance did not make the list of 23 life insurance providers.
- New York Life offers dividends while Erie Family Life Insurance does not appear to pay out dividends for its life insurance policyholders.
- New York Life also offers a broader selection of policies and riders while paying 1.8 billion in dividends to its policyholders in 2021.
New York Life performs well in many categories where Erie Family Life Insurance excels, such as customer satisfaction and financial strength, but the advantages of more policies and dividends make New York Life a better choice for most consumers.
Read our full New York Life Insurance review.
|Erie Family Life Insurance||New York Life|
|Market Share||Not Available||Third-largest in U.S., 5.7%|
|Number of Plans||4+||14|
|Online Quotes Available||No||No|
|Dividends for 2021||Not applicable||$1.8 Billion|
|AM Best Rating||A (Excellent)||A++ (Superior)|
|Complaints Trend||0.00 Excellent||0.16 Excellent|
Erie Family Life Insurance provides a smaller lineup of life insurance policies and riders that may be enough to fit your needs. If you’re looking for more personalized coverage, you may find more options elsewhere.
The company’s reach is small as they only operate in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Still, they’re good at what they do, as evidenced by their outstanding customer satisfaction record. If you simply need basic coverage, it may make sense to contact one of their independent agents.
All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company’s offerings, customer service, financial stability, cost, and more. For each company, we compared the life insurance products offered, as well as available features, and reported customer experiences. Visit our life insurance review methodology for the full breakdown of what we evaluated for over two dozen companies.
NAIC. "Complaint Index - Erie Family Life Ins Co." Accessed August 22, 2021.
J.D. Powers. "Life Insurance Customer Satisfaction Flatlines Despite Pandemic Fears, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed August 16, 2021.
AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Members of Erie Insurance Group and Erie Family Life Insurance Company." Accessed August 16, 2021.