This Week Marks 105th Birthday of Automobile Coverage

February 2, 2004

Today, automobile insurance is both required and a major item in the budget of most households. The idea of insuring cars against accidents began this week in 1898, when the Traveler’s Insurance Company issued a policy to Dr. Truman Martin of Buffalo. His policy cost $12.25 and gave him $500 in coverage. Martin was chiefly concerned about accidents between his automobile–one of only 4,000 in the entire country–and horses, which numbered about 20 million at the time. Today, cars and trucks outnumber horses 221 million to just under 2 million. The average car costs its owner about $700 a year to insure. You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau on the Web at

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