People hadn’t been driving cars for all that long before the need for car insurance became pretty clear. The world’s first car accident was recorded back in 1891 (and involved an unfortunate collision with a tree), although the earliest assembly lines from Ford didn’t start rolling out mass produced vehicles until 1903. Here’s a closer look at how insurance needs evolved right alongside the automobile itself.
The Early (Dangerous) Days
The first car insurance policy was written up in 1897, although people already understood the concept of insurance for many years prior to that. Although cars were becoming more popular, the idea of traffic signals and standardized driver training just hadn’t been considered yet. This every-which-way approach left every single driver on the road vulnerable, not only to accidents themselves but also to getting into accidents with other drivers.
Increasing Safety Measures
By 1930, about 110 people were killed every day in car accidents. Although more cars were showing up on the road, they were far from the only vehicles driving around. Drivers were typically untrained and untested. There weren’t any driving schools or licensing laws. In fact, the first licensing laws were not established until 1903, and then only in two states. Even with licensing laws, no tests were required. Instead, you simply walked into the local license office and paid the fee to get your license. Predictably, this continued lack of training did not make the roads any safer for anyone. Add to this the fact that roads were unpaved and still very poorly maintained, and it’s easy to see a pretty clear recipe for road safety disaster.
Finally, in 1927, Massachusetts became the first state to legally require drivers to carry some form of liability insurance, and the safety game began to get much more serious. By the 1940s, the majority of states had passed similar laws, right in accordance with the surge in mass automobile production (and ownership) that came hand in hand with the end of WWII.
Despite the fact that the country’s population has just about doubled in the decades since 1930, the number of fatalities per day from car accidents has only gone up to 114. That means that fatalities have decreased by over 10 percent, almost exactly in parallel with the increase in car insurance laws getting passed.
These days, car insurance quotes have become far more comprehensive. What used to be a simple handwritten contract has now evolved into a high-tech global industry, even offering policies entirely online for greater convenience. Car insurance quotes have continued fluctuating up or down in response to the changing needs of the average consumer’s driving habits, and policies continue innovating and improving for more comprehensive coverage. Although no one can say exactly what the future holds, it’s a sure bet that the car insurance industry will adapt accordingly.