Chapter 3: Property and Casualty Insurance on Land, Sea, and Air | Article

History of Insurance—First Automobile Policy

In the late 1800s, Ohio was the center of automobile manufacturing. In fact, the first automobile policy was issued in Dayton in 1897. A Mr. Gilbert Loomis bought a policy from the Travelers Insurance Company. Travelers protected Mr. Loomis in the event his car killed or injured someone or damaged the property of others.

Gilbert Loomis built his own automobile in the late 1800s. It was said to look like a sleigh on wheels. Pedestrians and those traveling by horse and carriage were somewhat horrified by the contraption. So, Mr. Loomis decided he had better seek insurance protection. The Travelers Insurance Company (back then known as the Herman Lyman Agency) issued the policy. The cost was $7.50 for $1,000 of coverage, roughly $200 for $25,000 to $30,000 of coverage in today's dollars.

Gilbert went on to have a long career in the automobile industry. He designed and built cars for Pope Manufacturing and Speedwell Automobile Company. He later worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.

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