Tuesday Open Line

Car insurance is both required and a major item in the budget of most households. The idea of insuring cars against accidents began this month 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 $5,000 in coverage. Martin was chiefly concerned about accidents between his automobile — one of less than 4,000 in the entire country at the time — and horses, which numbered about 18 million. Now, cars and trucks vastly outnumber horses, and there are nearly 14,000 property and casualty insurance firms. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <www.census.gov>.