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1920's newspaper headline
The days of yore: when auto insurance wasn't something everyone had
posted in: Heritage
by Christy McFarland

The 1920’s: A walk down memory lane

Imagine this.

You’re at soccer practice minding your own business contemplating chicken nuggets or pizza for dinner, then it happens. Billy’s mom hits your van in the parking lot. Luckily today, auto insurance is widely available (and in many states, required). So, you submit your claim and insurance takes it the rest of the way. You go on with your life barely skipping a beat.  

It’s hard to imagine a world without auto insurance and the peace of mind that comes with it (says the insurance company). But take a walk down memory lane with us for a minute. 

The year was 1926…

Bread cost 12 cents and gas was only 18 cents a gallon. More than 9,000,000 cars were registered in the United States. Yet auto insurance still wasn’t widely available.

Our COUNTRY Financial Family of Companies, specifically the Illinois Agricultural Mutual Insurance Company, wanted to get a pulse of who would be interested in auto insurance. They asked and people responded. Hundreds and hundreds of people, in fact. 

1920's prospect list

A list of people showing interest in auto insurance, 1926. 

It didn’t take long for our company to take it to the board, who ended up voting unanimously in favor of offering auto insurance.

On April 1, 1927, our Illinois Agricultural Mutual Insurance Company started offering auto insurance and issued 3,000 auto policies right away. 

First COUNTRY Financial auto policy

Our first issued auto policy from April 1, 1927.

And get this, $1 increased your liability coverage by
$10,000 per person (that’s the cost of 8 loaves of bread if you prefer counting in food). 

1927 insurance letter

A letter from 1927 showing how $1 got policy holders an additional $10,000 in liability coverage on their auto policy. 

Flash forward to 2016. There are 261.8 million registered vehicles in the United States[1]. A loaf of bread goes for $1.98 and gas prices average $2.20 a gallon. While we can’t do much about today’s gas prices, we can continue doing what we do best – protecting what matters most for people just like you.


[1] United States vehicle ownership data, automobile statistics and trends. (2016). Retrieved November 1, 2016, from Hedges &
Company at

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