Every wondered about the history of car insurance? Well, in the late 1700s, two Maryland patriots and founding fathers, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer and Samuel Chase, met in a tearoom overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Energized by their recent Revolutionary War victory, these political dynamos came this close to planting the seeds of a new revolution: the car insurance revolution (well, horse-and-buggy, anyway). But how, you might ask, did they get so close … only to come up so short?

Well, after digging around the Esurance vault, we were delighted to find a detailed transcript of this seminal meeting. And, as luck would have it, the ink was still 100 percent legible!

Chase: Good day, Jenifer! Apologies for my tardiness. I’ve just come from Georgetown.

Jenifer: And what news have you regarding the men there?

Chase: Well, we’re strong in the middle, but we desperately need more 3-point shooters.

Jenifer: Egad! Will nothing ever change?

Chase: Lard!

(Both men feverishly adjust their wigs to calm themselves. It appears to work.)

Jenifer: Tell me, Chase, why have you called this urgent meeting?

Chase: Yesterday, something deeply troubling happened to me as I was riding about.

Jenifer: Sweet Josephine’s mob cap, what was it?

Chase: My carriage was struck broadside by some half-brained blockhead!

Jenifer: Ghastly!

Chase: Yes, well, you can bet I gave this degenerate one powerful tongue-lashing. But do you know what he did? Simply held the middle digit of his hand toward the sky.

Jenifer: Must be tuberculosis. Poor soul, it’s taken over his movements like a soothsayer’s spell.

Chase: And when I tried to respond, this vagabond galloped away from the scene without so much as an apology. I gave meager chase, but was unable to cop him.

Jenifer: Lard!

(Both rip off their wigs and jump up and down on them to calm themselves. It appears to work.)

Chase: Since then, I’ve been thinking, Jenifer. My buggy will require copious repairs. Is it right that I should have to pay for them?

Jenifer: It is few that have the fortune to mend such a wreckage.

Chase: My point exactly. And I run this same risk every time I pull my horses out of the carriage house. To that end, wouldn’t it behoove us to have someone, some institution, that could share this burden of risk and help compensate us after driving blunders?

Jenifer: Forgive me, old friend, but … huh?

(Chase takes out a piece of paper.)

Chase: Perhaps this will clarify.Do you remember that declaration of independence I signed not long ago?

Jenifer: Vaguely … what was it called, again?

Chase: No matter. The point is, I represented Maryland’s strength and refusal to incur unjust fees once, and I’m prepared to do it again! Listen.

(He places monocles to his eyes and begins reading in a deep voice.)

We hold these truths to be self-evident  —  that all buggies are driven by equine. That they are endowed by their manufacturer with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of windshield replacement  ….

(He suddenly becomes distracted watching Jenifer eat.)

Chase: Say, Jenifer, what is that odd-looking thing you’re devouring?

Jenifer: Why, it’s a blue crab. Pulled right from the bay this morning.

Chase: A blue crab? You — you can eat those?

Jenifer: But of course. You see, under these shells lies a bounty of savory meat. As chance would have it, I was thinking about starting a business with these. Some sort of restaurantorium in which we would serve these crabs along with other delicacies of the sea.

(Chase thinks for a moment. He tastes some crab.)

Chase: Sweet Paul Revere’s diaphragm, that’s delectable! To think I’ve just been using them as paperweights and monocle cases … yours is a much better idea.

(He crumples his paper into a ball and throws it away.)

Chase: We must alert the Maryland Gazette anon!

(They clink their tea cups together.)

Jenifer: Huzzah!

Chase: Huzzah!

(They each take out their telegraphs and order new wigs in celebration.)

Read on to find out more about car insurance in Maryland (it did finally get there), including which coverages today’s drivers in The Free State must carry.

Happy April Fools’ Day!

Insurance 101 | Car insurance 101


about Alex

As copywriter for Esurance, Alex had professional experience in everything from film to literature to (thanklessly!) correcting the grammar in friends' emails. As a fervent Minnesota sports fan, he spends most of his non-writing time gently weeping into cereal bowls.