4

I can't imagine how it works in a planned economy. Does the government replace your car if you crash it? Was there no sort of insurance?

  • 1
    Have you done any basic research on the economy of the Soviet Union? Wage labour, clearing consumer and production goods markets, loans of capital at interest and profit all existed continuously. What didn’t exist was private capitalists. But “the government” was not a singular entity: trusts and boards made capital decisions. Gosplan was barely more of a plan than Keynesian central bank money price planning – Samuel Russell Jan 31 at 23:12
11

Actually, there was a famous Soviet movie from 1966, Береги́сь автомоби́ля, whose plot centers around car insurance: The main character sells car insurance during the day and steals the insured cars at night and, after selling stolen cars, donates the proceeds to orphanages. (No, he is not crazy, he even has a document certifying his sanity.) The movie is quite good (great director and cast of actors), here it is on youtube.

Edit. On a more serious note, the following info is taken from the book "Плакат Госстраха", Moscow, 2012.

All insurance in USSR was done by a monopoly, Госстрах, established in 1921. According to the book, the first time (presumably, since 1920s) private cars in USSR were insured (by Госстрах) in 1946, specifically, 99 cars. The number went up to (approx) 1700 by 1949 and to 188500 by 1969.

Below are two Soviet ads for auto-insurance, from 1951 and 1967 respectively. Besides cute posters, the book (which is 359 page long) contains more details on personal insurance in the Soviet Union.

enter image description here

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
9

USSR did allow private property over personal-use items, which included cars and even houses or apartments. What was not allowed was private property over commercial or industrial assets ("means of production"), or private business (they turned a blind eye towards self-employed stuff like tutoring or handyman services)

There was personal insurance in Soviet Union. There was accident and life insurance (often with savings component to it), as well as insurance covering houses and cattle (critical for peasants).

Coverage for vehicle itself seems to have been introduced in the 1980's: Russian wiki
Same page implies there was mandatory coverage for passengers
But proper liability insurance was rolled out only after USSR was gone : Russian wiki

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    The vast majority of USSR history happened before the 1980's. So if it only got it in the 1980's, that's pretty darn close to a "no". – T.E.D. Jan 31 at 16:41
8

At USSR times, there was so called GosStrakh system (short form of Gosudarstvennoe Strakhovanie, aka Government Insurance). From 1946, it started car insurance program as well.

However, as any other insurance company, it had very contradictory reputation.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    +1, this looks like a good start for an answer. Can you expand it and add some links? Also, it looks like car insurance was already there in 1926, there's a magazine article from 1928 that mentions it – default locale Feb 1 at 9:53
4

Cars in the USSR were not government issued, unless they were company cars so to speak, just as in Western countries. You saved up for one, ordered one, and waited until it was delivered. Difference is that the number manufactured was planned, and independent of actual demand, so you would likely have to wait for 5-10 YEARS for delivery.

Jalopnik is an interesting read, and mentions nothing regarding insurance. Of course that may be an oversight by the author, but he does mention just going to the black market for spare parts or if your car got stolen, suggesting that insurance, even if it did exist, wasn't really useful (unsurprising, as the planned economy meant that the insurance couldn't simply issue you a replacement for a stolen or wrecked car, you'd have to wait another 10 years).

Marxist.org mentions "transportation insurance" being available from 1922 but doesn't explain what that entails. This is a transcript of a booklet about the USSR published in 1929 so doesn't really say anything about the later years of the USSR when cars were manufactured locally.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    You definitely didn't need to wait 5-10 years in Hungary (source: my in-laws owned a car back in those days). Maybe add a source that isn't Reagan's famous joke to back that assertion? – Denis de Bernardy Jan 31 at 10:40
  • 4
    @Denis de Bernardy I did live in Soviet Union and can confirm "10 year" waitlist for cars, or at least that's what my parents said. I do not think you had to pay until you picked it up. – Bald Bear Jan 31 at 15:54
  • 2
    @DenisdeBernardy Well, Hungary is perhaps another matter altogether, I have data for GDR, Romania and USSR and some imprecise Polish data (plus an impression of late 70s vastly 'improving' on that front — FFF would have been delighted over these deterrent conditions…). For GDR & USSR it was almost the entire time quite 'long' a wait (the +12months after early 60s only buffered by min buying power, mean car age 12 years in 70s). Then the 'bloc' was less blocky than often thought? – LаngLаngС Jan 31 at 21:31
  • 2
    @DenisdeBernardy you may believe my recollection, that the GDR, Hungary and even the Baltic states had quite different standards of living (in the better direction), compared to the "heart" of the USSR. My uncle had a car in the USSR without waiting, but he bought it from someone else, not from an "official dealer". 10 years or so were the "common" way, without "connections", extra money etc. – Dmitry Korolyov Feb 1 at 17:29
  • 2
    @BaldBear you didn't have to pay upfront (generally at least), you just had to have money, wait and hope "the people's" government wouldn't pass a "currency reform" at the time you were waiting. – Dmitry Korolyov Feb 1 at 17:35
1

Car insurance (and other private property insurance) existed, and was mandatory. The only difference in this respect with capitalist countries was that the insurance company belonged to the state, and there was no choice of insurance company, and no competition between them.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy