What Are Split Limits in Car Insurance? (2024)

A split-limit car insurance policy separates your liability coverage into three distinct parts, each with its own coverage limits.

Danny Smith
Written byDanny Smith
Photo of an Insurify author
Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

Featured in

media logo
Katie Powers
Edited byKatie Powers
Photo of an Insurify author
Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

Featured in

media logomedia logo
Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin Halachev
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

Updated March 12, 2024

Why you can trust Insurify: Comparing accurate insurance quotes should never put you at risk of spam. We earn an agent commission only if you buy a policy based on our quotes. Our editorial team follows a rigorous set of editorial standards and operates independently from our insurance partners. Learn more.

Split limits in car insurance are the different limits of liability that your insurer will pay in the event of a claim. They’re the most common type of car insurance policy and much more standard than combined single-limit policies. 

No matter what type of insurance you buy, always compare car insurance quotes before signing a policy.

Find Cheap Car Insurance

Liability insurance quotes start at $19 per month

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

What is split-limit insurance, and how does it work?

Split-limit car insurance is a policy that breaks the different types of liability coverage your policy has into separate limits. Most car insurance policies include bodily injury liability coverage per person and per accident, as well as property damage liability coverage per accident. Each of these coverages has its own limit on how much your insurer will pay.

For example, many states’ minimum liability policies have split limits of 25/50/25.[1] If you have a policy with these limits, it means your insurer will pay a maximum amount of $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and $25,000 in property damage liability per accident.

A combined single-limit (CSL) policy, on the other hand, has only one limit for all three types of liability coverage. For example, a split-limit policy with 25/50/25 limits would equal a single-limit policy with a limit of $100,000. The difference stems from how your insurance company applies the coverage.[2]

If you have a split-limit policy with 25/50/25 limits and get into an accident that results in $75,000 in bodily injury liability damages, you’d still have to pay $25,000 due to your policy’s limits. But if you were to get into the same accident with a combined single-limit policy, your coverage would be adequate since the type of liability insurance doesn’t dictate separate limits.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/4c9753bdbe/medical-payments.svg

    Bodily injury liability per person

    The first limit in a split-limit car insurance policy is for bodily injury liability coverage. Most states require you to buy at least $25,000 of this coverage, but you can purchase higher limits if you want more protection. Bodily injury liability covers medical bills and other accident-related expenses you cause to another driver and their passengers.[3]

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/169fdfde11/liability-coverage.svg

    Bodily injury liability per accident

    The second limit in a split-limit policy represents how much bodily injury liability coverage you have per accident. Many states require a minimum of $50,000 for this coverage, but you should consider purchasing more to avoid out-of-pocket costs in the event of an accident.

    For example, if you have an accident that injures another driver and their two passengers, the maximum amount your insurance will pay out is $50,000.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/7b43b14514/damage-from-aircraft.svg

    Property damage liability per accident

    The third and final limit in a split-limit policy is for property damage liability coverage per accident. Property damage liability covers the damages you cause to another person’s vehicle or property. 

    The standard minimum requirement for most states is $25,000 per accident, but again, you can and should carry higher liability limits if you want to avoid paying out of pocket for damages that exceed your coverage limits.

For Example

Imagine you have a split-limit policy with 100/200/50 limits. If you were to cause an accident that resulted in $215,000 in bodily injury damages and $60,000 in property damage, that leaves you on the hook for $25,000 in damages ($15,000 for bodily injury plus $10,000 for property).

Vehicle damage costs and medical bills can add up quickly. Consider your finances and what you could realistically afford to pay out of pocket when choosing your policy limits.

Split-limit insurance pros and cons

Before you buy a split-limit policy, consider the advantages and disadvantages as well as your finances and how often you drive your car.

Pros
  • More affordable premiums

  • Faster claims process

  • Customizable policy

Cons
  • Less flexibility in coverage

  • Can leave you on the hook for large damages

  • May need to carry extra coverage

Single-limit vs. split-limit coverage

A single-limit policy rolls all three liability coverage limits into one. So, a 25/50/25 split-limit liability policy would become a single-limit policy with $100,000 in coverage. Split-limit policies are more common, but single-limit policies offer more flexibility. Many drivers with split-limit policies also opt to carry collision and comprehensive coverage for further protection.

Split-limit policies are often much cheaper. If you can afford the higher premiums that come along with it, a combined single-limit policy could be worth your while.

Important Information

Single-limit policies aren’t legal everywhere. Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Utah are the only states that allow drivers to have single-limit policies. If you live in one of those states, it’s worth considering single-limit car insurance.

The following table shows the difference between what a single-limit and split-limit policy will pay in the same scenario. This example involves a split-limit policy of 100/200/50 and a single-limit policy of $350,000.

 Split-Limit PolicySingle-Limit Policy
Bodily injury to driver$75,000$75,000
Bodily injury to passenger 1$85,000$85,000
Bodily injury to passenger 2$60,000$60,000
Property damage$70,000$70,000
Total damages$290,000$290,000
Insurance pays$250,000 ($200,000+$50,000)$290,000
Your out-of-pocket costs$40,000$0

Find Car Insurance

Insurify partners with 100+ top insurers for real-time quotes

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

Split-limit vs. umbrella insurance

Split-limit insurance is very different from umbrella insurance. Split-limit insurance provides specific limits for the three types of auto liability coverage, while umbrella insurance provides a safety net far beyond the limits of most split-limit policies. But you may want to carry both.

An umbrella insurance policy acts as excess insurance when you sustain losses that exceed your primary insurance policy’s limits, whether it be home or auto insurance.

Most umbrella policies have at least $1 million in coverage, providing a deep safety net for your finances. For example, if you have a severe car accident that results in $500,000 in damages, well above most split-limit policy limits, your umbrella policy would cover the excess costs.

Split-limit insurance FAQs

Before you buy an auto insurance policy, think about whether a split-limit or single-limit policy makes more sense for you. The following information should help you make your decision.

  • What does a combined single limit mean in insurance?

    A combined single limit (CSL) in insurance means that your policy has one limit for all three liability coverages: bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage per accident. If you file a claim, your insurer will pay up to that limit, regardless of the type of damages. With split-limit policies, your insurer only pays up to each type of liability coverage’s limit.

  • What is a 50/100/25 split-limit policy?

    A 50/100/25 split-limit policy is a car insurance policy with $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person, $100,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and $25,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident. If you get into an accident that results in $120,000 of bodily injury damages and $30,000 of property damages, you’ll have to pay $25,000 out of pocket.

  • Is $500,000 CSL auto coverage too much?

    It depends. The average economic cost of a possible injury related to a vehicle accident was $24,000 in 2021, according to the National Safety Council. This increased to $40,000 for an evident injury, $155,000 for a disabling injury, and around $1.8 million for a death. It could make sense to purchase a sizable combined single-limit policy to protect your finances.

    Consider your finances and how you use your vehicle before deciding on your CSL policy’s coverage amount.

Sources

  1. Insurance Information Institute. "Automobile Financial Responsibility Laws By State."
  2. International Risk Management Institute, Inc. "Combined single limits."
  3. Insurance Information Institute. "Auto insurance basics—understanding your coverage."
Danny Smith
Danny Smith

Danny is a Brooklyn-based writer with a producer’s license for property and casualty insurance. A former editor at Insurify, he specializes in auto, home, and pet insurance. He works to translate his insurance expertise into digestible, easy-to-understand content for drivers, homeowners, and pet owners alike.

Katie Powers
Edited byKatie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
Photo of an Insurify author
Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

Featured in

media logomedia logo
Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

Compare Car Insurance Quotes Instantly

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

Latest Articles

View all