What Is Split-Limit Insurance? (2024)

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Jennifer PendellInsurance Writer

Jennifer Pendell is a personal finance expert. She specializes in breaking down dense subjects to make them easier for consumers to understand, with a particular interest in homeowners, renters, and auto insurance concepts. She studied at the University of Iowa.

Jackie Cohen
Edited byJackie Cohen
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Jackie CohenEditorial Manager

Jackie Cohen is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in property & casualty insurance educational content. She has years of experience analyzing insurance trends and helping consumers better understand their insurance coverage to make informed decisions about their finances.

Jackie's work has been cited in USA Today, The Balance, and The Washington Times.

Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin Halachev
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Konstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
  • 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 June 15, 2022 at 12:00 PM PDT

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If you’re in the market for auto insurance coverage, you’re probably hearing a lot of talk about split-limit liability insurance and single-limit liability coverage. Both can be viable options for drivers, but it’s important to understand the difference. Use our guide to split-limit coverage to figure out which is best for you.

Ready to explore policies? Car insurance quote comparison is one of the best ways to save money. Compare quotes to find the best rates on the market and the policy that fits you best.

Quick Facts
  • A split limit refers to the dollar amounts your auto insurance company will pay out for different parts of a liability claim.

  • The policy covers three types of claims: bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage per accident.

  • Premiums can be lower with a split-limit auto insurance policy because the coverage is lower.

What is a split-limit insurance policy?

What does split limit mean?

A split limit refers to the maximum amount an insurer will pay out for different elements of a car insurance claim.

Buying a split-limit automobile insurance policy is all about understanding liability. Every state mandates a different amount of liability coverage, but as long as you meet the minimum requirement, you can choose how much liability coverage or what type of coverage you buy.

Split-limit insurance (and its counterpart, single-limit insurance) is about the total amount your insurer will pay toward personal injury and property damage claims after you’re involved in an at-fault accident. A split-limit policy breaks out that total amount into three areas of liability: bodily injury per person and per accident, plus property damage per accident.

Understanding each type of liability

A standard split-limit policy covers three types of liability:

  • Bodily injury liability per person pays up to a certain amount to each of the injured persons who were hurt in an accident you caused.

  • Bodily injury liability per accident is the maximum the policyholder’s insurance company will pay to everyone hurt in an auto accident.

  • Property damage liability per accident covers property damaged in the accident, such as other people’s vehicles.

Split-limit liability coverage is often broken down as a 100/300/50 split. That means $100,000 for injury claims per person, $300,000 for bodily injury coverage for the entire accident, and $50,000 for property damage.

What happens if one person has injuries that exceed the maximum amount for injury claims per person? The policy will only pay out up to the per-person limit, even if no one else was hurt in the accident. The policy will only pay out the maximum for injuries if three people each have $100,000 in medical claims.

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Split limit vs. combined single limit

The opposite of a split-limit policy is a combined single-limit (CSL) policy. A CSL policy limits the potential payout for all parts of a claim to one single dollar amount — for example, $300,000. That amount of coverage could go to $300,000 in medical bills for one person, $100,000 each for three people, or smaller amounts for even more.

Why do this? It can eliminate confusion after an accident and protect you in cases where things like medical expenses exceed the limits of a standard split-limit policy. It can also eliminate the need for an umbrella policy, but it’s smart to compare the two since a single-limit policy can be more expensive.

Combined single limit vs. umbrella insurance

If you’re torn between a combined single-limit policy and umbrella insurance, start by considering which assets would be exposed if someone sues you after an accident. Consider having a professional evaluate your risk exposure and advise you on what type of insurance you need.

An umbrella liability policy is broader than both a split limit and a combined single-limit policy. It’s extra liability insurance coverage that goes beyond your auto or homeowners insurance and provides you with extra security.

This could come in handy if you’re held liable for a very expensive accident involving multiple cars; even a standard $300,000 combined single-limit policy would barely make a dent if your liability is in the millions.

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Make sure you have the right coverage

Choosing the right policy starts with understanding the differences between what’s out there. Split-limit policies can be more affordable, but combined single-limit policies may offer more protection.

Take the next step with car insurance comparison, the easiest and best way to find good rates on any kind of car insurance.

Split-limit insurance FAQs

  • What should you do if a split-limit policy doesn’t have enough coverage?

    Combined single limit and umbrella policies offer more protection. Compare the limits for different types of liability to understand the differences.

  • How do you find out what type of policy you currently have?

    The limits of your insurance policy should be located on the declarations page, which summarizes all the essential information about your policy.

  • Is a split-limit policy good enough to protect you?

    Split-limit liability policies can be purchased with high limits, which would provide more protection than a policy that just meets your state’s minimum requirements. Ask an insurance agent what the options for limits are.

  • How do you know what limits you need?

    Consider what your personal needs and financial obligations are. If you cause an accident and can’t fully compensate people for property damage and bodily injury, they can file a lawsuit against you, regardless of what kind of policy you have.

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Jennifer Pendell
Jennifer PendellInsurance Writer

Jennifer Pendell is a personal finance expert. She specializes in breaking down dense subjects to make them easier for consumers to understand, with a particular interest in homeowners, renters, and auto insurance concepts. She studied at the University of Iowa.

Jackie Cohen
Edited byJackie CohenEditorial Manager
Photo of an Insurify author
Jackie CohenEditorial Manager

Jackie Cohen is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in property & casualty insurance educational content. She has years of experience analyzing insurance trends and helping consumers better understand their insurance coverage to make informed decisions about their finances.

Jackie's work has been cited in USA Today, The Balance, and The Washington Times.

Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
  • 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

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