What are split limits in insurance?

A split limit policy breaks your liability coverage down into three parts: bodily injury coverage per person, bodily injury coverage per accident, and property damage per accident.

Rachael Brennan headshot

By

Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Published|4 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

A split limit liability policy is a car insurance policy that breaks your liability coverage down into three parts: your bodily injury liability limit per person, your bodily injury liability limit per accident, and your property damage liability coverage per accident.

Compare rates and shop affordable car insurance today

We don't sell your information to third parties.

Most car insurance policies are split liability policies, but not every policy offers the same amount of coverage. Drivers can choose as much or as little coverage as they like, ranging from the required state minimum levels of liability to full coverage with half a million dollars in bodily injury coverage per accident. 

Key takeaways

  • Split limits means your liability coverage is split into multiple parts and written with slashes, like 50/100/50, to show how your coverage breaks down.

  • On a split liability policy, bodily injury liability coverage is broken down into two parts: your coverage limit per person and your coverage limit per accident.

  • Property damage liability coverage on a split limit policy is a per accident benefit.

What does split limit liability mean?

Split liability means your liability coverage is broken down into multiple parts. A split limit policy that covers $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person, $100,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person, and $25,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident would be written 50/100/25.

Per person limit

The first number in a split limit policy, like the 50 in our 50/100/25 example, is your bodily injury limit per person. This means that the insurance company in this scenario will pay up to $50,000 in medical expenses per person injured in an at-fault accident.

Per accident limit

The second number in a split limit policy, like the 100 in our 50/100/25 example, is your bodily injury liability limit per accident. This means that the insurance company in this example will pay up to a total of $100,000 in medical expenses you cause in an at fault accident. 

Your property damage liability coverage, which is the third number in a split limit policy (25 in our example), is also a per accident benefit.

Example of split limit liability

Let’s say a driver who has 50/100/25 levels of liability insurance is at fault in an accident and injures three people. The first person has $32,000 in medical expenses, the second has $45,000 in medical expenses, and the third has $27,000 in medical expenses.

In this scenario, the insurance company would pay the full amount of the first two driver’s medical bills because the total comes to less than $50,000 per person and less than $100,000 total. 

The third driver also has less than $50,000 in medical bills, but the insurance company has already paid $77,000 toward medical expenses for the first two injured people, which means the insurance company will pay no more than $23,000 of the third person’s medical expenses, leaving the at-fault driver to pay the $5,000 balance on their own. 

Once the per person or per accident limit is met, the insured will be expected to pay out-of-pocket for any additional medical costs caused by the accident, which is why we recommend drivers carry a minimum of 100/300/100 in liability coverage.

Genius tip

Remember that liability coverage pays for damage you cause to other people and their property, so you are not covered by your own liability coverage. If you want coverage to protect yourself and your property if you are at fault in an accident you need to purchase additional insurance, usually referred to as a full coverage policy.

Rates for split limit policies

The vast majority of car insurance policies provide split limits for liability coverage, but liability isn’t the only type of car insurance available. Drivers may also need comprehensive insurance, collision insurance, gap coverage, PIP coverage, roadside assistance, or other types of coverage.

The chart below shows the average rates for split limit policies (both full coverage and liability only) by state.

State

Average annual cost for full coverage

Average annual cost for liability only

Alabama

$1,726

$611

Alaska

$1,345

$433

Arizona

$1,565

$640

Arkansas

$1,772

$524

California

$1,857

$601

Colorado

$1,751

$544

Connecticut

$1,790

$949

Delaware

$2,110

$988

District of Columbia

$1,796

$678

Florida

$2,914

$1,253

Georgia

$1,710

$817

Hawaii

$1,200

$424

Idaho

$1,109

$400

Illinois

$1,403

$558

Indiana

$1,219

$453

Iowa

$1,152

$317

Kansas

$1,604

$493

Kentucky

$2,158

$931

Louisiana

$2,906

$993

Maine

$1,147

$448

Maryland

$1,798

$898

Massachusetts

$1,614

$612

Michigan

$2,377

$888

Minnesota

$1,418

$547

Mississippi

$1,674

$543

Missouri

$1,568

$564

Montana

$1,888

$497

Nebraska

$1,735

$424

Nevada

$2,137

$958

New Hampshire

$1,224

$462

New Jersey

$2,259

$1,154

New Mexico

$1,480

$459

New York

$2,172

$974

North Carolina

$1,009

$423

North Dakota

$1,397

$406

Ohio

$1,038

$386

Oklahoma

$1,928

$496

Oregon

$1,461

$769

Pennsylvania

$1,605

$501

Rhode Island

$1,860

$868

South Carolina

$1,864

$779

South Dakota

$1,618

$339

Tennessee

$1,329

$460

Texas

$1,840

$643

Utah

$1,503

$672

Vermont

$1,124

$380

Virginia

$1,314

$570

Washington

$1,651

$619

West Virginia

$1,681

$626

Wisconsin

$1,062

$348

Wyoming

$1,398

$321

What is a combined single limit policy?

A combined single limit car insurance policy rolls all of the parts of your split limit policy into one total limit. For example, a split limit policy that is broken down into 50/100/25 would be the equivalent of a combined single limit policy with a $175,000 limit of liability coverage. 

A combined single limit policy has no limits on how your liability coverage can be used. For example, if you drive through the wall of a car dealership, damaging both the building and two new cars being displayed inside, you could easily cause $150,000 in damage. Someone with a split limit policy of 50/100/25 would only have $25,000 in property damage liability coverage, leaving them responsible for paying the rest of the expense out of pocket. But someone with a combined single limit policy of $175,000 would have enough coverage to pay for all the damage.

Compare rates and shop affordable car insurance today

We don't sell your information to third parties.

What is the difference between combined single limit and split limit coverage?

There are several differences between split limit and combined single limit policies. Both policies can offer the same dollar amount for your liability limits, but a split limit policy divides that amount up into multiple parts so the coverage is spread out across bodily injury and property damage claims.

A combined single limit policy has a maximum amount they will pay out in claims, but they don’t limit how you can use those funds, which means you have a lot more flexibility in how your liability claims can be paid.

Outside of that, one of the biggest differences is cost. Split limit policies are often significantly cheaper than combined single limit policies, which is one of the reasons why split limit policies are so much more popular than combined single limit policies.

Frequently asked questions

What is a split risk in insurance?

Split risk means exactly what it says, you are literally splitting a risk. For example, storing property in two different locations is splitting the risk of damage to that property. Split risk usually applies to workers compensation or commercial insurance, not a standard auto insurance policy.

What does it mean if the coverage limits are 250/500?

A policy of 250/500 means you have $250,000 in bodily injury coverage per person and $500,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident. Split limit policies also have a third number that indicates the maximum amount of property damage liability coverage you have per accident.

In the split limit coverage in personal auto policies, which limit indicates the maximum?

Each number in a split limit policy indicates a different maximum. The first number is the maximum amount of bodily injury coverage per person, the second is the maximum amount of bodily injury coverage per accident, and the third is the maximum amount of property damage coverage per accident.

How do I find out what type of car insurance policy I currently have?

The declaration page of your car insurance policy provides your coverage information, including the limits of your liability coverage. If your liability limits are broken into three parts, like 50/100/50, you have split limits. If your liability coverage is listed as a single dollar amount, like $250,000, you have a combined single limit policy.

Methodology

Policygenius has analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. 

For full coverage policies, the following coverage limits were used:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by the state or insurer.

Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles per year. Rates provided are a sample of insurance costs. Your actual quotes may differ.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Questions about this page? Email us at .