The three numbers in your car insurance policy are referred to as split limits. Each number represents the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for a specific part of your liability coverage, so a 100/300/100 policy means bodily injury liability limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, and property damage liability limits of $100,000.
Those numbers basically represent how much your car insurance company is willing to pay out to the other driver in the event of an at-fault accident.
Remember that a car insurance policy is made up of other types of coverage in addition to liability, so the 100/300/100 number doesn’t tell you anything about the other parts of your policy, like your PIP coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, or comprehensive and collision coverages.
What does 100/300/100 mean on an insurance policy?
When you see 100/300/100 in reference to car insurance, it just means that’s how much your policy will cover if you’re responsible for an accident. The first two numbers, in this case 100/300, represent your bodily injury liability coverage limits. The third number, in this case 100, represents your property damage liability coverage limit.
Bodily injury liability coverage
The first two numbers in your split limit policy are your bodily injury liability coverage limits. The first number represents your bodily injury liability limits per person and the second number represents your bodily injury coverage per accident.
In a 100/300/100 liability policy, you would have $100,000 in coverage per person and $300,000 per accident. This means that if you hit someone else’s car and injure four people, your insurance company will pay up to $300,000 toward their total medical bills, with a limit of up to $100,000 per person.
If one of those passengers has $150,000 in medical expenses associated with the accident, your insurance company would pay $100,000 and you would be responsible for the other $50,000 out-of-pocket.
Property damage liability coverage
The third number in a split limit policy represents your property damage liability coverage limit. Property damage pays for damage you cause to another person’s property, up to the limits of your policy.
Property damage liability insurance covers a wide variety of property damage, which means you are covered for things like hitting another car on the highway, driving through someone’s fence, or knocking over your neighbor’s mailbox. With a 100/300/100 liability policy, you would have up to $100,000 in property damage coverage per accident.
Why is 100/300/100 better than 25/50/25?
Your liability coverage only pays up to the limits of your policy, so someone who has $25,000 in property damage liability insurance and causes $42,000 in damage to someone else’s property will be expected to pay the additional $17,000 out-of-pocket.
Higher levels of insurance provide better, more robust financial protection in the event of an accident, which is why experts generally recommend setting your car insurance liability limits at 100/300/100.
What is recommended for car insurance coverage?
Most drivers, especially those who are financing their vehicle, should purchase full coverage insurance, which just refers to a car insurance policy that includes:
Liability coverage is what pays for any damage you cause to someone else in an at-fault accident, up to the limits of your policy. Almost every state has a minimum required level of liability insurance, but those limits often aren’t enough, especially if you are in a serious accident. Drivers who can afford it should have at least 100/300/100 in liability coverage.
Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your own vehicle that is not caused by a collision. Comprehensive insurance covers things like vandalism, fire and explosions, falling objects, weather-related damage, glass damage, damage caused by an animal, and theft. Comprehensive coverage usually comes with a deductible, from as little as $0 or $50 to as much as $1,000, or possibly more. If you are financing your vehicle you may be required by your lender to have comprehensive coverage.
Collision coverage pays for damage to your own vehicle in an accident, no matter who is at fault. Collision coverage pays for damage if you hit (or are hit by) another driver, as well as if you hit a stationary object like a fence post or a tree. If you are financing your vehicle you may be required by your lender to have collision coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your medical expenses if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, up to the limits of your policy. This coverage is typically set to match your liability levels, which means the more liability coverage you buy, the more uninsured motorist coverage you can buy.
There are other types of coverage that may be beneficial to include in your full coverage policy, including gap coverage, roadside assistance, PIP, MedPay, and towing and labor. An insurance expert can help you figure out exactly what coverage you need to protect yourself financially.
How much liability insurance do I need?
All drivers are required by law to have at least the state minimum level of liability coverage, but this often isn’t enough to protect you financially in case of a serious accident.
Policygenius recommends drivers purchase a minimum of 100/300/100 liability coverage to pay for any serious damage in an at-fault accident.
For example, if you total someone’s brand new Range Rover, or worse, you cause an accident that sends a driver and their two passengers to the hospital, having a minimum of 100/300/100 in liability coverage will likely be enough to cover any costs associated with the accident. That said, there are two situations where 100/300/100 may not be an appropriate amount of coverage.
Drivers who have significant assets should purchase higher levels of coverage, like 250/500/250, to protect themselves financially. Any damages that go beyond the limits of your policy are still your responsibility, which means your home, your vehicles, and any other assets you have could be at risk if you are taken to court over an at-fault accident.
On the other end of the spectrum, drivers who can’t afford the premiums that come with a 100/300/100 insurance policy should still buy the highest level of coverage they can afford.
How much does 100/300 insurance cost?
Drivers in the U.S. pay an average of $1,822 for 100/300 coverage. Rates for full coverage with 100/300 levels of liability actually aren’t much more expensive than the same policy with 50/100 levels of liability.
In most cases, drivers may be able to double the amount of liability insurance they have for less than $100 per year, which is well worth it for the extra protection. Here are average rates for 50/100 coverage and 100/300 coverage at some of the top car insurance companies:
Full coverage (50/100)
Full coverage (100/300)
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 and 100/300
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.
Rates for overall average rate, rates by ZIP code, and cheapest companies determined using averages for single drivers age 30, 35, and 45. Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles per year.
Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of insurance costs. Your actual quotes may differ.