See car insurance quotes from our partners

We don't sell your information to third parties.

auto-home-phone-hero

What does 15/30/5 mean in car insurance?

A car insurance policy with 15/30/5 means it covers up to $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and up to $5,000 per accident for property damage liability.

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.

Car insurance liability coverage is usually written with slashes, called split limits. Each number represents the most your insurance company will pay for that specific part of your liability insurance. A 15/30/5 policy means you have $15,000 per person, up to $30,000 total per accident, in bodily injury coverage and $5,000 in property damage liability coverage.

Compare rates and shop affordable car insurance today

We don't sell your information to third parties.

Those numbers tell you how much your auto insurance company is willing to pay out to the other driver in the event of an at-fault accident. But having car insurance liability levels of 15/30/5 will leave you unprotected — it’s better than nothing, but most drivers need more coverage to be fully protected.

Key takeaways

  • Levels of 15/30/5 in car insurance means you have $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage and $5,000 in property damage liability coverage.

  • Liability coverage is the part of car insurance that pays for the injuries or damage you cause in an at-fault accident.

  • Drivers without enough insurance can be forced to pay for any costs their insurance didn’t cover, which is why 15/30/5 liability limits usually aren’t enough. 

  • California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are the only states with liability limits of 15/30/5, most other states have higher minimum requirements.

What does 15/30/5 mean on an insurance policy?

Bodily injury liability coverage pays for injuries and medical expenses to other people in an at-fault accident. When you see 15/30/5 on a car insurance policy, that means that the first number (15) represents a $15,000 bodily injury liability limit per person. The second number (30) represents a $30,000 overall bodily injury liability limit per accident.

Property damage liability coverage pays for damage you cause to someone else’s property, like their car or their house, in an at-fault accident. The third number (5) represents a $5,000 property damage liability coverage limit per accident.

→ Learn more about liability vs. full coverage insurance

Why is 100/300/100 better than 15/30/5?

In most cases, 15/30/5 insurance isn’t enough coverage, and it’s better to have higher levels of liability coverage. You will be held financially responsible for the damage if you are at fault in an accident, which means drivers who don’t have enough insurance to fully cover an accident will be required to pay out-of-pocket for any costs that exceed their liability limits.

Drivers without enough liability insurance can be taken to court and forced to pay for any costs their insurance didn’t cover, potentially even having their assets (like their home, car, or savings) at risk, which is why experts usually recommend liability limits of 100/300/100 or more.

How much liability insurance do I need?

Legally, you are only required to buy the minimum required level of coverage set by your state. But if you are at-fault in an accident, you will be held liable for all the damage you caused, and the state minimums might not be enough to cover those costs. 

It is possible to cause tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage in a car accident, which means drivers who don’t have enough coverage will be expected to pay any costs beyond their insurance limits out-of-pocket.

Because of this, Policygenius recommends drivers purchase a minimum of 100/300/100 liability coverage to make sure you are covered for any serious damage in an at-fault accident.

If you can’t afford to buy 100/300/100 levels of coverage, you should purchase the highest level of coverage you can reasonably afford. 

And liability isn’t the only type of coverage that makes up a car insurance policy. You may want (or be required to have) other types of coverage, like comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist coverage, or gap coverage

→ Learn more about how much car insurance you need

Does 15/30/5 meet my state minimum insurance requirements?

There are only three states (California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) where 15/30/5 meets the minimum insurance requirements. In every other state that requires car insurance, you’ll need more than 15/30/5 levels of car insurance coverage.

State

Required levels of coverage

Average annual cost for liability-only

Alabama

25/50/25

$611

Alaska

50/100/25

$433

Arizona

25/50/15

$640

Arkansas

25/50/25

$524

California

15/30/5

$601

Colorado

25/50/15

$544

Connecticut

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$949

Delaware

25/50/10, PIP 15/30

$988

Florida

2550/10, UM25/50/5

$678

Georgia

PIP 10, PD 10

$1,253

Hawaii

25/50/25

$817

Idaho

20/40/10, PIP 10

$424

Illinois

25/50/15

$400

Indiana

25/50/20, UM 25/50

$558

Iowa

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$453

Kansas

20/40/15

$317

Kentucky

25/50/25, PIP 4.5, UM 25/50

$493

Louisiana

25/50/10, PIP 10, UM 25/50

$931

Maine

15/30/25

$993

Maryland

50/100/25, UM50/100, MedPay 2

$448

Massachusetts

30/60/15, UM 30/60/15

$898

Michigan

20/40/5, PIP 8, UM 20/40

$612

Minnesota

*50/100/10, PIP

$888

Mississippi

30/60/10, PIP 20/20, UM 25/50

$547

Missouri

25/50/25

$543

Montana

25/50/10, UM 25/50

$564

Nebraska

25/50/10

$497

Nevada

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$424

New Hampshire*

25/50/20, UM 25/50

$958

New Jersey

**25/50/25, PIP 1

$462

New Mexico

15/30/5, PIP 15/250

$1,154

New York

25/50/10

$459

North Carolina

25/50/10, PIP 50, UM 25/50

$974

North Dakota

30/60/25, UM 60

$423

Ohio

25/50/25, PIP 30, UM 25/50

$406

Oklahoma

25/50/25

$386

Oregon

25/50/25

$496

Pennsylvania

25/50/20, PIP 15, UM 25/50

$769

Rhode Island

15/30/5, PIP 5

$501

South Carolina

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$868

South Dakota

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$779

Tennessee

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$339

Texas

25/50/15

$460

Utah

30/60/25

$643

Vermont

25/65/15, PIP 3

$672

Virginia

25/50/10, UM 50/100/10

$380

Washington

*** 25/50/20, UM 25/50

$570

Washington D.C.

25/50/10

$619

West Virginia

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$626

Wisconsin

25/50/10, UM 25/50

$348

Wyoming

25/50/20

$321

* PIP levels are determined based on your health insurance

** Coverage in New Hampshire is legally optional

*** Coverage in Virginia is legally optional for a fee of $500

Most states have higher minimum rates than 15/30/5, largely because this level of car insurance is too low to cover damage caused by anything but minor car accidents.

Frequently asked questions

Is 15/30/5 enough insurance in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law requires drivers to have a minimum of 15/30/5 in liability insurance, but this isn’t enough to pay for anything beyond a minor accident. Only purchasing the minimum required coverage will leave you underinsured if you rear end a Mercedes or hit someone who needs to be taken away in an ambulance.

How do you know if an accident is your fault?

There are several ways to determine fault in an accident, including the location of the damage, tracking equipment, pictures, video footage from a dashcam or security cameras nearby, eyewitness statements, and police reports. After a car accident, the insurance companies of the drivers involved will figure out who was at fault.

Do you have to pay the excess if the accident is your fault?

Yes, if you are at fault in an accident you are held liable for all the costs associated with it. This is why buying the highest level of liability insurance you can afford is so important.

Methodology

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

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.

The rates provided were based on the minimum required liability only coverage by state.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. 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 .