The limitations of the minimum limits
Talking about minimum limits is inherently confusing because we really mean the minimum amount of maximum coverage that's legally required. Every state (except New Hampshire) has a 3-tiered system for their minimum liability coverage limits, a figure such as 25/50/25:
The first number (25) is the amount in thousands the at-fault driver's insurer will pay for injury-related expenses per person
The second number (50) is the total amount in thousands the insurer will pay for injury-related expenses per incident
The third number (25) is the amount in thousands the insurer will pay for property damage per incident
When purchasing your liability coverage, you're only obligated to meet your state's minimum limit requirements, which vary depending on the state. But the minimum limits may not provide the level of protection you need.
BI limits and the option to split limits
The conventional rule with BI is the same as with any insurance coverage: get as much as you can comfortably afford. After all, a $15,000 per-person limit could cover X-rays and pain medication, but what if a driver or passenger needs surgery and misses weeks of work? Because medical expenses and lost wages can add up quickly, that $15,000 limit might not be enough.
If you do opt for higher-than-required limits and you get in an at-fault accident that causes injuries to another person, you'll appreciate the enhanced protection higher limits can provide.
Let's say, for instance, you're a Texan who settles for the minimum liability limits of 30/60/25, which gives you only $25,000 in property damage protection. If you happen to ding your neighbor's new Bentley or knock a chunk off his newly remodeled kitchen, your property damage coverage may not go as far as you'd like. If the damage is $50,000, you'd be responsible for the other $25,000 out-of-pocket.
Combined single limit
In some states, you have the option of choosing a combined single limit rather than 3 separate limits. The single limit refers to the total amount, per incident, that your liability coverage can pay for medical expenses and property repair or replacement.
How to find the BI and PD liability limits that suit you best
Depending on your situation, the slight cost increase for higher car insurance limits can be well worth the peace of mind they provide.
If you need help figuring out what your limits should be, try our Coverage Counselor® or give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). We're available at these times.
Liability requirements in your state
Browse through our state fact sheets to find out how much (if any) liability coverage your state requires.
Medical payments coverage
Unlike liability, this coverage can help pay for your medical expenses after a crash.
Find out whether high deductibles are right for you
Get the pros and cons behind high car insurance deductibles.