Auto Insurance: The Difference between Combined Single Limit (CSL) and Split Limits

Ever feel like car insurance is speaking a whole different language? You’re not alone! Terms like “combined single limit” and “split limits” can leave you scratching your head. But hey, don’t worry! This blog post is here to break it down for you, in plain English. We’ll clear up the confusion surrounding these important parts of your liability coverage, so you can feel confident making decisions that keep you protected on the road. To start, let’s get a quick understanding of liability coverage.

Understanding Liability Coverage

Before we delve into the specifics of CSL and Split Limits, let’s establish a common ground. Liability coverage protects you financially if you are found legally responsible for an accident, covering expenses like:

  • Medical bills for those injured in the accident
  • Lost wages of the injured parties
  • Repair or replacement costs of damaged property (vehicles, etc.)

What is Combined Single Limit (CSL)?

Think of a CSL policy as a single pool of coverage dedicated to covering all your liability expenses arising from a single accident. It doesn’t differentiate between bodily injury and property damage; it simply has a maximum payout limit.


Let’s say you have a CSL policy with a limit of $500,000. In an accident, you injure two people, each requiring $200,000 in medical care, and damage another car costing $100,000 to repair. The total claim amount would be $500,000 (200,000 + 200,000 + 100,000). Since your CSL limit is $500,000, your insurance would cover the entire cost.

Pros of CSL:

  • Simpler to understand and manage: No need to worry about separate limits for different types of damages.
  • Greater flexibility: The single limit can adapt to various combinations of injury and property damage claims, potentially offering more comprehensive coverage in certain scenarios.

Cons of CSL:

  • Potentially different coverage structure: Compared to Split Limits, CSL offers a different way to structure your coverage. Carefully consider your specific needs and risk profile when making a choice.

What are Split Limits?

Unlike CSL, Split Limits provide separate coverage limits for different categories of liability:

  • Bodily injury per person: This covers medical expenses and other damages for each individual injured in the accident.
  • Bodily injury per accident: This is the maximum payout for all injuries sustained in the accident, regardless of the number of people involved.
  • Property damage: This covers the cost of repairs or replacements for damaged property.


Imagine you have a Split Limits policy with limits of $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident, and $50,000 for property damage. Using the same accident scenario as the CSL example, the combined claims would again be $500,000. However, with Split Limits:

  • Bodily injury: Since each injured person’s claim exceeds the per-person limit ($100,000), your insurance would only cover $100,000 each, leaving you responsible for the remaining $100,000 (200,000 – 100,000) for each person.
  • Property damage: The claim amount ($100,000) falls within the limit, so your insurance would cover it fully.

Pros of Split Limits:

  • More customizable coverage: By customizing coverage levels, you can tailor the policy to your specific needs and potentially find a more budget-friendly option.

Cons of Split Limits:

  • More complex to understand: Requires careful consideration of individual limits and potential gaps in coverage.
  • Risk of exceeding limits: If the combined damages surpass the split limits, you could be responsible for significant out-of-pocket costs.

The Umbrella Advantage

Now that we’ve explored CSL and Split Limits, let’s talk about another layer of protection – umbrella insurance. Think of it as a safety net that kicks in after your auto insurance liability limits have been reached in a serious accident. It provides additional coverage for bodily injury and property damage, potentially shielding you from significant out-of-pocket costs.

What’s important to understand about Umbrella Insurance is that you may not need it if you hit a Honda Civic, but if you hit a school bus full of kids… you’ll be glad you had an Umbrella to back you up.

Here’s how umbrella insurance plays into each limit scenario:

  • CSL: While generally considered a more comprehensive option, a CSL policy typically requires a minimum limit of $300,000 to qualify for umbrella insurance coverage.
  • Split Limits: To qualify for umbrella insurance with Split Limits, the minimum recommended coverage is **$250,000/500,000/$100,000

Choosing the Right Coverage

The best choice between CSL and Split Limits depends on your individual circumstances and risk tolerance. Consider factors like:

  • Your assets: If you have significant assets to protect, a CSL might offer more peace of mind due to its broader coverage.
  • Your risk profile: If you drive infrequently or in low-risk areas, Split Limits might be a viable option for your needs.
  • Consulting an insurance professional: Discussing your needs and risk profile with a qualified insurance agent can help you determine the most suitable coverage option for you.
Sherry BermanSherry Berman
17:55 08 Dec 22
We just moved over to e3 with Chris Stone, 1 1/2 years ago. Our house flooded during snowmeggedon in Texas last February. The insurance companies were overwhelmed with phone calls from Texas. Our insurance company was not responding to us on a timely basis, and because of the supply chain shortage, we knew we needed to act quickly. Chris knew who to talk to at our insurance company, and was a total advocate for us and made sure that our needs were being taken care of. Our last insurance agent was the advocate for the insurance company, not us. Chris knows the business inside out. He guided us along the process of what to do. e3 represents many different insurance companies, which gives Chris the ability to guide you into the best policy that meets your needs. He explains the insurance lingo in layman terms, and makes sure that you and your family are protected. My husband and I totally trust Chris to give us the best policy with in our budget.
Andy BermanAndy Berman
21:56 07 Dec 22
e3 Insurance and Chris Stone are simply the best!! After experiencing a flood in our house and a total redo necessary, Chris made the experience completely seamless!! There simply is no one better!!
Alex ThipkhosithkunAlex Thipkhosithkun
19:32 03 Nov 22
I can't say enough good things about Chris at e3 Insurance. He really is an expert in his field and was really helpful and thoughtful through my home and car insurance purchasing experience. But it doesn't stop there. Recently, I was facing a relatively stressful plumbing situation with my newly purchased house and after talking to Chris and putting me in contact with the right people, they had someone come out THAT afternoon-- Amazing!
Austin SandozAustin Sandoz
14:45 06 Oct 22
Chris was a client of mine for a long time. When I reached out to get a quote I was blown away. I found out my brand-new 2022 Jeep was severely underinsured and I had little to no protection for my assets.After comparing my old policy side by side with my new policy he was able to quadruple my coverage and protect my assets for LESS than what I was paying before. When it's done right, it's done right.
Sheryl KlousiaSheryl Klousia
14:29 06 Mar 22
Chris has been extremely helpful in finding us great policies for house and car insurance. He reviews our policy yearly to ensure we are getting the best rate and best coverage… and recommends changing when needed. We are very satisfied with his service… he has saved us so much over the 3 years that we have been with him ! So glad we found him. Our kids all use his services also !

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