Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Content Writer & Entrepreneur Shuman Roy

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 3, 2022

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Here’s what you need to know…

  • Combined single limit liability is auto insurance coverage that combines bodily injury and property damage coverage
  • Combined single limits are commonly used for commercial vehicle coverage
  • Combined single limit liability is often more expensive than split-limit coverage

What is CSL insurance? There’s no need to worry, it’s nothing sinister. CSL in insurance terms stands for combined single limit.

We get it — car insurance coverage can be confusing. Especially when there is a little bit of the unknown involved, which is certainly the case with car insurance and accidents. You simply never know how or when your time will come and how bad it will be. This is why many people consider combined single limit liability.

One of the more confusing concepts relating to car insurance liability coverage is the difference between combined single limit liability and split limit liability. Sometimes insurance companies can use jargon that is confusing to consumers; it’s common for them to have to go over things in more detail or simplify things.

What does liability car insurance cover? There are many options for combined single limit liability coverage, or CSL insurance, including 500k CSL, 100k CSL, and many more.

Before learning more about combined single limit liability car insurance,  you can compare combined single limit liability car insurance rates by using our free tool.

What is combined single limit liability?

Some insurers allow you to choose a “combined single limit liability” (CSL) rather than split limits coverage, though “CSL” liability coverage is more commonly purchased for commercial automobile insurance.

When it comes to automobile insurance liability limits, liability is broken down into three parts:

  1. Bodily injury for each person
  2. Body injury for each occurrence
  3. Property damage

What is property damage liability coverage? Coverage for damage you cause to another person’s vehicle, property, and/or belongings as a result of your negligence while driving a car.

Combined single limit liability, on the other hand, provides one total limit of liability for all three “parts” discussed above. There is no individual liability limit per person, per occurrence, or property damage limit.

Note: If you have a $300,000 CSL, and injure three people, your insurer will not pay $900,000 total.  $300,000 is the maximum money paid out for any bodily injury and property damage you cause per each accident. If a court awards $500,000 to all injured parties in an accident for which you are found liable, you would be personally responsible for the additional $200,000 in damages.

In this same vein, if you have auto insurance limits 100/300, it just means there is $100,000 bodily injury coverage and $300,000 in BI per accident. Believing you can only be sued for the amount of your car insurance coverage is a common insurance myth. Learn more about the differences between split limit liability and combined single limit liability.

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What’s the difference between combined single limit vs split liability?

A brief breakdown of the differences between split limit coverage and single limit coverage can be seen in the table below.

Liability Car Insurance Coverage: Split Limit Vs. Combined Single Limit
Single Limit Liability Coverage Split Limit Liability Coverage
Offers a set amount your insurance will paySplits coverage between three parts:
(1) medical bodily injury
(2) bodily injury
(3) property damage
Good if you have large assetsUsually cheaper than single limit
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However, the only way to get a grasp on the different outcomes that may result from an automobile accident is to look at the results of the same accident with the different types of coverage. You will quickly see that neither is a clear winner, as every accident is unique and our crystal ball is no more accurate than yours.

This is why your best bet is to purchase the highest liability limits your insurer offers and maybe even to purchase a personal liability umbrella policy, or umbrella insurance, on top of that. Better to stay on top of risks than let them take you by surprise!

Example of Split Liability vs Single Limit Coverage

Jose crashes his car into another vehicle. He is found to be at fault for the accident and his insurance will be responsible for paying bodily injury and property damages the other party suffered. The other vehicle sustains $20,000 in damage.  The driver of the other vehicle is awarded $36,000 in bodily injury damages. In addition, another occupant in the vehicle is awarded $107,000 in bodily injury damages and pain and suffering.

Split Liability Limit Outcome

Let’s assume Jose has 50/100/25 limits of liability. His insurer would pay the following amounts; the driver of the other vehicle would receive the full $36,000 in damages, as it is below the $50,000 per person limit on his policy.

The insurer would pay the occupant of the other vehicle $50,000, which is the per person limit of liability for Jose’s policy. This would leave Jose responsible for the additional $57,000 in bodily injury damages for the other occupant. Finally, the insurer would pay the full $20,000 to repair the other vehicle, as it falls within the $25,000 property damage limit of liability.

Combined Single Limit Liability Outcome

Let’s assume Jose has a $100,000 combined single limit insurance policy. In this instance, Jose’s insurer would pay $100,000 total for all property and bodily injury damages for the accident.

Since the liability limit is not high enough to cover all of the damages, which amount to $163,000 in total, the courts would stipulate how the money is divided (which is done on a case by case basis). Jose would be personally responsible for paying the remaining $63,000 in damages. In this particular example, Jose would benefit slightly by having split limit insurance.

However, this is not always the case.  Had Jose purchased a CSL policy with a $250,000 limit, he would have not been personally responsible for paying any of the damages resulting from this accident.

Remember, in the split limit outcome of this example, Jose was still responsible for $57,000 in damages for the occupant of the other vehicle.

This is just another example of why you should purchase as much coverage as you can afford. Additionally, you can see that there is no real answer to the question: Is CSL better than split limits? It also depends on your situation whether you should purchase, for example, 250/500 vs. 300/300.

You may also be wondering how does insurance combined single limit compare vs. aggregate? The thing with aggregate insurance is that it can cover more than one claim, so you can split your aggregate limit between multiple claims. Aggregate insurance also has a maximum limit of money in damages it will cover.

How much combined single limit coverage should I buy?

As mentioned in the section above, this all depends on how much you can afford, or how much you are willing to spend. For example, if you live in a state with a higher cost of living, you may want to save your money instead of spending too much on liability insurance. However, if you’d rather be safe than sorry, you may want to consider a higher combined single limit insurance policy.

If you can afford 100K CSL or even 500K CSL and having it would make you safer, then it is you may want to consider those options. If you’re asking, “what does 500k CSL mean?” it just means that your liability limit is $500,000. The same is the case when asking, “what is 100k CSL?”

That being said, you may also want to consult your insurance provider on what policy would work best for you, be it 250K, 500K insurance, or anything in between. Easily learn about the disadvantages of combined single limit liability below.

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Are there any disadvantages of CSL insurance?

You may have asked yourself: Which costs more split limits or combined single limits? Well, possibly the main disadvantage of combined single limit liability compared to split limits is that CSL policies are usually more expensive.

To get an idea of split auto insurance rates, take a look at this table.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type
Car Insurance
Coverage Types
Car Insurance
Coverage Details
Average Annual
Car Insurance Rates
Uninsured/Underinsured MotoristCovers the costs if you are in an accident
with driver with little or no insurance
Property Damage LiabilityPart of standard liability insurance the pays for
damage to property caused by you
Bodily Insurance LiabilityPart of standard liability coverage that pays for
medical bills if you've injured someone in an accident
Personal Injury ProtectionCovers bills such as medical expenses,
funeral expenses or recover lost wages
Med PayCovers the cost of the medical payments
of all passengers in your vehicle
Comprehensive Covers damage to your car from incidents
other than a wreck
Collision Covers damage to your car after an accident
no matter the fault.
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If you don’t have any large assets to protect, then purchasing combined single limit liability insurance may not be worth the cost. Since these policies offer more coverage, they will likely have higher premiums. There are also many other options for keeping your vehicle safe and giving you some peace of mind if you can’t afford a large liability policy.

Combined single limit liability: What’s the bottom line?

We have very little control over what happens when we are operating a motor vehicle. Even the safest drivers in the world can cause accidents in which multiple people are hurt and expensive property damage occurs. Each state in the United States has different accident statistics (Edgar Synder).

Whether you have a combined single limit of liability or split limits, you can see from the example above, you should be purchasing as much coverage as you can afford. Determining whether you need 250, 500, or 500 CSL all has to do with your personal needs.

Shopping your combined single limit liability insurance rates online is a good way to see if you can afford higher coverage limits than what you currently have. Plus, you’ll be able to look into policy limits and come up with a plan for budgeting for what you need to be protected. It’s understood that money plays a huge part in what people end up signing on for when they’re looking into insurance companies.

Looking to buy combined single limit liability car insurance? Now that you know more about combined single limit liability, get great combined single limit liability car insurance quotes by using our FREE tool below. We will compare rates from top insurance companies, including Progressive, State Farm, GEICO, and more.

It never hurts to shop around to make sure you’re getting a great coverage limit, but it also helps to know what’s going to be included in your policy. Use this tool and gather all the information up that you can!