What do the three numbers on auto insurance mean?

The three numbers on your auto insurance policy are important. Learn how to decipher them here.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022

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Things to remember

  • The three auto insurance numbers are coverage limits representing bodily injury per person, bodily injury per occurrence, and property damage
  • Three zeros should be added to the end of each to reflect the right amount of coverage
  • The coverage is always on a per-occurrence basis

If you’re not in the auto insurance industry, understanding your contract and finding coverage limits on car insurance can be tricky. But what if you don’t understand car insurance numbers?

Insurance policies within the same company are pretty standard. However, some policies might have endorsements that remove or add coverage. But even with endorsements, the language used is still the same. When you’re ready to start shopping for insurance, be sure that you’re comparing quotes that are for the same coverages and the same limits.

What do the three numbers on auto insurance represent?

The three numbers on the declarations page of your auto insurance policy are typically found only on certain types of policies. The three types of coverage most likely referenced by these numbers include:

  • Liability
  • Uninsured motorist
  • Underinsured motorist

So, what exactly do these numbers even mean?

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What the Three Numbers on Your Auto Insurance Policy Mean

Each of the numbers tells you how much coverage is available for bodily injury claims and property damage claims. The first two numbers represent bodily injury per person and bodily injury per occurrence, respectively. In this case, the last number represents property damage.

To help you get more acquainted with your policy, here are a few pointers.

  • The policy declarations page identified the people insured, the vehicle(s) insured, and the coverage limits on the policy.
  • One of the most common questions policyholders have is in reference to those three little numbers on the declarations page. They’re usually formatted this way: 100/300/100 or 25/50/20.
  • These numbers are important as they tell you who’s protected by the policy.

Now that you know what they mean, you can apply them to your own policy.

How to Understand the Three Car Insurance Numbers

Let’s take a look at an example to help you get a better idea of how those numbers are used in real life.

Let’s start with liability coverage, which helps protect the financial assets of the insured person. If a policy indicates that the amount of coverage for liability is 250/500/50, that means that for a bodily injury claim, the most a single injured person can receive is $250,000. The second number indicates the maximum amount that can be paid for all bodily injury claims, in this case, $500,000. The last number represents the limit that can be paid for all property damage or $50,000.

Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage are both designed to protect your financial assets, and the same numbering system and logic apply here. However, uninsured and underinsured coverage are both designed to protect your assets in the case of collisions with others who don’t have liability insurance or people whose coverage isn’t sufficient to cover the cost of your damage or injuries.

Another factor to consider is what state you live in. Each individual state mandates the minimum limits of liability coverage. Sometimes people only buy the minimum amount of coverage so it’s often better to make sure you have adequate coverage in the event that the other person involved in the accident doesn’t.

In addition, the limits discussed above are always on a per-occurrence basis. That means if you have an accident on Monday and then again on Friday, both accidents will be fully covered. 

The Three Numbers on Auto Insurance: The Bottom Line

Before the unthinkable happens, it’s smart to have in place an auto insurance policy that you’re confident can help cover all of your expenses in case you’re ever involved in an auto accident. That means knowing your coverage limits and doing your best to understand your policy so that there’s no confusion should the time come.

By understanding how the three auto insurance numbers work, you can compare policy quotes and ensure you’ve purchased enough coverage to protect you and your loved ones.

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