Rental Vehicles - Insurance FAQ


Does it matter what rental company I use?

UCAR has agreements for auto rentals with Hertz, Avis, Budget, National and Enterprise. Divisions/employees are encouraged to use these rental companies within the USA, its territories and possessions because they include the CDW/LDW in the rental rate. Because of UCAR's agreements with these 5 rental companies, it is preferred that they be used for international rentals, as well, though terms and benefits of renting from these 5 overseas may be different than domestic rentals.

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Is there any time the CDW/LDW should be purchased?

There are two circumstances when the purchase of the optional CDW/LDW will be reimbursed:

  • When you rent a vehicle while on international travel
  • When the rental agency won’t allow a renter to decline the coverage due to the type of vehicle being rented or where the vehicle is intended to be driven

Reimbursement will be made if these circumstances are documented on the travel expense voucher.

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What if Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, or National aren't available where I’m traveling, or I find a more competitive price from another agency?

It may be necessary or more cost effective to use a different rental company, but the CDW/LDW coverage is not reimbursable for rentals in the USA. However, remember that your own personal car insurance may be considered primary insurance.

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What should I do if involved in an auto accident?

Comply with all local laws governing such accidents.

Properly document the accident using the rental agency accident report form, a GSA report form supplied with each GSA vehicle, and/or via a police report. Copies of all reports must be submitted to the Insurance Office.

Report the accident as soon as possible to the Insurance Manager, who will report the accident to UCAR's insurance carrier, if warranted.

Report the accident to your supervisor as soon as possible during normal working hours.

It is important to note that in the event of an accident detailed information is important, including the name, home and work addresses and telephone numbers of any passengers or witnesses, and any and all information on injured persons involved in an automobile accident. The same information should be obtained from the driver of the other vehicle, if applicable, including insurance information. DO NOT MAKE ANY COMMITMENTS OR MAKE ANY STATEMENT REGARDING FAULT.

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Will my personal auto insurance or my credit card be subject to claims or charges if the vehicle is damaged?

Yes. This is a possibility. It depends on the rental agency. This isn't likely to happen when renting from Hertz using UCAR's name and account. Please notify UCAR’s Risk Management and Insurance Office of any claim as soon as possible.

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Who can drive?

GSA and other governement owned vehicles assigned to UCAR can only be driven by UCAR staff. Emergencies are the only exception.

Rental vehicles can only be driven by persons driving on official UCAR business. All drivers should be listed on the rental agreement. Emergencies are the only exception.

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What is meant by, "rentals MUST be in UCAR's name"? Does this pertain to "visitors, PSC, and other authorized persons" only, or to everyone?

UCAR staff are covered by UCAR commercial auto insurance whether they rent in UCAR's name or not. This is not the case with visitors and PSC and other authorized drivers. They must rent in UCAR's name or they are not covered. This is because UCAR staff are specifically listed and covered, but there is no way to know who other non-staff are, so they cannot be listed on our policy. Employees can be named as a group and it can be verified at anytime who our employees are, but there is no such convention for visitors, PSC, and others. Realize that if a staff member rents from a non-contracted agency, the primary insurance may not be a part of the agreement. The renter's personal insurance may be the primary insurance that a potential claim may go against. UCAR's secondary coverage only kicks in after primary coverages are exhausted.

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What is CDW? Do I need to buy it?

A Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) is an option offered by auto rental agencies to provide protection for physical damage to the vehicle. You should not purchase the additional CDW or LDW coverage when renting in the United States.

Divisions or employees will NOT be reimbursed for the optional CDW/LDW coverage unless approved by Risk Management prior to travel.

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What insurance should I take when renting a vehicle?

When renting a vehicle on domestic travel, you should rent in UCAR’s name and take no additional insurance. If you do take any additional insurance, it is not reimbursable by UCAR.

When renting a vehicle on international travel, you should rent in UCAR’s name and take all coverage related to physical damage, theft, and liability. Personal effects coverage is not reimbursable by UCAR.

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What do I do if I need to take the rental or GSA vehicle out of the country?

GSA vehicles should not be taken out of the country unless prior approval is granted through the Transportation Supervisor. The Insurance Manager should also be notified to ensure that additional insurance is obtained prior to leaving the country. For example, no vehicle should be taken into Mexico without proper approval and supplemental insurance.

Many rental agencies, such as Hertz, will not allow a vehicle to be taken out of the country, i.e., into Mexico, without prior notification and additional coverage. Please seek guidance when considering such a venture.

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What do I do if I need to rent a vehicle for an extended period?

The Insurance Manager should be advised when renting any vehicle for a period of 30 days or more in order to update our fleet schedule. Leasing a vehicle or obtaining a GSA vehicle for an extended period may be more economical and it is suggested that the Contracts office or Transportation Supervisor be contacted for assistance.

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What about liability insurance when renting cars? Do I need to buy this?

No, not in the USA. In many cases liability insurance is required by state law to be provided by the vehicle owner, in which case this would be considered primary liability coverage. UCAR’s commercial auto policy provides secondary liability coverage after primary insurance benefits have been exhausted.

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In looking at the general insurance card, it says, IN CASE OF ACCIDENT: Report all accidents to your Agent/Company as soon as possible---but it has no phone number.

The insurance card is printed on a standard form. In UCAR's case, you report accidents to the rental company, local police, your supervisor, perhaps your Director, your Administrator, and the Risk Management and Insurance office, who files the claim with the insurance company.

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If there is an accident with injuries in a rental car, how am I covered, and how are passengers covered?

UCAR staff are covered by Workers’ Compensation for on-the-job injuries, including injuries resulting from an accident in a rental car. UCAR carries a minimal amount of medical coverage for passengers who might be injured as a result of an accident in a rental car. Other insurance may be applicable, depending on the individual circumstances.

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f I rent a vehicle while on UCAR sponsored travel and use it for non-business purposes, am I still covered by UCAR’s vehicle insurance?

No, UCAR’s vehicle insurance covers the use of the vehicle for business purposes only. If you choose to use the rental for personal outings during the period of travel you should make sure that you have coverage through your own auto insurance, the rental company or other means. When renting for a combination of business and personal use, UCAR insurance applies only when the car is being used for business purposes.

Reminder: All accidents, regardless of the severity or damage, must be reported immediately to the Risk Management and Insurance Office and to the rental agency when the vehicle is returned.

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How should car rentals be handled for visitors and other non-UCAR staff?

UCAR’s commercial insurance provides secondary coverage for all rentals made in UCAR’s name, therefore, all rentals for authorized UCAR travel must be in UCAR’s name, especially in the case of non-UCAR staff traveling on behalf of UCAR. If a non-support visitor or PSC or other non-UCAR staff person rents in his/her personal name from any rental agency there is no insurance coverage automatically provided by UCAR. The renter would be personally responsible for loss, damage, and liability in the event of claim.

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How do I get a vehicle repaired?

If the vehicle is a GSA vehicle, contact Transportation Supervisor, Jean Hancock, ext. 8504, e-mail Please note that costs for repairs to GSA vehicles are borne by the division.

For a long term leased vehicle, contact the Insurance Manager to process a claim BEFORE ARRANGING FOR REPAIR as there is a deductible which will be charged to your program and arrangements must be made for payment. Details are required, even if only a claim for a windshield replacement (when, where, what, cause, etc.).

Generally, repairs on a rental vehicle are handled by the rental company. Be sure to notify the rental company of any accident, damage, or loss, and report to Risk Management and Insurance office for claims handling.

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Define 'overseas' & 'domestic' so that I know where to accept/purchase the additional insurance.

The USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the territories and possessions of the USA are considered 'domestic'. No additional insurance should be purchased.

All other locations are considered 'overseas' or 'international' and the additional insurance coverages should be purchased and will be reimbursed.

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Can I rent in my name, pay for the additional insurance, and get reimbursed for the cost of the extra insurance?


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Can I rent from any rental agency?

Yes. UCAR staff can rent cars from any source. UCAR’s preferred rental agencies are Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and National because they offer direct billing and provide primary damage and liability insurance at no additional charge as a part of the negotiated contracts UCAR has with each of them. UCAR’s commercial insurance provides damage and liability coverage on a secondary basis. If there is a claim, primary insurance pays first; secondary insurance only takes effect after having exhausted all benefits from primary insurance. Primary insurance can come from many different sources including: use of the US Bank Travel Visa credit card, use of any other credit card that provides coverage, your personal insurance, or any other insurance you may have.

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Can I drive my rental or GSA vehicle on personal business?

Limited personal use of a GSA or rented/leased vehicle by an employee or authorized individual while on travel or in the field is allowable for the sustenance, comfort, or health of the individual.

GSA vehicles may not be used locally for personal purposes. Emergencies are the only exception.

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Are visitors who are not considered staff covered by UCAR's automobile insurance when renting cars from Hertz or other agencies?

Yes, visitors are covered. Anyone to whom UCAR gives permission to drive a vehicle UCAR owns, leases, hires, rents, or borrows would be covered. This includes visitors and collaborators who are not on UCAR payroll. Renting with Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, or National in UCAR's name (on the direct billed account) provides primary coverage; not using one of these 5 contracted agencies means that the renter has chosen to accept personal responsibility for primary coverage, while UCAR provides secondary coverage.

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