Use of Personal Vehicles for College Business

This information applies to all who may use their personal vehicles for college business (broadly defined)--whether student, employee, volunteer or otherwise. This can include errands, field trips, organized social activities, and so on.

There are significant limits to the extent to which Westmont's insurance may be involved if you have a collision while driving on college business. The Additional Background section below explains these limitations. If you have questions not answered there, please contact Troy Harris (x6633 or email).

Employee Information

In order to qualify for mileage rate reimbursement, Westmont requires that you maintain current personal auto insurance based upon the standard used by the IRS in calculating the rate:

  • liability limits customarily referred to as 100/300
  • $50,000 property limit; and
  • $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision

Note: If you drive rental cars on college business, always decline the coverage offered by the rental company.

  • If using the National/Enterprise contract, the coverage is already included (for business use).
  • If using other providers, please obtain a college insurance card from the office of the VP for Finance prior to renting the vehicle.

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Additional Background

State law dictates that the registered owner of a vehicle has primary liability for any event involving that vehicle, and that the vehicle be insured for liability. Also under state law, the insurance for the owner of the vehicle must respond first in the event of an accident. If the operator is other than the owner, then the operator's insurance would respond second.

Westmont's auto policy would respond third in sequence on what's called an excess basis as a "non-owned automobile" when the vehicle is used on Westmont business. That is, only liability losses which EXCEED those of the insurance carried by the owner/operator would be covered by Westmont's insurance, up to our total limits, which are typical for our size of institution.

As is customary for institutions whose employees use personal vehicles on company business, and as a prudent measure to guard the college's assets, Westmont requires all faculty and staff using their cars on official business to carry standard automobile insurance, with the IRS-based typical limits referenced above.

IMPORTANT: Westmont's automobile insurance applies to: a) bodily injury and property damage to "third parties" (ie, not to the college as "first party" nor to employees as "second party"); and b) property damage to college-owned vehicles.

Westmont has NO COVERAGE for your vehicle even if used on college business, EXCEPT that Westmont will cover the deductible for your property loss, up to $1,000* and IF you had the above-specified insurance coverage in place at the time of an accident while driving your personal vehicle on college business. If you have sub-standard personal coverage, you will not qualify for any Westmont participation in your loss. (In any event, we do not share the cost of any future premium increases that may result from an accident.)

Your circumstance is the same as if your car were in an accident on personal time. If it were caused by another driver, the other driver's policy should cover the cost of fixing or replacing your car. If s/he had no [or inadequate] insurance, your own policy would instead cover the damage to your car. Regardless of fault, though, you would be personally responsible for any applicable deductible and also for any property loss not covered by the other driver's [or your own] policy.

It is unfortunate that the insurance marketplace does not offer coverage that Westmont could purchase designed to address your property loss in the event of an accident on college business. If you prefer not to carry the personal auto insurance or accept the risks associated with driving your own car on college business, you may arrange for use of a college fleet vehicle instead.

Please drive safely, whether on college business or not!

* - Despite the IRS standard of $500 deductible, Westmont will cover up to $1,000 in order to match the deductible on our own commercial auto policy. In other words, we're willing to cover up to that much "out of pocket" on our own vehicles, so we would have that much at stake anyway and it's thus available to employees.