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Automobile Liability

  1. Driving University Vehicles - The University insures all its vehicles for liability (injury to third parties and third party property damage) and physical damage (comprehensive/ collision). If you are driving a University-owned vehicle on official University business, then you are an insured driver under the University's policy. The same holds true for students or others who are authorized to drive University vehicles on official University business. Coverage is applicable for vehicles operated in the United States, its territories and possessions and Canada. There is no automobile liability coverage provided for travel in other foreign countries. Insurance must be purchased in the country where the vehicle is rented. If you will be renting a vehicle in a foreign country for more than 60 days, contact the Office of Risk Management so Foreign Liability Umbrella coverage can be extended for the full term of your rental.
  2. Personal Automobiles Used on University Business – In Pennsylvania, as in other states, the automobile owner’s insurance follows the vehicle. Therefore, the University requires that faculty and staff who use their personal vehicle on University business carry their own personal auto insurance coverage on their vehicles. Mileage reimbursements are designed to include an incremental cost for insurance and deductibles. When faculty and staff drive their own vehicle on University business, their own insurance policy serves as a "primary" policy for third party liability and physical damage to their vehicle. This means that if a claim arising out of an accident exceeds their policy limits, then the University's policy will cover third party liability in excess of their policy.

    NOTE: The University does not provide primary or excess auto insurance coverage to volunteers or students who are not employed by the University even when they are operating their personal vehicle on University business.

    If your vehicle is damaged as a result of an accident, whether it is your fault or not, your comprehensive/collision coverage would respond. You are responsible for any deductible amounts under your policy. If you do not carry any collision insurance, then the entire amount of the damage is your responsibility. Neither the University nor the University’s insurance will pay for any physical damage to your vehicle - you use it at your own risk.

    If you are transporting University equipment or property in your personal vehicle for the purpose of conducting University business and it is damaged or destroyed, the University’s insurance will respond to repair or replace that property if it is not covered by your insurance or if the limits of your auto insurance are exhausted.

  3. Rental Car or University Fleet Vehicle Used on University Business - All vehicles rented for use in the local area must be rented through Lehigh’s Transportation Services Department. If you are traveling outside of the local area and you are renting a vehicle while working on behalf of the University (including unpaid or volunteer work), you should rent the vehicle in the name of the University and your own name. This means that you should sign both your name and "Lehigh University" on the rental agreement. The University's Auto Policy will then respond as if the rented vehicle is an "owned" vehicle, so you should decline liability and collision insurance. Never rent a vehicle valued in excess of $50,000.

    If you rent a vehicle anywhere outside the United States or Canada, you must purchase the insurance coverage offered by the rental agency in that country. If you will be renting a vehicle in a foreign country for more than 60 days, contact the Office of Risk Management so Foreign Liability Umbrella Coverage can be extended for the full term of your rental. It is important to inspect any rented vehicle before driving it. Make sure any dents, scratches or other damage to the vehicle are noted on the rental form. Otherwise, the University and/or your department may have to pay for damages you did not cause.

    Note: Because of varying insurance regulations in countries other than the United States, purchase of the car rental agency's insurance package is required.

  4. Accident Reporting While on University Business and Driving a University-owned or Rented Vehicle (For complete accident reporting instructions see the Transportation Services Manual on-line at www.lehigh.edu/~intransp)

    At the scene of the accident:


    1. Make sure that you call (or send for) the police. If anyone is injured, ask for an ambulance.
    2. Contact Transportation Services immediately (or the Lehigh University Police Department if the accident occurs after normal business hours). You may also wish to contact your supervisor.