Car Rental Policies

Purpose

This section provides guidance on the use of rental vehicles for Research Foundation (RF) travel, the expenses that are reimbursable, New York State (NYS) tax exemption, and documentation requirements for reimbursement and tax exemption.

Appropriate Use

Rental vehicles may be used when it is in the best interests of the project or the RF. For example, renting a vehicle would be considered appropriate under the following circumstances:

  • renting is the least costly alternative
  • renting is the only method of transportation available
  • renting will eliminate substantial delays

Insurance

Vehicles should be rented in the name of the Research Foundation. This ensures that both the RF and the traveler are properly covered by insurance and eliminates any confusion regarding liability for coverage in the event of an insurance claim. Refer to Rental Insurance .

Reimbursable Expenses

Tolls, parking fees, fuel, and the cost of renting a vehicle are reimbursable.

Non-reimbursable Costs

Insurance

The cost of Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) or Personal Effects Insurance (PEI) is not reimbursable. Complete requirements, including those for foreign travel, are provided in Insurance Offered by Rental Agencies.

Citations/Violations Incurred While on RF Business

In accordance with RF policy, fines and related towing charges for traffic violations, illegal parking, or speeding are not reimbursable.

Documentation Requirements

The rental invoice and, if required by the sponsor, an explanatory statement of the rental car use must be attached to the Travel Payment Request Form. Receipts for any additional costs, such as tolls and parking, must be attached to the form for each expenditure over $75 (or the lower dollar limit established by the operating location).

Rental Vehicles (Guidance on Insurance Coverage)

This section provides general, insurance-related guidelines that Research Foundation (RF) operating locations should follow when renting vehicles for RF business.

Definitions

The terms listed below are used in this document. (Each term below is linked to its definition in the RF glossary resource area of the RF Web Site.

  • Covered Territories
  • Damage Waiver Protection
  • Foreign Territories
  • Long-Term Rental Agreement
  • Short-Term Rental Agreement

Appropriate Use

Rental vehicles must be used for business purposes or for other authorized uses.

Research Foundation Preferred Rental Car Company

The Research Foundation has established a master service agreement with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, based upon the New York State Contract #72001, PS65506/PS65507 for passenger vehicle rentals within New York State and the United States. This master agreement provides the RF with a corporate profile to ensure that RF employees are obtaining the appropriate rental vehicle insurance coverage and to ensure that the state contract rates are reserved. However, each campus should set up a separate billing account using the RF master agreement as a basis, and obtain a specifically assigned agency corporate code to facilitate campus billing requirements.

Renting the Vehicle in the Name of the RF

Vehicles should be rented in the name of the Research Foundation. This ensures that both the RF and the employee (driver) are properly covered. If a corporate credit card is not available and a personal credit card is used to rent the vehicle, the rental documents should clearly show that the vehicle is rented on behalf of the Research Foundation. This will eliminate any confusion regarding liability for coverage in the event of an insurance claim.

Insurance Offered by Rental Agencies

Rental agencies may offer the following types of insurance for short-term vehicle rentals:

  • Damage Waiver Protection
  • Personal Effects Insurance
  • Personal Accident Insurance
  • Liability Insurance

Operating locations should follow the guidelines described below for each type of insurance:

Damage Waiver Protection

Damage waiver protection coverage, also known as loss-damage waiver (LDW) or collision damage waiver (CDW), is available and should be purchased for all short-term vehicle rentals. This cost is generally an allowable charge to the sponsored program account. Please note that insurance (damage waiver and liability protection) is now included in the Enterprise contract.

Personal Effects Insurance

Insurance for personal items is the responsibility of the individual. It is not an allowable charge against the sponsored program award and is not covered under the insurance policies of the RF. Personal items do not include sponsored program research equipment insured under the RF floater policy.

Personal Accident Insurance

This coverage is not an allowable cost, because RF employees, program volunteers, and program participants are covered under Workers' Compensation Policy. Personal Accident Insurance should not be purchased upon rental of the vehicle.

Liability Insurance

It is not necessary to purchase additional liability coverage from the vehicle rental agency. Vehicles rented under short-term rental agreements are afforded primary liability coverage under the RF's hired automobile insurance policy (see Automobile Use).

What to Do When Primary Insurance Coverage is Required?

Some long-term rental agreements require that the RF carry primary insurance on the rented vehicle. In such cases, the vehicles must be individually listed on the RF's owned automobile insurance policy. This policy is subject to appropriate deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage. The deductible must be paid by the operating location. There is a premium charge for adding vehicles to the RF's owned automobile insurance policy.

Reporting Accidents

To the Rental Agency:

All motor vehicle accidents must be reported immediately to the rental agency. In addition, the authorized driver is required to complete the agency's accident report form. Failure to comply with the requirements of the rental agency for reporting an accident or damage to the rental vehicle could result in the driver being held personally liable for any costs.

To the RF Central Office:

All motor vehicle accidents must also be reported to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer by calling (518) 434-7052, or by faxing information to (518) 935-6712 or sent via email to rfinsurance@rfsuny.org.

Claims

All claims must be forwarded to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. The information can be faxed to (518) 935-6712, or sent via email to rfinsurance@rfsuny.org. The RF's insurance carrier reserves the right to deny coverage due to late reporting of a claim.

Travel in Foreign Territories

Insurance coverage purchased in the U.S. is generally not recognized outside of the covered territories. Therefore, when traveling outside of the covered territories, it is necessary to purchase the appropriate insurance from the rental agency in the country where the vehicle is rented. As a general rule, it is recommended that the traveler purchase all of the insurance offered by the rental agency in the foreign territory.

For the traveler's protection, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer should be notified of plans to rent a vehicle in a foreign territory and will assist in determining the amount and types of insurance that should be purchased.

Last Updated 8/24/21

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