Persons operating a State-Owned vehicle, rented or leased while conducting University business, have liability coverage in the case of an accident. The PLAN provides $2,000,000 per occurrence of automobile liability coverage.
Employees should not buy the insurance offered by the car rental agency if on University business in the U.S. because coverage is provided under the PLAN and the purchase of additional insurance is not reimbursable. However, this does not apply to leasing vehicles in a foreign country. When leasing vehicles in another country it is advisable to purchase liability and physical damage insurance at the time the vehicle is rented. The vehicle insurance cost will be reimbursable when leasing vehicles in foreign countries.
Personal Vehicles used for University business or for approved activities are not covered by the University’s vehicle insurance. The rationale for this State policy is that mileage reimbursement is sufficient to cover the cost of the owner’s insurance. In the event of an accident, the State may accept liability for judgments in excess of the owner’s insurance coverage. Further, University employees who are injured in the accident are usually covered by Workers’ Compensation. Other parties involved must recover damages from the vehicle’s owner. Persons driving their own vehicles on University business and involved in an accident are requested to keep the Office of Risk Management apprised of the situation; Mason may be able to assist in the resolution of the matter.
During trips involving voluntary student activities, students may feel that it is cost-effective to car pool, in which students use their own vehicles. These volunteer drivers must be advised of the above policy and not be pressured into driving. It is recommended that a simple waiver format be used, signed by the passengers: “I hereby volunteer to ride with (Student “X”) and agree to hold harmless (Student “X”) for the negligent acts of others or for Acts of God.” Except for a negligent act of his/her own, this should protect the driver from lawsuits.