411-02 Ground Transportation

Fiscal Operations Manual
Section 411: Travel
Effective: 02/01/1982
Revised: 9/27/2013

Vehicle rental expenses may be reimbursed. Vehicles may be rented only when it is the most economical/efficient means of transportation. Receipts are required for vehicle rentals. Travelers should consider renting vehicles from the OSU Motor Pool. Rental cars may be used in conjunction with travel by common carrier when use is reasonable and authorized in advance. 

University travelers will rent compact or economy cars whenever possible. The rental of SUVs and luxury vehicles is not allowed. If you receive an upgrade because other vehicles are not available, have the rental car agency make a notation on the rental agreement that the vehicle rented was the only one available and that you paid the rate for the lower cost vehicle.

Due to the number of University Travelers on a single itinerary, it may be economical to rent a van for transportation purposes. Keep in mind that OSU does not permit the use of 15 passenger vans due to safety advisories published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Employees are encouraged to use the State of Oregon Contracts for rental cars. The contracts with Enterprise Rent-a-Car, National Car Rental, and Hertz Car Rental include insurance coverage. For this reason, collision damage insurance (sometimes referred to as CDW or LDW), personal accident insurance (PAI), and liability insurance supplement (LIS) should be declined and are not a reimbursable expense.

Employees not using the State of Oregon contract with Enterprise Rent-a-Car, National Car Rental, or Hertz Car Rental must purchase limited collision damage insurance to cover loss or damage to the vehicle. If a rented vehicle is damaged, and the OSU employee declined the CDW/LDW, the deductible doubles from $2,500 to $5,000 and Risk Management will only cover the amount in excess of that value. Personal accident insurance (PAI) and liability insurance supplement (LIS/SLI) should be declined. These are not a reimbursable expense.

While the University’s insurance will cover the cost of damage to a rental car, the person (or Unit) renting the vehicle will be responsible for any applicable deductible.

The state’s automobile insurance coverage is valid only in the United States, its possessions, territories and Canada. If it is necessary for the traveler to have a rental vehicle in a foreign country (especially Mexico), OSU recommends contacting Risk Management at least two weeks in advance of the travel so they can arrange any specific insurance for the foreign country and purchasing the insurances available (including SLI and CDW).

When a rented vehicle is damaged in an accident and CDW insurance has not been purchased, the rental agency may require payment of the deductible even when a third party is at fault. The employee should first explain that the university is self-insured through the State of Oregon, and the State Insurance Fund will cover damages up to the deductible amount.

If the rental agency still requires payment, the employee may charge the cost of damages to the OSU Travel Card or to a personal credit card and file for reimbursement. The employee should notify the OSU Risk Management Office as soon as possible and provide related information.

The renter of a car has all normal and some special responsibilities after an accident. Most fall into two areas: data collection and accident reports. The individual should collect and record all pertinent data relating to the accident such as:

  • Time and place of the accident
  • Traffic and weather conditions
  • Circumstances contributing to the accident
  • If another vehicle is involved, the driver’s name, address, driver’s license number, insurance company and policy number
  • Name, address and telephone number of any witness
  • Investigating police officer’s name
  • Description of damage to all vehicles involved
  • Name and phone number of the rental car company claims agent

The driver should promptly report the accident to all concerned parties, including:

  • Local police
  • Local or state authority for accident reporting (e.g. Department of Motor Vehicles in Oregon)
  • Rental car company, and
  • OSU Risk Management Office

Failure to report an accident may void all protection from the company’s insurance. The accident must be reported to the OSU Risk Management Office within 60 days to avoid loss of coverage. The OSU Risk Management Office will report the accident to the State of Oregon, Department of Administrative Services Risk Management Division (RMD).

The driver must keep a copy of all pertinent information and provide copies to the OSU Risk Management Office to assist in settling a claim. This includes all data collected, accident reports, repair estimates, and a receipt for any payment made.

When non-employees (seminar speakers, interviewees, etc.) are invited to OSU and a car rental is anticipated, they are personally responsible for the costs. It must be made clear to the traveler that they ARE NOT COVERED by OSU/State Insurance and they should check with their own insurance company to determine their rental vehicle coverage. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW or LDW) is reimbursable, if purchased.

  • The traveler should determine if they have a credit card that will pay the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance.
  • The traveler should check with their own insurance company to see if they are covered when driving rental vehicles.
  • If either of the above does not apply, it is strongly encouraged that the applicable unit tells the non-employee traveler to take out the CDW insurance. It will be reimbursed.

With prior OSU budget authority permission, at no additional cost to the University, and at their own risk or the personal risk of the driver, an employee’s family member may ride in “state” vehicles (owned or rented), per OAR 125-155-0420. When there is mixed use (business & personal) for a rental vehicle; it is the employee’s personal responsibility to pay for adequate insurance which will not be reimbursed.

Private Vehicles - Travel including business trips in the vicinity of the official station may be authorized in advance subject to campus guidelines.  An employee carrying passengers while using a private vehicle for business travel must comply with campus rules. Employees and agents may be authorized to use their privately owned vehicles for official business when it benefits the campus. Expense reimbursement is for use of the vehicle regardless of the number of passengers.

Mileage for the most direct, usually traveled route may be reimbursable at the current published OUS rate. Use the Oregon Mileage Chart within the OUS Fiscal Policy Manual, Travel and Transportation Administration and Expenses 95.100, or actual odometer readings. Out-of-route miles must be justified. Mileage must be from official work station or their home, whichever is less. Travelers may not claim commute mileage from home to official work station as part of their mileage reimbursement request.

If the traveler needs to claim vicinity miles, show the vicinity miles as a separate line item for the location on the reimbursement request form. Private vehicle mileage is reimbursed at the current published OUS rate.

Employees and agents authorized to use their private vehicles for official business are required to have personal automobile liability insurance to provide the primary coverage for any accidents involving that vehicle. State-provided automobile liability coverage will apply on a limited basis after the employee's primary coverage limits have been used. The state does not provide physical damage, uninsured motorist and personal injury protection for private vehicles. State coverage does not apply when the vehicle is used outside the scope and course of employment, such as during vacation time taken in conjunction with a business trip. For additional information, contact Risk Management.

Only authorized passengers may ride in a state-owned vehicle. This includes any vehicle rented through the OSU Motor Pool. See the Motor Pool Policy Manual MPL 201 Authorized Drivers & Passengers for these guidelines.

Transportation by common carrier is recommended when it is more appropriate and economical than travel by state or private vehicle. Fares may be reimbursed or billed to the unit for travel.

Airport shuttle companies in Corvallis make several trips per day to and from the Portland International Airport or the Eugene Airport. This can be a very cost effective way of getting to and from the airport because it eliminates the need to pay mileage reimbursement and airport parking. Scheduled or charter buses may be used. Charter buses are primarily used for team travel.

Trains can be used if justification is provided that it is the most suitable and economical mode of transportation. Coach accommodations should be booked whenever possible. When booking Amtrak tickets through a contracted travel agent, the agent may charge a fee which is paid directly by OSU. A roomette is allowed if special accommodations are approved because of the trip’s nature or the traveler’s health. A bedroom is allowed if no roomette is available.

The use of taxi service, shuttles, ferries and mass transit may be reimbursable. Airport bus service to and from terminals is also reimbursable.