Policy Steward: 
Director of Vendor Payment Strategies
Format Updated: 
University Policy & Standards Converted: 
Revision Date: 
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

* This information replaces FIS 411-02 Ground Transportation


Vehicle rental expenses may be reimbursed when the traveler is on official University business and when it is the most economical/efficient means of transportation. Rental cars may be used in conjunction with travel by common carrier when use is reasonable and authorized in advance. Receipts are required for vehicle rental and gas utilized.  OSU employees and students as authorized drivers should consider renting vehicles from the OSU Motor Pool as they can direct bill your department, provide insurance, and a gas card.

University travelers must rent compact or economy cars whenever possible. The rental of SUVs and luxury vehicles is not allowed, unless it can be shown to be in the University’s best interest as a cost savings for group travel or for a need to transport large pieces of equipment/gear to accompany travel. 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.

Refueling of the rental car is the responsibility of the traveler. The most economical way is to refuel the car before returning the rental vehicle to the rental agency. If the traveler is unable to refuel from an outside vendor, then the rental company may charge over the market rate plus a service charge for refueling.

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).

When renting from the OSU Motor Pool, the University’s insurance will cover the cost of damage to a rental car and/or third party liabilities. The Unit renting the vehicle will be responsible to pay the deductible.  Each occurrence has a $5,000 deductible.

Employees may use the State of Oregon Contracts for rental cars. The contract price with Enterprise Rent-a-Car and National Car Rental includes a loss damage waiver and liability insurance; therefore, any additional insurance should be declined and is not a reimbursable expense. The loss damage waiver and liability insurance under this contract is valid in the United States, U.S. possessions, and U.S. territories.

Employees not using the State of Oregon Contract with Enterprise Rent-a-Car or National Car Rental must purchase limited collision damage waiver (CDW), also known as loss damage waiver (LDW) and the liability insurance supplement (LIS), also known as supplemental liability insurance (SLI). Personal accident insurance (PAI) should be declined and is not a reimbursable expense.

OSU Risk Management recommends utilizing transportation vendors (e.g. charter service, coach/bus services) when traveling internationally.

If it is necessary for the traveler to have a rental vehicle outside of the United States,  contact OSU Risk Management at least two weeks in advance of the travel to discuss the risks involved and the specific insurance that should be purchased. Foreign car insurance will be reimbursed.


The driver 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
  • Police report
  • Description and photos 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

The accident must be reported to the OSU Risk Management Office within 24 hours using the OSU Auto Accident Report Form. Failure to timely report an accident may impact insurance coverage. The driver must keep a copy of all pertinent information and provide copies to OSU Risk Management to assist in managing a claim. This includes all data collected, accident and police reports, repair estimates, and a receipt for any payment made.

The driver MUST file an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report with the DMV, if any of the following apply: damage to the vehicle is over $1,500, damage to another’s property is over $1,500, any vehicle has damage over $1,500, any vehicle is towed from the scene as a result of damages, an injury has occurred (no matter how minor), or death occurs. Typically, this report will need to be filed in advance of getting an estimate of damage so the report should be completed, if the driver believes the value is over $1,500.

When a rented vehicle is damaged in an accident and the CDW has not been purchased, the rental agency may require payment even when a third party is at fault. The driver should contact OSU Risk Management as soon as possible so the situation can be discussed with the rental agency.  If the rental agency still requires immediate payment, the driver may charge the cost of damages to a personal credit card and file for reimbursement. It should be noted that a $5,000 deductible will apply to the Unit.


When non-employees (seminar speakers, interviewees, etc.) are invited to OSU and a car rental is anticipated, the traveler may be personally responsible for the costs and should work with their hosting department for direct billing options. It must be made clear to the traveler that they ARE NOT COVERED by University Insurance and they should check with their own insurance company to determine their rental vehicle coverage.

  • 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 purchase a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). It will be reimbursed.

Per OSU Standard 576-0035-0020, non-state employees and non-students riding in state-owned or hired vehicles may do so only when authorized by the appropriate budget authority, at no additional cost to the University, and at their own risk or the personal risk of the driver. When there is mixed use (business & personal) for a hired vehicle, it is the employee’s personal responsibility to pay for adequate insurance which will not be reimbursed.

Using a 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 must comply with OSU Policy #576-035 Use and Safety Rules for Travel in State-Owned or Controlled Vehicles. Employees and agents may be authorized to use their privately owned vehicles for official business when it benefits the University. Mileage reimbursement is for use of the vehicle regardless of the number of passengers.

Mileage for the most direct, usually traveled route may be reimbursed at the current state rate. Use the Oregon Mileage Chart, Google Maps, Mapquest, or actual odometer readings for the calculation. Out-of-route miles must be justified. Mileage must be from official work station or the employee’s home, whichever is less. Travelers may not claim commute mileage from home to official work station as part of their mileage reimbursement request.

If a family member or friend drives you to or from an airport or train station, you are entitled to claim round-trip mileage reimbursement for each round-trip, not to exceed the one way cost of a taxi or shuttle to the airport or train station.

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 OSU rate. Documentation must be submitted for reimbursement for travel outside the State of Oregon or other mileage that needs justification.

Employees and agents authorized to use their private vehicles for official business are required to have personal automobile insurance including liability, uninsured motorist, and personal injury protection to provide the primary coverage for any accidents involving that vehicle. OSU automobile liability coverage will apply after the employee's primary coverage limits have been exhausted. OSU does not provide physical damage, uninsured motorist or personal injury protection for private vehicles. OSU automobile liability 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 OSU 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.

Other Types of Transportation

Transportation by commercial carrier is recommended when it is more appropriate and economical than travel by motor pool 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.  Departments have the option to charge shuttle expenses to a purchasing card.

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 need for accommodation should be requested at the time of booking.

The cost of taxi service, shuttles, ferries and mass transit (including a reasonable tip) is reimbursable. Airport bus service to and from terminals is also reimbursable.

Resource: Quick Reference Guide on Insurance and Claims: Ground Transportation