314 Vehicle Use/Rental Policy

UW-Madison Administrative Policy
Policy # 314

Effective Date: Oct 1, 2015
Last Updated: July 1, 2020
Last Reviewed: Jul 1, 2020
Next Review: December 31, 2020

Functional Owner: Associate Vice Chancellor, Division of Business Services, Dan Langer
Executive Sponsor: Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration, Laurent Heller
Policy Contact: Expense Reimbursement Program Manager, Division of Business Services, Graig Brooks graig.brooks@wisc.edu

Policy Summary

The University will pay or reimburse for business use of a vehicle.  Employees must be authorized drivers prior to using a vehicle on University business.  Vehicle options include using a personal vehicle, renting a vehicle, or utilizing the University’s fleet of vehicles.  Travelers are expected to utilize the most cost effective option when traveling by vehicle.

Who This Policy Applies To

Faculty, staff, students, and non-employees traveling on or arranging University-sponsored travel


The University has a managed travel program. Travel policy is established to ensure prudent use of University resources while ensuring the safety of travelers and minimizing the administrative burden on travelers and support staff.

Policy Detail

I. Driver Authorization.University employees who operate a vehicle on UW business – whether utilizing a personal vehicle, fleet vehicle, or rental vehicle – must be authorized to drive by UW-Madison Risk Management.  Non-authorized drivers will not be reimbursed for vehicle-related expenses.  Non-employees are not required to be authorized drivers unless they are:

  1. A current UW student or,
  2. A volunteer on behalf of UW

II. Personal Vehicle Mileage. Personal vehicle mileage is reimbursable at the federal mileage rate:

Type of Vehicle Standard Rate (as of 1/1/20) Standard Rate (prior to 1/1/19) Turndown Rate (as of 1/1/20) Turndown Rate (prior to 1/1/20)
Automobile $0.575 $0.58 $0.37 $0.375
Motorcycle $0.545 $0.515 N/A N/A
  1. Turndown Rate
    • Trips exceeding 300 miles roundtrip will be reimbursed at the turndown rate.
    • Travelers who do not have access to fleet vehicles (e.g. non-employees, employees not headquartered in Madison) are not subject to the turndown rate.
  2. Documentation: mileage reimbursements must be documented by a MapQuest or GoogleMaps printout or screenshot. A 10% tolerance may be used to account for detours, incidental miles, etc.  An explanation must be provided for mileage claims that exceed the direct route by more than 10%.

III. Reimbursable Mileage. Commute mileage is non-reimbursable.  Mileage reimbursements which depart from or return to a traveler’s home may be reduced accordingly.

  1. Travel to/from regularly assigned work location: business-related mileage is fully reimbursable when traveling to/from assigned work location.
  2. Travel to/from home (workday): reimbursement for business-related mileage which starts or ends at the traveler’s home cannot exceed what the mileage reimbursement would have been had the traveler started or ended at their assigned work location. Travelers are reimbursed the lesser of:
    • Mileage to/from their personal residence to/from their destination, or,
    • Mileage to/from their assigned work location to/from their destination
  3. Non-Workday Travel: business-related mileage which occurs on a day when the traveler would not have otherwise been expected to be at their assigned work location (e.g. weekends, legal holidays) is fully reimbursable. No reduction is made when traveler departs from/returns to their home.
  4. Airport, Train Station or other Transportation Terminal Drop Off: Travelers may be reimbursed for the mileage for two round trips to/from the drop-off site in lieu of incurring mileage and parking costs at a commercial transportation terminal.

IV. Vehicle Rental. Travelers must use the Big Ten Alliance contract with Enterprise and National Car Rental when renting a vehicle for business use.  If Enterprise and National do not serve the location of travel, the State of Wisconsin contract with Hertz must be used.  If neither of these is available, a non-contract vendor may be used.

  1. What to Book: Vehicle rentals are limited to mid-size SUV vehicle classes and below unless a documented business need requires a larger class of vehicle.
  2. Booking Methods: Contract rentals through Enterprise, National, or Hertz must be booked through Concur or directly with the University’s contracted travel agency. If Enterprise, National or Hertz do not serve a particular location and another vendor must be used, travelers are encouraged, but not required, to use the same methods to reserve a vehicle.
  3. Personal Use: Personal use of the Big Ten Alliance contract is permitted, but reservations must be made through the personal use portal. The daily and weekly rates are the same when using the Big Ten Alliance contract for personal use, but travelers must pay additional costs for insurances.
  4. Gasoline: The cost of gasoline for a rental vehicle is payable/reimbursable. Travelers are responsible for refueling the rental vehicle prior to returning it.  The cost of vendor refueling of rental vehicles or prepay fuel packages will not be paid or reimbursed.  Receipts are required for all gasoline reimbursements.
  5. Other Equipment and Services: Other equipment and services (e.g. GPS, satellite radio, roadside assistance protection) are not contracted for and will not be paid or reimbursed by the University.
  6. Insurance Provisions:
      • Domestic Rentals: The University’s vehicle rental contracts include collision (CDW) and liability (LDW) insurance coverage for U.S. originating rentals. Other or extra types of insurances are not payable/reimbursable and must be declined.
      • International Rentals: The Big Ten agreement offers rates and some insurance coverage for international rentals, but travelers are advised that rates and coverages vary by rental location. All insurances made available by the merchant are payable/reimbursable on international vehicle rentals.
      • Non-contract rentals: Vehicle rental CDW and LDW insurances must be purchased when renting from non-contract suppliers.

Travelers and those that arrange travel for others must review the rental vehicle contracts for rates, surcharges and included coverages prior to renting a vehicle. Employees must verify that the Big Ten or WSCA (State of Wisconsin) contract ID number is referenced on the rental agreement to assure contract coverage, appropriate terms and rates. Drivers that reserve and pay for a non-contract rental vehicle with the University Corporate Travel Card have insurance benefits that will cover this insurance requirement. Refer to your benefit guide that came with your card.

V. Fleet Vehicles: The University has a fleet of vehicles that can be reserved for business use. See Transportation Services’ website for more information.

VI. Accident Reporting: Regardless of the vehicle option chosen, travelers must report any accidents to:

  • Risk Management
  • UW Police Department
  • University supervisor/manager or host

Consequences for Noncompliance

Failure to comply with UW-Madison Travel Policy or Procedures may result in disciplinary steps, up to and including dismissal.

Supporting Tools 

UW TravelWIse
Concur Travel Booking Tool
Vehicle Rental – Personal Use Portal
Fleet Portal


Assigned Work Location: traveler’s primary work location as noted in their employment documentation (e.g. position description).  For employees with multiple worksites, the employing department must determine which location qualifies as the primary assigned work location.  This is also commonly referred to as the travelers headquarter location.

Commute Mileage: mileage between the traveler’s home and the traveler’s assigned work location.

Fleet Vehicle: a vehicle owned by the state that may be used by employees for business use.

Managed Travel Program: established policies, procedures, and best practices – universally applied to all travelers – designed to protect travelers, reduce costs, and allow for effective reporting while minimizing administrative burdens on travelers, travel arrangers, and travel approvers.

Non-Employee: an individual traveling on behalf of the University who does not have a current employee appointment.  Non-employees include contractors, volunteers, former employees and students, among others.  Travel policies apply to non-employees the same as employees.

Standard Rate: established by the federal government, it is $0.575/mile as of 1/1/2020.

Traveler: an individual (employee, student, or non-employee) who has been authorized to travel on behalf of the University on office University business or sanctioned purpose.  All University travelers are required to comply with University policies and procedures.

Turndown Rate: established by the University, it is $0.37/mile as of 1/1/2020.  The turndown rate is intended to encourage use of Fleet vehicles or other transportation options for longer trips.

University-sponsored travel: travel which is either:

  • paid for in full or in part by the University
  • paid directly or indirectly by the University
  • organized by the University with participants or sponsors paying
  • organized by others outside the University and paid for by the University
  • sponsored by the University in the form of name, organization, communication, management, staffing, transportation, or space provision.


Traveler/Travel Arranger-

  • Research and utilize the most cost effective vehicle option
  • Utilize contract vendors
  • Get authorized to drive by Risk Management prior to travel
  • Report accidents immediately
  • Retain all necessary documentation including rental contract and fleet invoice


Link to Related guide

Link to Related Policies and Procedures


Policy Number: 314
Date Approved:
Revision Dates:


  • Added “What to Book” under Vehicle Rental
  • Added “prepay fuel packages” as a non-payable/non-reimbursable expense
  • Added “Insurance Provisions” under Vehicle Rental


  • Allowable class of vehicle rental increased to mid-size SUV
  • Clarified reimbursable mileage
  • Updated definitions, links, supporting tools