Automobile Insurance

How UW-Madison minimizes risk through automobile insurance.

Auto insurance is a combination of the state’s self-funded property program for the collision and comprehensive damage, and the state’s self-funded liability program for injury or property damage to a third party or entity.

Property Coverage versus Liability Coverage

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Property Coverage for UW/State Vehicles

Physical damage (commonly known as collision and comprehensive) coverage is provided on most University vehicles, subject to a $1,000 deductible, effective 07/01/2013, through the State’s property program. Theft with no force would be a $2500 deductible and there is no deductible on auto glass, as long as the State Auto Glass contract is used.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage for business automobile use purposes is provided through the State of WI Self-Funded Liability Program. This coverage is available only to UW-Madison drivers that have been approved/authorized by UW-Madison Risk Management prior to driving a vehicle for business purposes and are operating the vehicle in the course and scope of their employment or agency. State of WI Self-Funded Liability Program coverage is primary when operating UW-Madison fleet and/or State of WI vehicles. State of WI Self-Funded Liability Program coverage is secondary to one’s Personal automobile coverage when operating personal vehicle for business purposes and secondary to Rental vehicle insurance when renting a vehicle for business purposes.  See further details on personal and rental vehicles below.

Note – Employee injuries while in a motor vehicle are covered under Workers Compensation.

Use of Personally Owned Vehicles for University Business

Authorized drivers may drive their personally-owned vehicles on University business. If you are not an Authorized Driver please visit our Driver’s Authorization page.

Damages to the employee’s personal vehicle are covered by the employee’s own auto insurance, and the employee is responsible for the insurance deductible. Under no circumstances will the State’s property program pay for the employee’s vehicle repairs.

In the event of a loss, the Authorized driver’s personal auto liability insurance will provide the primary insurance coverage for the loss. The State will only provide excess liability coverage to authorized drivers while using their personally-owned vehicles on University business.

We recommend all authorized drivers who are using their personally owned vehicle carry personal auto liability insurance with limits of at least $100,000/$300,000/$50,000. Employees should consult their insurance carrier to confirm coverage prior to using a personal vehicle for University business. UW-Madison Risk Management recommends use of fleet or contracted rental vehicles for business purposes.

Non-Employee Drivers Medical Payment Insurance

Non-employee drivers (volunteer and students) are not covered under the UW Madison’s Worker’s Compensation program. This insurance program provides limited medical payments coverage for injury to non-employee drivers  of University vehicles. This program is in excess of the driver’s personal insurance.

Rental vehicle insurance

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Use of Contracted Rental Vehicle for University Business

Use of contract rental vehicle suppliers is required unless no contract vendor is available at the location. Also see, how to rent a car or fleet vehicle at UW-Madison.

The Big Ten Alliance contracts include collision damage waiver (CDW) and limited liability insurance coverage for U.S. originating business 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. 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. Other or extra types of insurances are not reimbursable and must be declined. The Hertz contract with the State of Wisconsin also includes the necessary CDW/LDW insurances.

Non-Contracted Vehicle Rental (within U.S./Puerto Rico/District of Columbia)

One must utilized contracted provides whenever available at the location. Vehicle rental CDW and liability insurances must be purchased when renting from non-contract suppliers. Required CDW and liability insurance coverages must be confirmed in contract with rental company prior to accepting vehicle. Business travelers will be reimbursed the cost of standard CDW and liability insurances under these circumstances.

Drivers that reserve and pay for a non-contract rental vehicle with the My Corporate Card have full primary collision insurance benefits that will cover the CDW insurance requirement.

International Vehicle Rentals

The contract vendor rates for international rentals might not include damage waiver (CDW) and liability insurance. Travelers must review contract vendor rental information specific to the location on the UWTravelWIse website (see Big Ten or WSCA) to determine if collision damage waiver and liability insurance is included as part of the negotiated vendor agreement. If insurance is not included, or if it is necessary to rent from a non-contract vendor, all available coverages, insurances and waivers must be fully accepted and purchased (e.g. Collision Damage Waivers/Loss Damage Waivers and full Liability coverages such as Additional Liability Insurance, Liability Insurance Supplement, Supplemental Liability Insurance along with windshield coverage, vehicle theft protection, dust and ash coverage, etc.). Note – Purchasing the insurance coverages at rental company’s desk at time of vehicle pick-up may be required in order to secure these insurance coverages. Confirm all insurances are placed in contract with rental company prior to accepting vehicle. Also, in these circumstances, additional insurances are payable/reimbursable by the University.

Confirm all insurance in contract with rental company in writing prior to accepting vehicle. Purchasing the coverage at vehicle pick up point may be required to secure coverage.

Personal Use of Big Ten Contract

The Big Ten contract allows for personal use by UW employees through a separate process (See UW-Madison Travel page for further details on rentals).  However, personal rentals (non-business use) under the Big Ten contract do not include insurance and no insurance (primary or excess) is provided by UW-Madison or State of WI. Insurance must be purchased separately or other coverage arranged by the individual renter. The renter is fully responsible

Leasing a vehicle

Departments who wish to lease a vehicle must contact Risk Management Department for insurance coverage assessment as additional insurance purchase will be required.

For leasing assistance contact Transportation Services

Passenger Rules

There are different provisions related to passengers in University owned vehicles versus rented or leased vehicles.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

University owned vehicles

In general, only employees, agents, and students are allowed to ride in University/State owned vehicles due to the additional liability exposure posed to both the University and the passenger. Exceptions to this rule arise when transportation is necessary or convenient for individuals who are dealing directly with, or involved in, University business. Passengers who are not employees or agents must have approval from UW Madison Risk Management. Transportation of student athletic teams and students participating in institutional governance activities is considered University business. Other exceptions will be considered when need related to mission of campus.

Rented or leased vehicles

There are no restrictions for passengers under the Big Ten vehicle rental/leasing contract. However, passengers must be pre-authorized by risk management under all other State vehicle rental/leasing contracts.


Risk Management's location

Risk Management
21 North Park Street, Suite 5301
Madison, WI 53715

Email Risk Management

General Risk Management

Driver Authorization and Automobile

Worker’s Compensation