Automobile Insurance

How UW–Madison minimizes risk through automobile insurance.

Auto insurance is a combination of the state’s self-funded property program for 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 $1000 deductible (effective July 1, 2013), through the State’s property program.

Theft with no force has a $2500 deductible.

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 who are: 1) approved/authorized by UW–Madison Risk Management prior to driving a vehicle for business purposes and 2) 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 a personal vehicle for business purposes, and
  • rental vehicle insurance when renting a vehicle for business purposes.

See further details on personal and rental vehicles in the sections below.

Note – Employee injuries while in a motor vehicle are covered under Worker’s Compensation.

Use of personally owned vehicles for university business

UW–Madison Risk Management recommends use of fleet or contracted rental vehicles for business purposes. However, authorized drivers may drive their personally-owned vehicles on University business. (Information on how to become authorized is available on the Driver 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.

Back to top

Non-employee drivers medical payment insurance

Non-employee drivers (volunteer and students) are not covered under the UW–Madison’s Worker’s Compensation program. The non-employee drivers medical payment 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.

Back to top

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 of travel. Learn how to use a vehicle during UW business travel

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 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 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)

Using a non-contracted rental agency is only allowed if no contact vendor is available at the location of travel. Vehicle rental collision damage waiver (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 who 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 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 the vehicle. Also, in these circumstances, additional insurances are payable/reimbursable by the University.

Personal use of Big Ten contract

The Big Ten contract allows for personal use by UW employees through a separate process (See the 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.

Considerations in advance of rental: if renting outside of the Big Ten contract (see above section for allowed exceptions), you must select a rental company that offers insurance, including limited liability and physical damage/collision damage waiver (CDW). It is recommended you research rental companies in advance to ensure you can purchase the required insurance coverage for the full rental period.

Note: Any damage not covered by insurance—such as off-road use or other restrictions imposed by rental agency—will be the full financial responsibility of the renting campus School, College, or Division (S/C/D). This includes any deductible or insurance coverage exclusions under the Big Ten contract’s coverage.

Back to top

Leasing a vehicle

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

Contact Transportation Services – Fleet Services for leasing options.

Back to top

Passenger rules

Non-UW employees or agents are prohibited from riding in University/State Owned vehicles.

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

Reminder: all drivers for University business purposes, regardless of the vehicle utilized, must be driver authorized in advance of vehicle use.

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

University-owned vehicles

Per State of Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) and Universities of Wisconsin policies only employees, agents, and students are allowed to ride in University/State owned vehicles. No other external passengers are allowed in University/State owned vehicles.

Rare exceptions to this rule arise when transportation is necessary for individuals who are dealing directly with or involved in official University business, and no other reasonable transportation is available or the transportation arrangement is most practical for University business purposes. Passengers in University/State owned vehicles who are not employees, agents, or students, must have written approval in advance from the Office of Risk Management. Exception requests with detailed University business justification must be submitted to at least five (5) business days prior to the trip.

For guidance on passenger allowances in all vehicle situations, see information in the UW System Administrative (UWSA) Policy 615 – Vehicle use and Driver Authorization.

Rented or leased vehicles

For guidance on passenger allowances in all vehicle situations, see information in the UW System Administrative (UWSA) Policy 615 – Vehicle use and Driver Authorization. Options may include renting a vehicle via the Big Ten Contract or utilizing your personal vehicle.


Risk Management's location

Risk Management
21 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53715

Note – Please contact the appropriate topic area’s email address with questions and/or to schedule an in-person meeting. Advanced meeting scheduling is necessary in order to meet with Risk Management staff; drop-in appointments are not available.

Email Risk Management

General Risk Management

Driver Authorization and Automobile

Worker’s Compensation