Stanford University Risk Management Department

Guidelines for University Vehicles, Rentals, Accident Reporting and Personal Vehicles

This memorandum has been prepared to answer the most common questions which are raised concerning the University's automobile insurance protection and accident reporting procedures.


A. Stanford-Owned Vehicles and Government-Owned Vehicles Used by the University
  • Liability

    Stanford's insurance provides bodily injury and property damage liability insurance protection to all Stanford employees and any other person who is given permission to drive Stanford-owned vehicles or Government-owned vehicles assigned to the University. It is not prudent to publicize the amount of insurance; therefore, any person wanting specific information concerning the amount of insurance should telephone the Insurance Manager at extension 3-4555 or 3-0042.

  • Physical Damage

    Stanford "self-insures" for damage due to fire, theft, and collision on its vehicles. If you are involved in an accident which is due to your negligence, your department will usually have to pay the first $1,000 toward the cost of repairing Stanford's vehicle. The cost of fire, theft and collision insurance does not justify the procurement of such insurance, even with sizable deductibles, when compared to the loss experience over the years.

B. Rented or Borrowed Vehicles

Stanford University Driving Guidelines: and


Car Rental Tips for Stanford Business Trips

Below are some tips for any one who rents vehicles while traveling on Stanford business:

  • Stanford's self-insurance plan provides coverage for physical damage (i.e. fire, theft, vandalism) and collision liability to vehicles rented for Stanford business. Stanford University has been approved to self-insure under S.I. 92 in the state of California. Therefore, be sure to waive insurance offered by rental agency while traveling in the United States.

  • The rental agency will insure only the drivers who are listed on the rental contract.

  • Notify the agency in advance if the vehicle will be going out of the state.

  • Most rental insurance covers travel only on paved roads.

  • The Stanford Bookstore is offering rental car services to minimize the inconvenience of off-campus travel.

    Transportation is with Enterprise Rent-a-Car, one of the nation's largest rental car services.

    Enterprise will offer Stanford students and faculty a 15 to 20 percent discount off normal rental car rates, as well as special promotional deals set up around the University's academic calendar.

    More importantly, Enterprise will allow rentals to students between the ages of 18 and 21, an age group normally denied the privilege because of its high insurance risk. Many agencies will not rent to drivers under 25, and 21 is generally the youngest age people can rent cars.

    However, Enterprise will allow rentals to students 18 and over if they provide a Stanford ID, proof of full insurance coverage and a credit card in their own name. Local phone number is: (650) 833-8060.

  • California Motor Vehicle Code: 12804.9 requires a Class B driver's license for drivers of van of ten (10) or more passengers (including the driver.)

  • With the rental agent, thoroughly examine the interior and exterior of the vehicle and confirm that the vehicle is undamaged BEFORE you check it out and when you turn it in. Ask the agent to note the condition of the vehicle, and write a description of any damage on the rental agreement.


  • Most rental agreements stipulate that the driver is responsible for all loss or damage to the rented vehicle if:

    (a) the driver leaves the state in which vehicle is rented without agency's permission;

    (b) the driver is under the influence of intoxicants and/or drugs;

    (c) the driver is under 21 years of age;

    (d) the vehicle is used for any illegal purposes.

    (e) the vehicle is used on unpaved roads.

    (f) the vehicle is left unlocked and/or with keys left in the vehicle.

C. Personal Vehicles

  • Liability

    Stanford's liability insurance policy may provide excess liability insurance protection to a driver authorized under the terms of Administrative Guide Memo 8.4.2, Vehicle Use, while using his or her own vehicle in connection with official University activities, subject to the following:

    (a) the authorized driver's insurance is primary and will be applicable before Stanford's insurance program will defend or pay any claim;

    (b) in any event, all authorized drivers who are using their personally owned vehicles in connection with official University activities more than 20 hours per month are required to carry automobile liability limits of bodily injury $100,000 each person/ $300,000 each accident and property damage $100,000 each accident OR a combined single limit of bodily injury/property damage $300,000 any one accident must be carried as a minimum vehicle insurance coverage. These minimum insurance coverages are strongly recommended for individuals who drive personal vehicles in connection with official University activities less than 20 hours per month; at a minimum, those individuals must have the minimum insurance coverage required by the jurisdiction in which the vehicle is registered.

  • Physical Damage

    Stanford does not provide any insurance protection for fire, theft or collision loss or damage to the employee's vehicle. The employee's department should pay the deductible for damage to an employee's vehicle used in connection with official University activities, up to $1,000.

  • If you frequently use your vehicle in connection with official University activities, consult your insurance agent or broker to make sure your insurance coverage meets your needs.


In case you are involved in an accident, obtain the following information and give it to your supervisor:
  1. the description, nature and extent of damage to other property or vehicles. This should include license number, make and model of car, name of owner and address, name of driver, address, driver's license number and state, and date of birth;
  2. name of the insurance company of the other driver or drivers, policy number and expiration date, and policy holder's name and address;
  3. time, place and date of accident;
  4. name, address and nature of injury to any persons injured in accident;
  5. names, addresses and telephone numbers of any passengers or other witnesses. At no time admit liability, make any reimbursement, or admit fault in connection with any accident. To do so would jeopardize the insurance company's position in protecting Stanford's and your interest and could, in fact, void the insurance policy.
Accidents should be reported by your supervisor as soon as conveniently possible to Risk Management at 723-4555. An online form is available for your use.


As specified in the Administrative Guide, Memo 8.4.2: "University vehicles may be used only in connection with official University activities." A driver may only operate a vehicle in connection with University activities if he or she meets the criteria specified in this Guide Memo.

© 1998 Stanford University. All Rights Reserved; Questions/comments/suggestions to Risk Management.
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