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Rental Auto Travel

Rental Car Usage Guidelines

Travelers may rent a car to their destination when driving is more convenient and less expensive than airline or rail travel or it is necessary to transport equipment or materials.

Travelers may rent a car at their destination when it is the most convenient or least expensive mode of transportation. Expensive rental rates and parking costs, in addition to the lack of available parking generally makes vehicle rental in large cities impractical. Alternative modes of transportation such as taxis and airport or hotel shuttles should be given first consideration. Travelers are strongly advised to charge the business rental on their Brown University Corporate American Express Card because it automatically covers loss or damage to the rental vehicle.

Anyone driving on University business needs to complete the Driver Authorization Process with their department. All employees renting cars must comply with all rental agency requirements such as listing driver(s) on the rental agreement, age restrictions, location or state of operation, etc., as well as all state and local laws governing operation of a motor vehicle. Violations of any requirement of the law (driving under the influence, traffic violations, careless or reckless driving) are the employee's personal liability.

Auto Rental Decision Guide Flyer

All employees should review the University's safeDRIVE Guidelines/Authorized Driver Requirements .

Class of Service - Rental Car

Travelers may use compact, economy, mid-size and full-size vehicles.. Travelers are responsible for daily rental costs in excess of the approved class code. In certain circumstances (number of individuals traveling together) an exception to this limit may be authorized, but it must be explained in writing and submitted with the Travel Expense Report.

Preferred Rental Car Providers

Effective June 15, 2005, Brown University has selected National Car Rental as Brown's preferred car rental agency. National Car Rental offers discounted rates at all National locations within the U.S. and internationally. For more information on the program and the services available click on the link below.

Rental Car Services with National Car Rental

Brown University has entered into an agreement with Enterprise Rent-A-Car for discounted rental car rates for service locations in the New England area . For information on the program click on link below.

Rental Car Services with Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Authorized Rental Car Drivers

Drivers must be a minimum of 21 years of age and have a valid license of operation however, Zipcar allows drivers 18 years of age.

All individuals who intend to drive the rental vehicle must be listed on the rental agreement for insurance purposes.

Only Brown employees and students, who are renting vehicles for Brown University business purposes, are covered under the University's insurance plan. Spouses, friends and other non-employee listed drivers are covered only under insurance provided by the rental company or under the driver's personal insurance. Cost of this insurance is not a reimbursable expense.

Rental Car Pick-Up and Return

Travelers should check with the rental car agent for any last minute specials or free upgrades.

At the time of rental, the car should be inspected with a rental car agent; any damage found should be noted on the contract before the vehicle is accepted.

Every reasonable effort should be made to return the rental car with a full tank of gas to avoid expensive refueling charges. The fuel purchase option (FPO) offered at time of rental should be accepted if there is a concern about personal safety regarding available refueling locations or if there is an issue of time and/or convenience. Generally, the fuel purchase option is offered at the prevailing local gasoline rate.

Rental Car Insurance

Brown self-insures for this type of financial risk. Therefore, employees traveling on University business in the United States should decline the purchase of the following insurance types:

  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW or LDW) - this type of insurance protects against damage caused to the vehicle. (This coverage is automatically provided if the rental is charged on a Brown University Corporate American Express account.)
  • Liability (SLI, LIS, or LI) - this type of insurance protects against claims made by third parties and is generally provided by the rental company. However, in some states, the law does not require the car rental company to provide liability insurance. If it is not included in the rate, renters should purchase basic liability coverage up to the limit required to make the rental car company insurance primary. Decline any "additional" or "excess" coverage offered. Upon declining this insurance, you may be required to produce evidence of liability insurance. To request a copy of Brown University's auto liability identification card, please click here.
  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
  • Personal Effect Coverage (PEC)
  • Emergency Sickness Protection (ESP)
  • Full insurance should be purchased when renting a twelve or fifteen passenger van . To review the rules on driving and renting a twelve or fifteen passenger van, click here.


When traveling abroad, collision damage and liability insurance should be purchased. Purchase of insurance coverage in some countries is required by law and will be reimbursed.

Any rental involving a university driver under age 25 must have full insurance coverage (collision and liability) through the rental company. Any department anticipating a student driver should contact the Insurance Office, extension 3-1681, for more information.

Personal use of a rental car during a business trip is not covered under University insurance.

Full insurance should be purchased when renting a twelve or fifteen passenger van . To review the rules on driving and renting a twelve or fifteen passenger van, click here.

Rental Car Accidents

Should a rental car accident occur, travelers should submit a written accident report as soon as possible to the rental car company, local authorities (as required), and the Insurance Office, Box 1848, extension 3-1681.

In the case of damage to a rental vehicle, the department will bear a portion of the loss up to $500.00. There will not be a charge to the department if the rental was paid for by the traveler's Brown University Corporate American Express Card.

Rental Car Reimbursement Requirements

The original car rental agreement receipt is required for reimbursement. Agreement estimates do not qualify as receipts because the actual cost may vary from the initial estimate. Vehicle leases must be reviewed and approved by the Purchasing Department.