Automobile Insurance

Information regarding automobile insurance for University-related travel can be found below. Coverage under Northwestern’s insurance programs is contingent on the individual being an approved driver and following University safe driving rules outlined here. For questions related to automobile insurance, please contact Leland Roth at

Liability Insurance for University-Owned Vehicles

When you are driving a University-owned vehicle on University business, you are covered under the University’s automobile liability insurance. Insurance cards are located in the glove compartment and visor of the vehicle. Unless otherwise approved, the University’s liability insurance coverage does not extend to the personal use of any University-owned vehicle not associated with University business.

Physical Damage Insurance for University-Owned Vehicles

Accidental damage to University-owned vehicles is covered under the University’s insurance coverage. Departments, individuals or organizations are responsible for the deductible (currently $500) before the insurance coverage applies.

Insurance for Rental Vehicles (Domestic)

As outlined on the Car Rental section of the Travel Services website, faculty and staff are encouraged to rent vehicles from National or Enterprise. When renting from National or Enterprise, insurance is included in the rental agreement at no additional charge to the traveler. The traveler will not be responsible for any damage to the vehicle.

When renting a vehicle through other rental agencies for business travel, travelers should decline any additional insurance coverage. In the event of an accident, travelers, or their departments, are responsible for a $1,000 deductible and any additional fees (such as loss of use) that may apply.

The University does not provide any insurance for vehicles rented for personal, non-business use, even if rented through a University agreement.

Insurance for Rental Vehicles (International)

When renting a vehicle internationally, travelers should purchase a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and the liability insurance offered by the rental agency. This is a reimbursable University expense.

Personal Vehicles

Where possible, faculty and staff are encouraged to avoid using personal vehicles when traveling on business, and instead use the Motor Pool. When you drive your personal vehicle, your automobile insurance becomes primary to any insurance maintained by the University. The University is not responsible for any physical damage to your vehicle which may occur during University business.

The State of Illinois requires that you care automobile insurance and it is recommended to carry liability limits of $100,000 / $300,000 at a minimum.

Reporting Accidents

Northwestern Motor Pool provides valuable information on how to safely respond to an accident. Local police should be contacted and a copy of the local police report obtained.  

All accidents shall be reported to the Office of Risk Management (847-491-4334 or within 24 hours of the accident. Drivers should provide a complete accident report form along with the initial notice. Accidents not reported within 24 hours will have an increased deducible of $1,000.00 applied.

Drivers that fail to contact the Office of Risk Management within 24 hours will lose their driving privilege and any associated student organization will lose its privileges for one year.

Travelers using a personal vehicle also need to report the accident to their insurance carrier.

For additional information, please contact Leland Roth, Assistant Director of Risk Management, at 847.491.4334 or