2357 Travel and Entertainment

Rental Cars

Document purpose

To provide travel guidelines regarding the use of rental cars when traveling on behalf of the University.


April, 2015


October, 2023


May, 2024

Responsible Office

Procurement Services


Procurement Services


This policy applies to the procurement of rental cars by and for all faculty, staff, students and postdocs renting a vehicle on behalf of the University and seeking reimbursement for related expenses from the University, regardless of the funding source.

Faculty, Staff, Student, PostDoc Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Penn traveler to have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record if renting a vehicle on University sponsored travel.  Penn has preferred pricing with Enterprise/National.   The rates include primary insurance for liability and physical damage.

Prior to renting a vehicle for University travel, individuals must successfully complete the applicable driver safety courses. The courses can be accessed in Workday Learning.

Individuals involved in an auto accident are required to retake, and successfully complete, the applicable courses.

Recertification of the driver safety courses is required every 3 years.

Full responsibilities of the employee, student or postdoc can be found in Policy #2352.

Responsibility of Approvers

Approvers perform a critical control function for the University. Collectively, approvers ensure that expense reports processed for payment are complete, appropriately funded, compliant with policy and are associated with activities that have a valid and necessary business purpose. If an individual rents a vehicle from a supplier other than Enterprise/National, the approver should approve the additional insurance expense.  The Designated Approver may ask the renter to substantiate why the rental was secured with a non-preferred supplier.  Designated approvers should assist individuals, as necessary, with understanding applicable policies and compliance requirements.

Full responsibilities of approvers can be found in Policy #2352.


Rental cars should be booked through SAP Concur online booking tool or the University’s dedicated portal. Preferred rates and insurance coverage are only available when booking through these methods.

By booking through the University’s preferred car rental agency (currently Enterprise/National), no additional insurance coverage is required.

If the University’s preferred rental agency cannot accommodate the rental request, the individual may rent a vehicle from another rental agency. In such an instance, the individual must purchase the maximum coverage of insurance required by the rental agency to include the loss damage waiver (LDW/CDW), supplemental liability coverage, and personal accident insurance (PAI). The individual should provide the business purpose and reason why the preferred vendor could not accommodate the request to the Designated Approver.  This information may be required to support the approval of the expense report.

The size of the rental car should be the least expensive model consistent with the number of travelers and the business purpose of the trip.

  1. Travelers are authorized to use rental cars based on the cost efficiency and availability of other means of transportation.
  2. Legitimate car rental costs include daily rental fees, local and state taxes, concession fees, mileage fees and drop-off Non-reimbursable costs include, but are not limited to, unnecessary upgrades, car repairs, tickets and fines. Travelers should minimize the associated rental car expenses on behalf of the University such as refueling the car to avoid excessive refueling fees at the time of return.
  3. Penn employees are expected to decline the loss damage waiver (LDW/ CDW) option, supplemental liability coverage, personal accident insurance (PAI) and other additional insurance options when renting a car for business purposes from the preferred supplier, Enterprise/National on domestic If Penn drivers are unfamiliar with this policy and accept any of the insurance options listed above, they will not be reimbursed for any of these costs.
    1. Coverage options such as LDW/ CDW (damage to the vehicle) and supplemental liability are included when you use Penn’s corporate ID numbers with National/
    2. Any insurance provided by the rental car company is primary and is supplemented by Penn’s insurance Any additional questions about car rental insurance should be directed to the Office of Risk Management at dofriskmgmt@upenn.edu.
    3. All travelers who intend to drive the rental vehicle must be listed on the rental agreement for insurance The additional driver fees are waived in most locations at National/Enterprise.
    4. Travelers must report all accident to the rental agency, department manager, and Risk Management immediately. Refer to Policy # 2607.
    5. Faculty, staff, authorized students, and postdocs must successfully complete the applicable driver safety courses. The courses can be accessed in Workday Learning when renting a vehicle on University sponsored travel.
  4. Students are not covered under the University’s insurance policy unless specifically authorized by a School or Center to rent a car.
    • Students may use the University’s corporate ID numbers only when all of the following conditions are met:
      • They are renting a vehicle for a School-sponsored event
      • The rental has been authorized by a School or department
      • They are 21 years of age or older
      • They have a valid driver’s license
      • They have a clean driving record
      • They have successfully completed the applicable driver safety courses. The courses can be accessed in Workday Learning.
    • If students have met the criteria listed above and are renting a car from National or Enterprise (using the Corp ID#), the insurance is included.
    • The University’s Travel Services reserves the right to determine whether renting a car is necessary for student groups or if other modes of transportation are more appropriate. The University will not authorize or complete any Additional Insured Endorsement forms on behalf of student drivers.
  5. When traveling internationally on business, a University employee is authorized to accept both the loss damage waiver (LDW/ CDW) and additional liability coverage. Refer to Policy #2607.2. Any additional questions about international car rental insurance should be directed to the Risk Management office at dofriskmgmt@upenn.edu.
  6. Personal/leisure travel. Employees may not use the Corporate ID numbers with National/Enterprise.