Vehicle Coverage Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is eligible to operate State Fleet vehicles?

Only state of North Dakota employees are authorized to operate state, rented, or leased/courtesy vehicles while conducting state business.  Some volunteers, including students, if acting in an official capacity on behalf of the State, may be considered temporary employees and allowed to use state vehicles for those purposes.  Drivers must possess a valid driver’s license.  State Fleet Services Policy Manual

All state employees, volunteers, students and seasonal employees must complete SFN 61420 State Fleet Driver Agreement if they are or will be driving a state fleet vehicle for official state business. This form must be completed before operating a state vehicle.  State Fleet Services Policy Manual

Who is authorized to ride in State Fleet vehicles?

Primarily state employees.  Drivers may NOT transport their spouses, children, animals, or hitchhikers in state vehicles.  Some non-employees may be authorized to ride in State Fleet vehicles, if necessary, for ‘official state business’ (i.e. to further the business purpose of the program, agency, or State).    

 

What is considered authorized use of a State Fleet vehicle?

State law (N.D.C.C. §39-01-03) prohibits ‘private use’ of State Fleet vehicles.  Further, the Tort Claims Act (N.D.C.C. 32-12.2) provides that liability coverage only applies to activities within the scope of an employee’s employment.  Essentially, ‘authorized use’ is limited to travel that is necessary in the performance of an employee’s official duties.

 

When I travel for business, what is considered authorized use of a State Fleet vehicle?

Activities that are necessary to further the purpose of state business are authorized, i.e., driving to the place where state business is to be conducted, hotel, necessary meals, fueling sites.

Please consult your agency legal counsel for questions related to agency-specific authorized use for state business.

When I travel for business, what is NOT considered authorized use of a State Fleet vehicle?

Activities that are NOT necessary to further the purpose of state business are not authorized, i.e., commuting to and from your home, shopping, sight-seeing, visiting friends or relatives, movies, gym/fitness center, other personal errands.

Do the rules change for rental or leased/courtesy vehicles?

No. Only individuals acting in official capacity of the State may operate or ride in a rented or leased/courtesy vehicle – the same as a State Fleet vehicle. Further, only ‘authorized’ activities can be covered by the Risk Management Fund. Coverage for rented or leased vehicles transporting family members or used for personal pursuits must be separately purchased or provided under the employee’s existing personal insurance.

What happens if I am in an accident while engaging in unauthorized activities with a fleet, rental, or leased/courtesy vehicle?

The Risk Management Fund would not be responsible for losses resulting from an employee’s unauthorized use of vehicles. Determination of coverage will be made after review of the accident report and any necessary investigation.

Before Risk Management can make any payment on a claim, documentation will need to be provided from the employee and/or a supervisor verifying that the driving activities were within the scope of the employee’s employment.

I had a vehicle accident while conducting state business and within the scope of my employment. Now what do I do?

NDDOT State Fleet Services Policy Manual states that vehicle collisions need to be investigated by law enforcement.

A Risk Management Fund Motor Vehicle case report must be completed within 24 hours of the incident.  The driver of the State Fleet vehicle is required to complete the necessary report at https://omb.nd.gov/incidentreporting

 

If I am in an accident while conducting state business, what do I say when the other party or law enforcement asks for the name of the insurance company and policy number?

You can tell the other party and/or law enforcement that liability coverage is the North Dakota Risk Management Fund, pursuant to N.D.C.C.ch. 32-12.2. There technically is not a policy number because the coverage is by statute, rather than an independent insurance company. State Fleet vehicles should have an insurance card (example below) with this information in the packet given to the driver at checkout.

ND State Fleet Vehicle Liability Identification Card

Also available are Risk Management Claims Cards (example below), which have been distributed to all State entities. These Cards can be provided to any party that reports an injury or property damage caused by the State or a state employee and is inquiring about filing a claim or recovering damages.

  • Simply provide the Claims Card to the party and inform them that they can call Risk Management for more information.
  • By using this process, you will not be in a position to answer questions regarding payment or advising members of the public about the claims procedures.

Risk Management Claim Card

What coverage is available when a STATE FLEET vehicle is involved in an accident?

There are three (3) types of coverages that may apply in the event you are involved in an accident while operating a State Fleet vehicle within the scope of employment:

  1. Property Damage: Damage to State Fleet vehicles is covered by State Fleet’s self-insurance. State Fleet does not purchase coverage through a private insurance carrier.
  2. Liability: Damage to other vehicles (third parties), injuries to the occupants of the other vehicles, and other property is covered by the Risk Management Fund, pursuant to N.D.C.C. ch. 32-12.2, when the State or a state employee’s actions are negligent. The coverage includes leased or rental vehicles while operated for state business.
  3. Worker’s Compensation: Injuries to state employees are covered by the Risk Management Worker’s Compensation Program.
Can I use my PERSONAL vehicle while conducting state business?

Yes. Although, it is statutory that employees shall use a state-owned vehicle whenever possible (N.D.C.C. § 54-06-09), state employees may obtain authorization from their supervisor to use their personal vehicle on state business.

What coverage is available when a PERSONAL vehicle is used for state business is involved in an accident?

If a State Fleet vehicle was available and the state employee chose to use his or her personal vehicle, the employee’s personal vehicle insurance would be primary. This includes routine in town trips for business related purposes. The employee’s insurance would be the coverage for all of the damages resulting from the accident, i.e. physical damage to all of the vehicles and injuries to occupants of other vehicles. In addition, any insurance deductible payment would be the employee’s responsibility.

If a State Fleet vehicle was NOT available, the Risk Management Fund would be primary, covering damages to other vehicles (third parties) and injuries to occupants of other vehicles. The state of North Dakota provides “third-party” liability coverage and does not pay for physical damage to an employee’s personal vehicle.

Injuries to state employees are covered by the Risk Management Worker’s Compensation Program.

If the employee was using his or her personal vehicle, Risk Management will need documentation from the employee’s supervisor verifying that the employee was conducting official state business at the time the accident occurred.

If I rent a car for state business, should I purchase the liability insurance they offer?

Employees must avail themselves to the State Cooperative Contract for Vehicle Rental - Nationwide administered by the OMB State Procurement Office. OMB Fiscal Policy 518 provides that agencies must use state contracts that include liability coverage and damage waiver as part of the base rental rate. 

If a vehicle is not available through the state cooperative contract for vehicle rentals, agencies must purchase the collision and comprehensive liability insurance from the rental company, including rentals in other countries (e.g., Canada, Mexico).

Personal use of a rental car is not covered under the Risk Management Fund and would be the responsibility of the employee’s personal insurance.

How does coverage apply if I rent a car for state business and my spouse or other non-state employee travels with me?

When non-state employees are in the vehicle, it would be considered personal use of the rental, which is not covered under the Risk Management Fund. All damages would be the responsibility of the employee’s personal insurance or coverage purchased through the rental company.

How does coverage apply to LEASED/COURTESY vehicles?

Automobile liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage is provided by the Risk Management Fund under the following conditions:

  • The operator/driver must be an employee of the state of North Dakota;
  • The vehicle must be used for state business;
  • The employee must be operating within the scope of the employee’s employment (state business);
  • The only occupants authorized in the leased/courtesy vehicle are employees of the state of North Dakota, and those non-employees necessary in order to conduct state business.

If the employee intends to use the courtesy/leased vehicle for personal use, which includes transportation of persons that are not employees of the state of North Dakota (i.e. family members, significant other), the employee must purchase his/her personal insurance coverage for that particular use. Risk Management will not cover losses under these circumstances. Proof of personal insurance must be provided to the designated department prior to any personal use. That designated department and Risk Management will provide guidance on the necessary levels of insurance coverage to purchase for the courtesy/leased vehicle.

If my agency hires a consultant or presenter and he/she needs to rent a car, should liability insurance be purchased from the rental company?

The Risk Management Fund cannot provide liability coverage for non-state employees, such as independent consultant’s or presenters. If the consultant or presenter does not purchase the additional liability coverage from the rental company, his/her personal insurance coverage will apply to the rental car.

Is anything special required to drive 15-passenger vans?

Yes. ALL operators of large passenger vans must complete a web-based training program and in addition, “non-exempt” operators will be required to complete the behind-the-wheel component.

Review and be familiar with the information in the NDDOT State Fleet Services Policy Manual.

It’s not mine . . .why should I care if I have an accident with a State Fleet vehicle?

All accidents involving vehicles being operated by state employees are reviewed by the North Department of Transportation and/or the agency employing the person involved in the accident. Further, more serious accidents may be reviewed by the Risk Management Motor Vehicle Accident Review Board. The findings of the reviewer(s) will be given to the employee and the Agency Head. If the reviewer determines that the accident was preventable recommended actions for the employee will be given to the Agency Head.

Remember that driving a vehicle owned by the State is a privilege of a state employee, rather than a right and this privilege can be prohibited if circumstances warrant.

Does the Risk Management Fund cover property if it is damaged or stolen from the State Fleet vehicle or property/equipment being transported on a trailer by a state employee?

No. The Risk Management Fund does not cover property of the state of North Dakota or of state employees.

The entity owning the property may want to purchase separate coverage for the property being transported in a vehicle or on a trailer. The Risk Management Division facilitates an All Risk Insurance policy that may cover this type of property. For more information, contact Risk Management at 701-328-7584.

Are students authorized to operate state vehicles?

No. Students may not operate state fleet vehicles except in those narrow circumstances where driving is a required part of an established course of study.  Coverage under these instructional programs is limited to the minimum financial responsibility requirements contained in and pursuant to N.D.C.C. § 39-16.1-02 and N.D.C.C. § 26.1-41-05.  See also NDUS Guide to Authorized Use of State Fleet Vehicles.