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Questions you might have for the Risk Management and Insurance Department
Am I covered?
What costs are covered?
Are volunteers covered?
Is my personal property covered?
Does the University insure borrowed items?
What do I do if University equipment is stolen or damaged in my department?
Do I need to purchase insurance to cover property in transit?
What do I do if I am involved in an accident while driving a University vehicle?
Do I need to purchase the collision damage waiver (CDW) when renting a vehicle?
What authorization procedures should be followed for employees to operate University vehicles?
Can a personal vehicle be used to transport students and employees?
If you are an instructor or staff member and use your own vehicle for University purposes (e.g. transporting students on a field trip), you are only covered by the University's automobile insurance policy excess of your own policy limit. In case of an accident, the policy covering the specific vehicle is primary and would respond first until this coverage is exhausted.
Faculty and staff are encouraged to inform their personal automobile insurance company if using their own vehicle for business purposes.
Does the University's auto insurance program respond to loss or damage involving a personal vehicle driven for University business?
Should all contracts be sent to Risk Management and Insurance Department for review?
How do I obtain a certificate of insurance?
Will Risk Management provide loss prevention recommendations?
What should I do if I am renting out University premises to a third party?
What is a waiver of liability?
Some waivers are absolute, but we generally recommend using a form that absolves the University of blame only if we are not ourselves negligent or derelict in carrying out our responsibilities. This is seen as a fair and balanced approach, rather than simply a shift of all risks onto participants. Although waivers are legal tools and are enforceable if properly drafted, they also serve an educational purpose by making people think about the potential risks of an intended activity. Doing so also prevents unnecessary demands on already strained resources at the University.
Generally, students taking regular classes on campus or participating in regular campus activities need not sign waivers. But a department that sponsors activities that go beyond academic requirements should consider using a waiver to reduce the University’s legal liability risk, especially for activities where participants will be exposed to different environments than they may be used to in their everyday experience.
Waivers are strongly recommended for any activity that presents a higher than normal risk of physical danger, including transportation risks, as well as health, safety, environmental, political or social conditions that may be present in off-campus or out of country activities that participants may encounter. There is a positive duty on the University to inform participants as much as practicable about risks they will be facing in the places they will be visiting. This is legally termed “due diligence”
To be legally binding and enforceable, waivers need to be customized to the specific activities or situations to which they pertain rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. They should be as clear and comprehensive as is reasonable in the circumstances. Everyone is required to sign the same waiver for the same event and if a person does not sign the waiver, they should not be allowed to participate.
Any activity for which a waiver is required should be described as accurately and completely as practical. They should be on departmental letterhead, include class/program, date, brief description of the activity, the destination, transportation, accommodation, number of participants, etc. Waivers should be legibly formatted and not buried in fine print. They should be on a separate page and understandable so there no question in the participant’s mind about what they are signing.
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