My company sent me to another state for 2 weeks and I was told to rent a car while I was there. Since our corporate credit cards had expired the week before, they told me to use my own credit card. They also said to decline the rental car insurance as it was covered under their corporate agreement.

I ended up getting into an accident (my fault) and totaled the car. It turns out my company did not realize that the rental car insurance applied to the corporate credit cards only. Therefore I totaled a car without insurance and was considered liable.

My employer is asking me to claim the car under my personal insurance policy, which would obviously increase my premium through the roof. I disagree with this since they sent me on a business related trip and told me to decline insurance since it was covered under their corporate agreement.

How can I professionally resolve this disagreement with the company? I'm not even sure where I should start.

I realize it may lead me parting ways with my company; however even if that's the case I still want to behave like a business professional in my interactions with them.

  • 5
    Being on a business related trip may void any coverage that your personal insurance may have provided, unless you have an appropriate rider. You're asking a question that can't be answered here - there are too many variables, as @enderland points out. As an employee, I'd find it worrying that the company allowed the credit cards to expire and explicitly instructed you to decline the insurance - insurance which would protect you. Extreme cost-savings attempt?
    – alroc
    Jan 10, 2013 at 19:58
  • 4
    Also, when it comes to an auto accident, never admit fault, even if you think it was your fault. Explain the facts (don't lie about what events transpired) & let the authorities determine who is at fault. If you admit fault and later it's determined that you weren't at fault, you may be held accountable anyway because you volunteered it.
    – alroc
    Jan 10, 2013 at 19:59
  • 5
    Hopefully I'm being too suspicious here, but ... keep (at home or in a bank lock box) hardcopies of any correspondence (email or paper) which may exist regarding the company's direction to use your own credit card and especially to decline insurance. Unfortunately, if things don't go well, you may want to consult an attornery.
    – GreenMatt
    Jan 10, 2013 at 20:07
  • 5
    @GreenMatt: The OP's employer probably has a general liability policy that will cover this if the issue is pushed by his auto insurance carrier. Subrogation rarely results in a lawsuit; usually it's a one-insurance-company-to-another call where they settle it. The bottom line here is that the company told the OP he'd be covered, and they need to make good on that. If they're going to jerk him around the flagpole about it, there's no reason for him not to let his insurance company take care of it; that's why he pays premiums.
    – Blrfl
    Jan 15, 2013 at 22:31
  • 3
    I'd definitely talk to a lawyer. The professional way may, for better or worse, to have your lawyer draft a letter.
    – DA.
    Jan 15, 2013 at 23:22

3 Answers 3


You wrote "Since our corporate credit cards had expired the week before, they told me to use my own credit card. They also said to decline the rental car insurance as it was covered under their corporate agreement."

How did they tell you this, do you have it in writing? If so, I imagine you have a very good leg to stand on, that you just followed orders and therefore the company is liable. Even if not, you still have a good argument, especially if the person who instructed you is willing to admit it / unable to refute it.

I suggest communicating with your insurance company about the situation - speak in hyptotheticals until you're ready to file a claim. Since chances are they would rather not pay and raise your premiums, they may go to bat for you against your employer regarding liability, and they likely have the lawyer resources to get it resolved quickly in your favor.

Ultimately this battle is between your insurer and your employer (your premiums increasing is just collateral damage), and if your insurer turns out to be strong and gets your employer to admit liability after gathering the facts, your employer shouldn't hold that against you.

  • As I said in a comment above: If the only damage was to the rental car, the insurance company may consider it more cost effective to just raise the OP's rates than to pursue legal action against the employer.
    – GreenMatt
    Jan 15, 2013 at 21:57
  • they may GreenMatt, wouldn't it be worth asking them (in hypotheticals, as I suggested - for example you call and say "what would happen if i had to rent a car for work and my employer told me to decline coverage and i got in an accident")?
    – JoeT
    Jan 16, 2013 at 0:38

You have an obligation to make sure that any vehicle you operate is insured. That is your obligation and you should always obtain proof of insurance from your employer prior to declining insurance on a rental car that they say their insurance will cover.

If your insurance will cover the damage then I would suggest you turn it in to them. The alternative is to pay for the damage out of your pocket and seek reimbursement from your employer. If your company refuses to reimburse you for the damage then you will need to talk with a lawyer to see if you have cause for action against them. If your insurance covers it if there is any liability for your employer then they will go after that reimbursement.

  • I'm wondering if this is only about the insurance for the rental car. The rental car company shouldn't allow you to drive at all without third party insurance. And the company would have given him proof that he was insured - I assume they were completely unaware that the car was not covered because of the wrong credit card being used.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 16, 2016 at 17:10
  • @gnasher729 I have yet to be asked for my insurance card when renting a car in a location other than what's on my driver's license. Apr 17, 2016 at 18:43
  • @gnasher729 - I believe standard liablity coverage is already on the car when you rent it. The insurance you are declining is the collision insurance that covers damages to your vehicle in the event you are at fault in an accident and any damages beyond what is covered by the liablity insurance. Mar 4, 2018 at 12:39

Facts: There was an accident which was your fault, and someone has to pay. The three obvious candidates for paying are you, the company, or your car insurance. If nobody wants to pay, someone will be taken to court by the victim, and I think that would be you. So not coming to an agreement at all is bad for you.

If there was say $10,000 damage and your insurance would go up, costing you say $2,000, then the common sense solution would be that you ask your insurance to pay, and convince your company to pay your cost ($2,000). It's very understandable that the company doesn't want to pay $10,000 when there is no good reason to do so. But the damage to you (your extra insurance cost) is entirely their fault, so they should pay. I would hope that your company agrees, because (a) it was their fault, (b) you saved them lots of money by letting your insurance pay, and (c) it's not that much money for the company.

  • You realize that an insurance rate increase isn't just a one-off thing, right? The rate won't go back down to the pre-incident rate for years so the total cost will be more like $6-10,0000.
    – nobody
    Apr 16, 2016 at 22:09
  • I believe its 5-7 years or somewhere in that range for most US insurers.
    – Nick Young
    Apr 16, 2016 at 23:09
  • So you do the maths.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 17, 2016 at 6:50
  • You may also check the cost of the totalled car.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 18, 2016 at 8:00
  • @AndrewMedico I'd assume that $2k was the lifetime cost for a single accident before the rate dropped back to normal. IIRC (don't feel like digging up old paperwork) an accident I had a dozen years ago only netted me a bit over $1k in elevated premiums over several years. With the X% penalty model they used, $2k/year from a single accident would've required my insuring multiple new luxury vehicles. Apr 18, 2016 at 23:46

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