Vehicle Insurance FAQs

When a vehicle is leased through RFCUNY using sponsored project funds, RFCUNY retains title to the vehicle and is responsible for registering and insuring the vehicle in New York State.  

RFCUNY fully insures its vehicles with collision, comprehensive, liability, personal injury protection, and uninsured/under insured motorist coverage. Collision coverage pays for the damage to the vehicle caused by an accident. Comprehensive coverage pays the book value for the repair or replacement of a damaged or stolen vehicle. Liability covers the amount the vehicle operator would be legally responsible for paying in the event of a judgment against the vehicle operator due to an auto accident. Personal injury protection pays the medical expenses of individuals injured in an auto accident.  Non/Under-insured motorist coverage protects the vehicle’s inhabitants in the event of an accident caused by another individual driving without sufficient auto insurance.  

RFCUNY charges the sponsored project account directly for coverage. RFCUNY pays the fleet auto insurance invoice directly and charges the project account for its portion of the bill. After having taken possession of the vehicle, and at the beginning of each fiscal year, an email is sent to the project’s principal investigator requesting the Project Sub-Year (PRSY) to be debited for the expense. 

Full-coverage auto policy is comprised of several aspects including: Collision, comprehensive, personal injury protection, un/under insured motorist protection, and liability. Corporate auto liability costs more than individual/private auto policy due to the size of a potential judgment against the insured. Jury awards against corporations tend to be higher than those against private persons. Insurance companies calculate a greater exposure for the insured, leading to higher liability premiums than for private individuals.  

Other aspects of corporate auto policies are likely to be priced equivalently to a private individual’s coverage. These costs are based upon known expenses that can be easily predicted.  For instance, collision and comprehensive costs are limited to the book value of the vehicle itself. 


When RFCUNY purchases/leases equipment or a vehicle (an asset), it has an “insurable interest” because RFCUNY bears the responsibility for and benefits from the lease/ownership of the asset. Although a project’s principal investigator utilizes the asset, RFCUNY retains the ownership and interest. For this reason, the vehicle operator or CUNY cannot insure an RFCUNY vehicle under their own auto policies.

When leasing a car or equipment, the lessor may require a “loss payee endorsement” from the lessee. If the item is lost or destroyed, the insurance company pays the leasing company directly as the loss payee rather than paying RFCUNY for the loss. The leasing company requests the certificate directly from RFCUNY with the initial lease documentation.   

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