Vehicle Liability Insurance Coverage
STATE OWNED OR LEASED - The State of California has been self-insured for its motor vehicle liability risks under the State Motor Vehicle Liability Self-Insurance Program (VELSIP) since 1977. The Office of Risk and Insurance Management (ORIM) administers this formal self-insurance program that duplicates most functions of automobile insurance companies.
The ORIM claims adjusters on staff evaluate over 2500 claims annually to determine the State’s liability and negotiate settlements when the driver of the State vehicle is at fault. When lawsuits are filed, the Office of the Attorney General or Department of Transportation Legal Division provides legal services to the ORIM Vehicle Claims Unit.
When a liability claim is filed for any State vehicle or any vehicle used on State business, the State Motor Vehicle Insurance Account (SMVIA) is the general fund in which claims are paid. Recently, the SMVIA has imposed limits of $1,000,000 for claims associated with non-paid student and volunteer drivers.
PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES - Personal liability insurance is primary coverage when a private vehicle accident occurs during official state business. Employees who drive their personal vehicle on state business must annually verify personal auto liability insurance coverage (Form 261, Authorization to Use Privately Owned Vehicles on State Business) to the person authorized to approve travel expenses and to the travel coordinator in the Accounts Payable office. The SMVIA will provide coverage only after the private carrier’s policy limits are exhausted by payment. Refer to SAM section 0754, 2420 and Vehicle Code Section 16020 et seq.
RENTAL VEHICLES - Rental vehicles must be rented from one of the approved state contract rental car companies using either the American Express Government Card or the Department of General Services “blue” card . Under the state contract, the vehicles are covered for up to $500,000 in liability insurance. After that, the SMVIA insurance pool provides coverage. Loss or damage to a rental vehicle is NOT provided when the state driver contributes to an accident while operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any illegal non-prescription drugs and/or was operating the vehicle for any intentionally illegal purpose.