File a Vehicle Accident or Theft Claim

Learn about filing an accident or theft claim for a Columbia University-owned vehicle. 


If you are involved in an accident or if a University-owned vehicle is stolen, do the following:

  1. Get immediate medical aid if you are injured.
  2. Notify the police and obtain a police report. Report theft to Police immediately.
  3. Make no statements concerning guilt, responsibility, liability, or fault, and never agree to make payments for the accident.
  4. Record as much information as you can on all other parties to the accident and report this information to supervisor and/or departmental Vehicle Coordinator. Include photos of:
    • Damaged vehicles
    • Other party's license plate
    • Other party's insurance card
    • Other party's driver's license
    • Your driver's license
  5. Discuss the accident only with police officers, University officials, and representatives of the University as directed.
  6. Refer all questions from lawyers, the other party in the accident, and others to the departmental Vehicle Coordinator and report these requests to Risk Management.
  7. Fill out a Vehicle Accident Report and send it, along with a copy of the police report and all of the information recorded under #4 above, to Risk Management within 48 hours of the incident. Report theft to Risk Management within 24 hours of discovery.

If an accident occurs outside of the United States, the incident should be reported to the appropriate supervisors immediately and to Risk Management as soon as possible using the prescribed loss reporting forms. Departments and responsible individuals that fail to notify Risk Management of a vehicle accident in a timely fashion may become financially responsible for the cost of related claim(s).

All accidents—no matter how minor—must be reported by the driver to his/her supervisor and/or departmental Vehicle Coordinator immediately, including accidents involving privately owned vehicles operated on University business.

If the University vehicle has incurred damage AND your department has comprehensive and collision coverage through the Risk Management department, your department might be entitled to a reimbursement. Complete a Property Loss/Damage Claim Report and email it, along with all of the accident-related documentation and repair quotes/invoices, to Cristian Morales at [email protected]. Your claim is subject to Risk Management review and approval. All physical damage claims are also subject to a $2,500 deductible and/or a $500 glass deductible. Repairing physical damage that is not covered by an insurance policy is the obligation of the responsible department.

The University's Property Loss/Damage Claim Reporting and Reimbursement Policy provisions apply to any University property that may be lost or damaged while in a University-owned or leased vehicle. Valuable property should never be left in an unattended University vehicle. Please note, personal property is not eligible for reimbursement in the event of loss/damage.

Still have questions?

Contact [email protected].