Auto Accidents, Emergencies, and Claims

If you are driving a college vehicle or a vehicle rented on college business and you have an accident that involves another vehicle, person or property:

At the Scene

  • Stop immediately!
  • Do NOT admit liability at the scene to anyone, even if you think you were at-fault.
  • Take required precautions to prevent further accidents at the scene. (Place triangle reflectors, if available.)
  • Render all reasonable assistance to persons injured at the scene. Ask someone at the scene to call the local police, or call the local police yourself. Also, give the local police the name and number of Campus Police (24 hours/7 days a week), and ask them to call for assistance, if necessary, or call them yourself:
    Amherst - 413.542.2291
    Hampshire - 413.559.5424
    Mount Holyoke - 413.538.2304
    Smith - 413.585.2490
  • Use the accident report forms provided in the glove box (if available) and write down the name of the other driver(s), their address(es), phone numbers, insurance information and particulars about the accident. Get written statements from any witnesses (including passengers in your vehicle or the other vehicle(s), or get their name, address and phone numbers for later contact. Obtain license numbers and descriptions of vehicles at the scene. This will be especially helpful if outside witnesses won't assist you.
  • Exchange driver/insurance information with the other party(ies).

If the College owned or rented vehicle is broken into, hit by unknown vehicles (hit & run), or damaged while it was parked, you must report the loss to local police and get a copy of the local police report.

No Cell Phones or Texting While Driving

Reporting Accidents 

The driver is responsible for reporting all accidents to the College. A reportable accident is any accident or incident with a College owned/leased or rented vehicle, which happens no matter where you are whether it occurs on or off campus, that results in:

  1. Any damage to the College owned/leased or rented vehicle, whether the College may choose to repair it or not;
  2. Damage to College or anyone else's property (e.g., vehicle, mailbox, post, etc);
  3. Bodily injury to you or to anyone else.

The Driver of the vehicle is personally responsible to file a Five College Accident Report within 24 hours or upon return of the vehicle to campus (owned or leased vehicles), whichever is sooner, whether the Driver was at-fault or not, or if the vehicle was broken into, hit by unknown vehicles (hit & run), or damaged while it was parked. The report must be sent to the "Key Auto Person" on your campus:

  • Amherst College — Environmental Health & Safety Office: Audrey Piubeni - 542.8189
  • Hampshire College — Treasurer's Office: Zeffa Kinney - 559.5345
  • Mount Holyoke College — Fleet Office: Amanda Florek - 538.2175
  • Smith College —
    • Physical Plant: Lynn Pelland - 585.2391 for all Fleet vehicles and college departments including Physical Plant, Dining Services, Campus Police, Athletics, Geology and Information Technology Services.
    • Student Affairs: Tamra Bates - 585.4967 for all SGA vehicles
    • Voluntary Services: Tiertza-Leah Schwartz - 585.2758 for all SOS vehicles

Key people will send a copy of all reports to the Five College Risk Manager who will notify our insurance company. Our insurance requires a Five College Accident Report to officially document a claim. Failure to file a Five College Accident Report may result in loss of driving privileges and/or that insurance will not cover the loss, resulting in all costs for vehicle repairs being charged to the department or student organization. The only exception to this policy is the incapacitation of the driver as a result of the accident, in which case it is the responsibility of the head of the department using the vehicle to have the report completed and filed.

Why is an accident report important? 

The information from this report is used for many purposes including:

  • Identifying locations on campus with a large number of crashes
  • Improving dangerous roads and intersections
  • Developing programs to reduce accidents and help avoid injuries

Rented/Hired Vehicles 

Report the accident to the rental company, and complete any required paper work. Keep copies of all reports and, as soon as possible, report the accident to the Five College Risk Manager.

If you have paid any deductibles or receive a bill for the deductible, please forward all paper work to the FC Risk Manager for payment or reimbursement. Departments will be charged up to $500 for deductibles if the College driver is "at-fault" or has a surchargable accident.

Personal Vehicles

If you are in an "at-fault" or surchargable accident while driving on College business that results in bodily injury to a third party, you must send copies of all accident reports and information to the Compliance and Risk Management Office. Failure to report any accidents may compromise the College's insurance coverage, and you may be held personally liable for any claims in excess of your own insurance. You may be required to submit additional information, including copies of your insurance policy, and the results of any investigation made into the accident. Coverage is dependent upon your cooperation.

If your vehicle is damaged as a result of an accident, whether it is your fault or not, your comprehensive/collision coverage would respond. The College will not pay any claims to Personal Autos for comprehensive or collision damage. You are also responsible for any deductible amounts under your policy. If you do not carry any collision insurance, then the entire amount of the damage is your responsibility. It doesn't matter if you "have" to drive your own car because no College or rental vehicle is available; the College is not obligated to provide transportation.


If you are injured while driving or riding in a vehicle while on College business and you are an employee of the College at the time of the accident, immediately contact Human Resources, as you may have a Workers' Compensation claim.

If you are not an employee on College business, and are injured while riding in a College vehicle, all medical bills must be submitted to your health insurance carrier.

Accident Investigation & Disciplinary Action

Accidents will be investigated to determine what was the cause of the accident. If you were "at-fault" and/or received a surcharge, the findings will be documented, and disciplinary action may be initiated if appropriate. Reported incidents of near misses, reckless driving, failure to wear seatbelts and/or cell phone use while driving, may also be investigated for appropriate disciplinary action.


Use common sense when a breakdown occurs on the road. Put the safety of your passengers first. Park the vehicle as safely as possible off the traveled portion of the roadway, preferably not on a curve or at or over the crest of a hill. Apply the parking brake and place the transmission lever in park (reverse, if gear shift). Turn on the four-way flashers and shut-off the engine. Set out triangle reflectors, if available. Call Campus Police for help.

Citations & Arrests

Drivers are responsible for payment of fines for all citations, including moving violations or parking tickets. Failure to do so may result in suspension of driving privileges. All citations for moving violations must be reported to the credentialing authority for your institution.

If you are arrested at the scene of an accident (e.g., for drunk driving, reckless endangerment), you, the driver, are responsible for any legal costs you may incur including attorney fees, bail, court costs, etc. The College Insurance does not cover these costs even if you are later found not guilty of the charges. Other costs you may be responsible for include towing and/or impounding of the vehicle. The College is not responsible for any unlawful acts of its employees or students, and will not defend or indemnify them for alleged wrongful acts involving the use of its vehicles or vehicles rented on college business.