B-242309, Mar 21, 1991

B-242309: Mar 21, 1991

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In this case the rental agency would not release the automobiles without the insurance and the employees were engaged in emergency hurricane relief work. The rental agreement itself shows that CDW insurance was optional. The Federal Travel Regulations expressly prohibit the payment of CDW insurance when official travel in rental vehicles is performed in the United States. These regulations have the force and effect of law and may not be waived by this Office. The contract showed that the insurance was optional.

B-242309, Mar 21, 1991

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Rental vehicles - Liability insurance - Expenses - Reimbursement

DIGEST

Mark Payne and Joseph Rotola:

The Environmental Protection Agency requests advance approval to reimburse Mr. Mark Payne and Mr. Joseph Rotola for the costs of collision damage waiver (CDW) insurance they incurred while on official travel in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Both employees had reserved vehicles with Budget Rent-A-Car and in each case, according to the employees, the rental agent refused to rent them vehicles without the insurance. However, the rental agreement itself shows that CDW insurance was optional. For the reasons stated below, we may not authorize the reimbursements.

Consistent with the government's policy to be self-insured, the Federal Travel Regulations expressly prohibit the payment of CDW insurance when official travel in rental vehicles is performed in the United States, including its territories. 41 C.F.R. 301-3.2(c)(1) (1990). See Cynthia R. Fox, B-238122, June 12, 1990. These regulations have the force and effect of law and may not be waived by this Office, even in extenuating circumstances. Avis Rent A Car, B-208630, Mar. 22, 1983. Cf. Ramon Delgado, B-189770, Sept. 12, 1978. See also, Maxwell H. Gifford, B-184623, Oct. 21, 1975, in which we disallowed a similar claim by an employee where, like these claims, the contract showed that the insurance was optional, but the employee stated that the rental agency representative advised him the car would not be released to him unless he paid the insurance fee.

Accordingly, neither claim may be paid.