A big check is a minor headache

Illustration by Bo Brown


Dear Benny,
I recently received an e-mail and saw an item in the Almanac about cashing checks drawn on Penn’s account at Mellon Bank. What are we supposed to do with checks over $5,000? I need to cash an advance in excess of $5,000 annually and haven’t found an easy way to do it. Does the University have a system in place to help individuals like me?
— Need Cash in a Hurry

Dear Strapped for Cash,
The Treasurer’s Office tells me that you should deposit your check in your own bank, preferably via direct deposit. Most banks will also cash checks in any amount for their own account holders. If none of these options are available to you, you should call the Office of the Treasurer at 215-898-7256 for further assistance.

Dear Benny,
I am traveling to an academic conference next month, and after the conference ends, I plan to take a three-day weekend vacation in the same area. I will be renting a car for the duration. Should I accept or decline the loss damage waiver (LDW)? I understand that Penn’s corporate contract includes insurance.
— On a Very Short Sabbatical

Dear Traveling Scholar,
The Travel Office suggests that if you are renting the car for University-approved business for any part of your trip, you should rent from National Car Rental, use Penn’s corporate ID number and decline the insurance, as Penn’s contract with National includes it. You may use the corporate rate for the entire rental period and get reimbursement for the business portion.

If you use another car rental company, Penn will cover loss or damage over $250 on the business portion of your rental only if you have completed the Penn Driver Education Class. If you go this route, you should base your decision on whether or not your own insurance policy covers rentals. If you accept the LDW, you will not be reimbursed for that portion of your rental charges.

Insurance coverage varies internationally and in Canada. For more information, visit www.finance.upenn.edu/comptroller/travel/ground/cars/insur.shtml.


Got a question for Benny? You can ask Benny about benifits, worklife issues, University history or trivia, or other matters pertaining to life at Penn. Send it via e-mail to current@pobox.upenn.edu or via regular mail to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106. A Current coffee mug goes to those whose questions we publish.

Originally published on June 12, 2003