Back in January I was rear-ended in a rental car on a business trip in Austin, TX. All signals at the time were that the other party's insurance would cover the claim. Today's mail includes a letter from the rental company saying they tried to get the full amount from the other party's insurer but they didn't pay up completely, and now they're billing me for the difference.

From their invoice it appears the other party's insurer paid property damages but not $214.39 in other claims including $75.90 "Loss of Use" and $138.49 "Admin Fee".

After my initial curse my second thought was to just send them a check and mentally write it off to hassle saved. I am thinking making an underinsured claim on my insurance will just cost me more in the long run in increased premiums somewhere down the line, especially since I am 3 weeks from moving to a different state and changing insurance policies.

On the other hand, I never signed the medical waiver the other party's insurance company offered me for $250. You know, that wreck did affect me noticably for two to three weeks afterward. I was on ibuprofen a lot. And I never did go to a doctor and make sure I have no lingering damage...

(Afterthought...was wondering how they came up with the "Loss of Use" amount...it's possible that's the amount they would have charged me for the days after the wreck; they had to provide a substitute car for the remainder of the agreement.)

Okay, so the amount in question is $214.39 . Here are the options I can think of:

  • Pay the thing and forget about it
  • Gripe to one or more of:
    • rental company
    • other party's insurance
    • my insurance
  • File a claim on my insurance for the difference
  • Get a lawyer

I got to thinking; it's pretty ballsy for them to come back to me with a bill for that crap. The car was rented on a corporate plan, and I was not at fault in any way, and I properly handled all the reporting and paperwork. They got their property damage covered and then come back to me for a piddling $214.39. Hey, *I* lost half a day or more, too, and performed "administrative" duties. You don't see my company docking my pay or me going after the other party's insurance for lost time. And my company does *lots* of business with them; they're one of two corprorate preferred rental vendors. The nerve of some companies!

2011 Update: As far as I can recall, I ignored the bill. Before and since the blll I have done a lot of business with this rental company under two corporate plans. I have had multiple credit reports since then and have seen no negative remarks.

Most of this post is a December 18, 2011 republication of my May 14 and 15, 2006 posts at Early Retirement Forum.