Subrogation and How It Affects You

Subrogation is a concept that's well-known in insurance and legal circles but sometimes not by the people they represent. Even if you've never heard the word before, it would be to your advantage to comprehend the steps of the process. The more knowledgeable you are, the better decisions you can make with regard to your insurance company.

Every insurance policy you own is a promise that, if something bad occurs, the firm on the other end of the policy will make restitutions in one way or another without unreasonable delay. If your home is burglarized, your property insurance agrees to compensate you or facilitate the repairs, subject to state property damage laws.

But since figuring out who is financially responsible for services or repairs is often a confusing affair – and delay sometimes adds to the damage to the policyholder – insurance companies usually opt to pay up front and figure out the blame afterward. They then need a means to recover the costs if, once the situation is fully assessed, they weren't responsible for the payout.

Can You Give an Example?

You are in a car accident. Another car collided with yours. Police are called, you exchange insurance details, and you go on your way. You have comprehensive insurance that pays for the repairs right away. Later it's determined that the other driver was to blame and his insurance should have paid for the repair of your car. How does your insurance company get its funds back?

How Does Subrogation Work?

This is where subrogation comes in. It is the way that an insurance company uses to claim payment when it pays out a claim that turned out not to be its responsibility. Some companies have in-house property damage lawyers and personal injury attorneys, or a department dedicated to subrogation; others contract with a law firm. Normally, only you can sue for damages to your self or property. But under subrogation law, your insurer is extended some of your rights for making good on the damages. It can go after the money originally due to you, because it has covered the amount already.

Why Do I Need to Know This?

For one thing, if your insurance policy stipulated a deductible, your insurer wasn't the only one who had to pay. In a $10,000 accident with a $1,000 deductible, you lost some money too – namely, $1,000. If your insurer is unconcerned with pursuing subrogation even when it is entitled, it might opt to recoup its losses by boosting your premiums. On the other hand, if it has a competent legal team and pursues them enthusiastically, it is doing you a favor as well as itself. If all of the money is recovered, you will get your full thousand-dollar deductible back. If it recovers half (for instance, in a case where you are found 50 percent to blame), you'll typically get half your deductible back, based on the laws in most states.

In addition, if the total loss of an accident is more than your maximum coverage amount, you may have had to pay the difference, which can be extremely costly. If your insurance company or its property damage lawyers, such as workers comp lawyer Lithia Springs GA, successfully press a subrogation case, it will recover your losses as well as its own.

All insurance agencies are not the same. When comparing, it's worth weighing the records of competing agencies to evaluate if they pursue valid subrogation claims; if they resolve those claims without delay; if they keep their policyholders informed as the case continues; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements right away so that you can get your deductible back and move on with your life. If, on the other hand, an insurer has a record of paying out claims that aren't its responsibility and then protecting its profitability by raising your premiums, you should keep looking.

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