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Subrogation and How It Affects You

Subrogation is a term that's well-known among insurance and legal companies but rarely by the people they represent. Even if you've never heard the word before, it would be to your advantage to understand the nuances of the process. The more knowledgeable you are about it, 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 business that insures the policy will make good in one way or another without unreasonable delay. If your home burns down, your property insurance steps in to remunerate you or enable the repairs, subject to state property damage laws.

But since figuring out who is financially accountable for services or repairs is typically a confusing affair – and delay sometimes increases the damage to the policyholder – insurance firms usually decide to pay up front and figure out the blame afterward. They then need a path to regain the costs if, when all the facts are laid out, they weren't actually in charge of the expense.

Can You Give an Example?

You are in a vehicle accident. Another car ran into yours. The police show up to assess the situation, you exchange insurance information, and you go on your way. You have comprehensive insurance and file a repair claim. Later it's determined that the other driver was at fault and his insurance should have paid for the repair of your vehicle. How does your company get its funds back?

How Subrogation Works

This is where subrogation comes in. It is the process that an insurance company uses to claim reimbursement after it has paid for something that should have been paid by some other entity. Some companies have in-house property damage lawyers and personal injury attorneys, or a department dedicated to subrogation; others contract with a law firm. Usually, only you can sue for damages done to your self or property. But under subrogation law, your insurance company is given some of your rights for having taken care of the damages. It can go after the money originally due to you, because it has covered the amount already.

Why Does This Matter to Me?

For starters, if your insurance policy stipulated a deductible, it wasn't just your insurance company who had to pay. In a $10,000 accident with a $1,000 deductible, you lost some money too – namely, $1,000. If your insurance company is unconcerned with pursuing subrogation even when it is entitled, it might choose to recoup its expenses by ballooning your premiums. On the other hand, if it knows which cases it is owed and goes after them enthusiastically, it is doing you a favor as well as itself. If all is recovered, you will get your full $1,000 deductible back. If it recovers half (for instance, in a case where you are found one-half to blame), you'll typically get half your deductible back, depending on your state laws.

Additionally, if the total cost of an accident is over your maximum coverage amount, you could be in for a stiff bill. If your insurance company or its property damage lawyers, such as accident injury lawyers Smyrna GA, pursue subrogation and succeeds, it will recover your expenses as well as its own.

All insurance companies are not the same. When shopping around, it's worth scrutinizing the records of competing firms to evaluate if they pursue valid subrogation claims; if they resolve those claims without delay; if they keep their clients advised as the case goes on; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements quickly so that you can get your deductible back and move on with your life. If, on the other hand, an insurer has a reputation of honoring claims that aren't its responsibility and then covering its income by raising your premiums, you'll feel the sting later.

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