The Things Every Insurance Policy holder Ought to Know About Subrogation

Subrogation is a concept that's well-known in insurance and legal circles but rarely by the policyholders they represent. Even if you've never heard the word before, it is in your self-interest to comprehend an overview of the process. The more you know, the more likely it is that relevant proceedings will work out in your favor.

Every insurance policy you own is a promise that, if something bad happens to you, the company on the other end of the policy will make good in a timely fashion. If you get hurt while you're on the clock, for instance, your employer's workers compensation insurance pays out for medical services. Employment lawyers handle the details; you just get fixed up.

But since figuring out who is financially responsible for services or repairs is sometimes a tedious, lengthy affair – and time spent waiting often increases the damage to the policyholder – insurance firms usually decide to pay up front and figure out the blame later. They then need a path to recoup the costs if, when all the facts are laid out, they weren't actually responsible for the payout.

For Example

Your bedroom catches fire and causes $10,000 in house damages. Happily, you have property insurance and it takes care of the repair expenses. However, the assessor assigned to your case finds out that an electrician had installed some faulty wiring, and there is reason to believe that a judge would find him responsible for the loss. The house has already been repaired in the name of expediency, but your insurance agency is out all that money. What does the agency do next?

How Subrogation Works

This is where subrogation comes in. It is the method that an insurance company uses to claim payment when it pays out a claim that turned out not to be its responsibility. Some insurance firms 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 insurer is considered to have some of your rights for having taken care of the damages. It can go after the money that was originally due to you, because it has covered the amount already.

Why Does This Matter to Me?

For starters, if you have 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 – to be precise, $1,000. If your insurer is unconcerned with pursuing subrogation even when it is entitled, it might opt to recover its expenses by upping your premiums. On the other hand, if it has a competent legal team and goes after those cases efficiently, it is doing you a favor as well as itself. If all ten grand is recovered, you will get your full deductible back. If it recovers half (for instance, in a case where you are found one-half to blame), you'll typically get $500 back, depending on your state laws.

Moreover, if the total price 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 auto accident lawyer Powder Springs, Ga, successfully press a subrogation case, it will recover your expenses as well as its own.

All insurance agencies are not created equal. When comparing, it's worth looking at the reputations of competing firms to evaluate if they pursue winnable subrogation claims; if they do so quickly; if they keep their accountholders advised as the case goes on; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements quickly so that you can get your money back and move on with your life. If, instead, an insurer has a record of paying out claims that aren't its responsibility and then protecting its bottom line by raising your premiums, even attractive rates won't outweigh the eventual headache.

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The Things You Need to Know About Subrogation

Subrogation is an idea that's understood in insurance and legal circles but often not by the people they represent. Even if it sounds complicated, it would be in your self-interest to comprehend the nuances of the process. The more knowledgeable you are, the more likely an insurance lawsuit will work out favorably.

Every insurance policy you own is a promise that, if something bad occurs, the company that covers the policy will make good in one way or another in a timely fashion. If you get hurt at work, for instance, your company's workers compensation insurance agrees to pay for medical services. Employment lawyers handle the details; you just get fixed up.

But since ascertaining who is financially accountable for services or repairs is often a heavily involved affair – and delay in some cases increases the damage to the victim – insurance firms usually opt to pay up front and figure out the blame after the fact. They then need a way to recover the costs if, in the end, they weren't actually in charge of the expense.

For Example

You are in an auto accident. Another car ran into yours. Police are called, you exchange insurance details, and you go on your way. You have comprehensive insurance and file a repair claim. Later it's determined that the other driver was entirely to blame and his insurance should have paid for the repair of your vehicle. How does your company get its funds back?

How Does Subrogation Work?

This is where subrogation comes in. It is the method 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. Under ordinary circumstances, only you can sue for damages to your person or property. But under subrogation law, your insurer is considered to have some of your rights in exchange for making good on 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 one thing, if your insurance policy stipulated a deductible, it wasn't just your insurer who had to pay. In a $10,000 accident with a $1,000 deductible, you lost some money too – to the tune of $1,000. If your insurance company is unconcerned with pursuing subrogation even when it is entitled, it might opt to recover its expenses by raising your premiums. On the other hand, if it has a knowledgeable legal team and pursues them aggressively, it is doing you a favor as well as itself. If all $10,000 is recovered, you will get your full thousand-dollar deductible back. If it recovers half (for instance, in a case where you are found one-half at fault), you'll typically get $500 back, based on the laws in most states.

Furthermore, if the total expense 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 auto wreck lawyer Washington DC, successfully press a subrogation case, it will recover your expenses as well as its own.

All insurance companies are not the same. When shopping around, it's worth researching the reputations of competing agencies to evaluate if they pursue winnable subrogation claims; if they resolve those claims without delay; if they keep their accountholders informed as the case proceeds; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements quickly so that you can get your funding back and move on with your life. If, on the other hand, an insurance firm has a record 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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