What Every Insurance Policy holder Ought to Know About Subrogation

Subrogation is a term that's well-known in insurance and legal circles but sometimes not by the people who hire them. Rather than leave it to the professionals, it is to your advantage to know the steps of how it works. The more you know, the more likely it is that relevant proceedings will work out in your favor.

Any insurance policy you have is a promise that, if something bad occurs, the firm on the other end of the policy will make good in one way or another in a timely fashion. If you get hurt on the job, for example, your company's workers compensation picks up the tab for medical services. Employment lawyers handle the details; you just get fixed up.

But since determining who is financially accountable for services or repairs is typically a confusing affair – and time spent waiting in some cases increases the damage to the policyholder – insurance companies often decide to pay up front and assign blame after the fact. They then need a path to recover the costs if, ultimately, they weren't actually responsible for the payout.

For Example

You are in a car accident. Another car crashed into 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 police tell the insurance companies that the other driver was at fault and his insurance should have paid for the repair of your car. How does your company get its money back?

How Subrogation Works

This is where subrogation comes in. It is the method that an insurance company uses to claim payment 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. Ordinarily, only you can sue for damages to your person or property. But under subrogation law, your insurance company is considered to have some of your rights in exchange 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.

How Does This Affect Individuals?

For one thing, 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 have a stake in the outcome as well – to be precise, $1,000. If your insurer is timid on any subrogation case it might not win, it might opt to recover its costs by increasing your premiums and call it a day. On the other hand, if it knows which cases it is owed and pursues those cases efficiently, it is acting both in its own interests and in yours. If all 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 responsible), you'll typically get half your deductible back, based on the laws in most states.

Furthermore, if the total cost of an accident is more than your maximum coverage amount, you could be in for a stiff bill. If your insurance company or its property damage lawyers, such as personal injury lawyer Lithia Springs, GA, successfully press a subrogation case, it will recover your expenses in addition to its own.

All insurance companies are not created equal. When shopping around, it's worth measuring the reputations of competing companies to evaluate whether they pursue legitimate subrogation claims; if they do so without delay; if they keep their accountholders posted as the case proceeds; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements quickly so that you can get your money 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 profit margin by raising your premiums, you should keep looking.

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