Subrogation is an idea that's well-known in insurance and legal circles but rarely by the customers who employ them. Even if it sounds complicated, it would be in your benefit to understand an overview of how it works. The more information you have about it, the better decisions you can make with regard to your insurance policy.
Every insurance policy you own is a commitment that, if something bad occurs, the firm on the other end of the policy will make restitutions in a timely fashion. If your vehicle is hit, insurance adjusters (and the courts, when necessary) determine who was to blame and that party's insurance covers the damages.
But since figuring out who is financially responsible for services or repairs is usually a confusing affair – and time spent waiting sometimes adds to the damage to the policyholder – insurance firms in many cases opt to pay up front and figure out the blame later. They then need a way to get back the costs if, ultimately, they weren't actually responsible for the expense.
Can You Give an Example?
Your bedroom catches fire and causes $10,000 in home damages. Happily, you have property insurance and it pays out your claim in full. However, the assessor assigned to your case finds out that an electrician had installed some faulty wiring, and there is a reasonable possibility that a judge would find him responsible for the loss. You already have your money, but your insurance company is out ten grand. What does the company do next?
How Subrogation Works
This is where subrogation comes in. It is the process that an insurance company uses to claim reimbursement 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 done to your self or property. But under subrogation law, your insurer is given 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 Does This Matter to Me?
For a start, 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 – to be precise, $1,000. If your insurance company is timid on any subrogation case it might not win, it might opt to recoup its expenses by upping your premiums and call it a day. On the other hand, if it has a knowledgeable legal team and pursues them aggressively, it is acting both in its own interests and in yours. If all of the money is recovered, you will get your full deductible back. If it recovers half (for instance, in a case where you are found one-half accountable), you'll typically get $500 back, depending on the laws in your state.
Furthermore, 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 workmans comp lawyer Austell GA, pursue subrogation and succeeds, it will recover your losses as well as its own.
All insurers are not the same. When shopping around, it's worth examining the reputations of competing companies to evaluate whether they pursue winnable subrogation claims; if they resolve those claims quickly; if they keep their customers advised 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, instead, an insurance company has a reputation of paying out claims that aren't its responsibility and then safeguarding its bottom line by raising your premiums, you should keep looking.