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 sometimes not by the policyholders who hire them. If this term has come up when dealing with your insurance agent or a legal proceeding, it is in your benefit to understand the steps of the process. The more information you have, the better decisions you can make about your insurance company.

Every insurance policy you hold is a promise that, if something bad occurs, the firm that covers the policy will make good in one way or another without unreasonable delay. If your real estate suffers fire damage, for example, your property insurance steps in to pay you or pay for the repairs, subject to state property damage laws.

But since determining who is financially accountable for services or repairs is typically a time-consuming affair – and delay sometimes increases the damage to the victim – insurance companies often opt to pay up front and assign blame after the fact. They then need a method to recover the costs if, when there is time to look at all the facts, they weren't responsible for the payout.

Let's Look at an Example

Your stove catches fire and causes $10,000 in home damages. Fortunately, you have property insurance and it pays for the repairs. However, the insurance investigator discovers that an electrician had installed some faulty wiring, and there is a decent chance that a judge would find him accountable for the damages. The house has already been repaired in the name of expediency, but your insurance company is out ten grand. What does the company do next?

How Does Subrogation Work?

This is where subrogation comes in. It is the way that an insurance company uses to claim reimbursement 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. Ordinarily, only you can sue for damages 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 that was 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 insurance company 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 the tune of $1,000. If your insurance company is unconcerned with pursuing subrogation even when it is entitled, it might choose to recover its losses by increasing your premiums. On the other hand, if it knows which cases it is owed and goes after them 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, depending on the laws in your state.

Moreover, if the total expense 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 foreclosure defense lawyer Batesville AR, successfully press a subrogation case, it will recover your losses in addition to its own.

All insurance agencies are not the same. When shopping around, it's worth looking at the reputations of competing agencies to find out whether they pursue legitimate subrogation claims; if they resolve those claims quickly; if they keep their clients updated as the case proceeds; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements right away so that you can get your funding back and move on with your life. If, instead, an insurance firm has a reputation of paying out claims that aren't its responsibility and then covering its profit margin by raising your premiums, you'll feel the sting later.

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