Subrogation and How It Affects You

Subrogation is an idea that's understood in insurance and legal circles but sometimes not by the customers they represent. Even if you've never heard the word before, it is to your advantage to understand the nuances of the process. The more information you have about it, the better decisions you can make with regard to your insurance policy.

An insurance policy you own is a promise that, if something bad occurs, the company that covers the policy will make restitutions in one way or another in a timely fashion. If a fire damages your home, your property insurance steps in to compensate you or facilitate the repairs, subject to state property damage laws.

But since ascertaining who is financially responsible for services or repairs is typically a confusing affair – and time spent waiting often increases the damage to the victim – insurance firms usually opt to pay up front and figure out the blame afterward. They then need a way to get back the costs if, when there is time to look at all the facts, they weren't responsible for the payout.

Can You Give an Example?

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

How Subrogation Works

This is where subrogation comes in. It is the method 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. Normally, only you can sue for damages done to your person or property. But under subrogation law, your insurance company is extended some of your rights for making good on 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 a start, 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 – namely, $1,000. If your insurance company is lax about bringing subrogation cases to court, it might choose to get back its expenses by boosting your premiums and call it a day. On the other hand, if it has a knowledgeable legal team and goes after them enthusiastically, it is acting both in its own interests and in yours. 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 culpable), you'll typically get half your deductible back, based on the laws in most states.

Additionally, 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 child custody help boulder city Nv, 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 looking at the records of competing firms to determine if they pursue legitimate subrogation claims; if they resolve those claims with some expediency; if they keep their customers posted as the case goes on; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements immediately 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 honoring claims that aren't its responsibility and then safeguarding its bottom line by raising your premiums, you'll feel the sting later.

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