- 6 20, 2018
- |Criminal Lawyer
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Subrogation is an idea that's understood in legal and insurance circles but rarely by the people they represent. Even if you've never heard the word before, it is in your benefit to understand the steps of how it works. The more you know, the better decisions you can make with regard to your insurance policy.
Every insurance policy you hold is a commitment that, if something bad occurs, the company on the other end of the policy will make good in one way or another without unreasonable delay. If your home suffers fire damage, for instance, your property insurance steps in to repay you or enable the repairs, subject to state property damage laws.
But since figuring out who is financially responsible for services or repairs is sometimes a confusing affair – and delay sometimes increases the damage to the policyholder – insurance companies usually decide to pay up front and figure out the blame afterward. They then need a mechanism to recoup the costs if, ultimately, they weren't responsible for the payout.
Let's Look at an Example
Your stove catches fire and causes $10,000 in house damages. Luckily, you have property insurance and it pays for the repairs. However, the insurance investigator finds out that an electrician had installed some faulty wiring, and there is reason to believe that a judge would find him to blame for the loss. You already have your money, but your insurance agency is out $10,000. What does the agency do next?
How Does Subrogation Work?
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. Under ordinary circumstances, only you can sue for damages done to your person or property. But under subrogation law, your insurer is given 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 Policyholders?
For a start, if you have a deductible, it wasn't just your insurer who had to pay. In a $10,000 accident with a $1,000 deductible, you have a stake in the outcome as well – to the tune of $1,000. If your insurer is timid on any subrogation case it might not win, it might opt to recover its costs by boosting your premiums. On the other hand, if it has a knowledgeable legal team and pursues those cases efficiently, 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 your state laws.
In addition, if the total price of an accident is more than your maximum coverage amount, you may have had to pay the difference, which can be extremely expensive. If your insurance company or its property damage lawyers, such as auto accident lawyer Austell GA, pursue subrogation and wins, it will recover your losses in addition to its own.
All insurers are not created equal. When shopping around, it's worth scrutinizing the reputations of competing agencies to evaluate if they pursue legitimate subrogation claims; if they do so without dragging their feet; if they keep their customers informed 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, instead, an insurer has a record of paying out claims that aren't its responsibility and then safeguarding its profitability by raising your premiums, you should keep looking.