Subrogation is a concept that's understood among insurance and legal firms but often not by the policyholders they represent. Even if it sounds complicated, it would be to your advantage to comprehend an overview of how it works. The more knowledgeable you are about it, the more likely relevant proceedings will work out favorably.
An insurance policy you have is an assurance that, if something bad happens to you, the insurer of the policy will make restitutions in one way or another without unreasonable delay. If your house is broken into, your property insurance steps in to repay you or pay for the repairs, subject to state property damage laws.
But since figuring out who is financially responsible for services or repairs is sometimes a time-consuming affair – and delay often increases the damage to the victim – insurance companies in many cases decide to pay up front and assign blame after the fact. They then need a mechanism to get back the costs if, once the situation is fully assessed, they weren't actually in charge of the payout.
Can You Give an Example?
You rush into the doctor's office with a gouged finger. You give the receptionist your medical insurance card and he records your policy information. You get stitches and your insurance company gets a bill for the expenses. But the next morning, when you arrive at your workplace – where the injury happened – your boss hands you workers compensation forms to fill out. Your company's workers comp policy is in fact responsible for the payout, not your medical insurance company. It has a vested interest in getting that money back somehow.
How Does Subrogation Work?
This is where subrogation comes in. It is the process that an insurance company uses to claim reimbursement after it has paid for something that should have been paid by some other entity. 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. Under ordinary circumstances, only you can sue for damages to your self 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.
How Does This Affect Me?
For a start, if you have a deductible, your insurance company wasn't the only one that had to pay. In a $10,000 accident with a $1,000 deductible, you lost some money too – namely, $1,000. If your insurance company is timid on any subrogation case it might not win, it might opt to recover its losses by upping your premiums. On the other hand, if it has a competent legal team and pursues those cases efficiently, it is doing you a favor as well as itself. If all of the money 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.
In addition, 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 criminal defense attorney near me Spanish Fork UT, successfully press a subrogation case, it will recover your costs as well as its own.
All insurance agencies are not created equal. When comparing, it's worth measuring the reputations of competing companies to find out if they pursue legitimate subrogation claims; if they do so without delay; if they keep their accountholders apprised as the case proceeds; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements immediately so that you can get your losses back and move on with your life. If, on the other hand, an insurance firm has a reputation of honoring claims that aren't its responsibility and then covering its bottom line by raising your premiums, you'll feel the sting later.