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Subrogation and How It Affects Your Insurance Policy

Subrogation is an idea that's understood among insurance and legal companies but often not by the people they represent. Even if it sounds complicated, it would be to your advantage to comprehend the nuances of how it works. The more information you have about it, the better decisions you can make with regard to your insurance policy.

Any insurance policy you own is a promise that, if something bad occurs, the firm on the other end of the policy will make good in one way or another in a timely manner. If a blizzard damages your home, your property insurance steps in to remunerate you or facilitate the repairs, subject to state property damage laws.

But since determining who is financially responsible for services or repairs is usually a tedious, lengthy affair – and delay in some cases adds to the damage to the policyholder – insurance firms usually opt to pay up front and figure out the blame afterward. They then need a mechanism to regain the costs if, when all the facts are laid out, they weren't actually in charge of the expense.

For Example

You are in an auto accident. Another car crashed into 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 police tell the insurance companies that the other driver was entirely to blame and his insurance policy should have paid for the repair of your auto. How does your insurance company get its funds back?

How Does Subrogation Work?

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. Usually, only you can sue for damages done to your self or property. But under subrogation law, your insurer is considered to have some of your rights for having taken care of the damages. It can go after the money originally due to you, because it has covered the amount already.

Why Do I Need to Know This?

For starters, if you have 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 the tune of $1,000. If your insurance company is timid on any subrogation case it might not win, it might opt to recoup its expenses by boosting your premiums. On the other hand, if it knows which cases it is owed and goes after those cases aggressively, it is doing you a favor as well as itself. 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 50 percent accountable), you'll typically get $500 back, based on the laws in most states.

Additionally, 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 auto accident attorney Rosedale MD, successfully press a subrogation case, it will recover your costs as well as its own.

All insurance companies are not created equal. When shopping around, it's worth comparing the reputations of competing agencies to determine if they pursue valid subrogation claims; if they resolve those claims without delay; if they keep their clients apprised as the case goes on; and if they then process successfully won reimbursements quickly so that you can get your money back and move on with your life. If, on the other hand, an insurance agency has a record of paying out claims that aren't its responsibility and then covering its income by raising your premiums, you'll feel the sting later.


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