Subrogation is an idea that's understood in legal and insurance circles but often not by the policyholders who employ them. If this term has come up when dealing with your insurance agent or a legal proceeding, it is to your advantage to understand the steps of the process. The more you know, the more likely relevant proceedings will work out favorably.
Any insurance policy you own is a promise that, if something bad happens to you, the business that covers the policy will make good in one way or another in a timely fashion. If a hailstorm damages your house, your property insurance agrees to remunerate you or facilitate the repairs, subject to state property damage laws.
But since figuring out who is financially accountable for services or repairs is often a time-consuming affair – and delay in some cases compounds the damage to the victim – insurance companies in many cases opt to pay up front and assign blame later. They then need a method to get back the costs if, when all the facts are laid out, they weren't actually responsible for the expense.
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 out your claim in full. 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 liable for the damages. The home has already been fixed up in the name of expediency, but your insurance firm is out ten grand. What does the firm do next?
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 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 done to your self or property. But under subrogation law, your insurance company is considered to have some of your rights in exchange for making good on 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 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 – to the tune of $1,000. If your insurer is timid on any subrogation case it might not win, it might choose to get back its costs by raising your premiums and call it a day. 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 $1,000 deductible back. If it recovers half (for instance, in a case where you are found one-half to blame), 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 may have had to pay the difference. If your insurance company or its property damage lawyers, such as Legal representation for Sumner WA Residents, pursue subrogation and succeeds, it will recover your expenses in addition to its own.
All insurance companies are not created equal. When comparing, it's worth weighing the records of competing companies to find out whether they pursue legitimate subrogation claims; if they do so quickly; if they keep their accountholders updated as the case goes on; 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 insurer has a record of honoring claims that aren't its responsibility and then safeguarding its profit margin by raising your premiums, you'll feel the sting later.