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The Things Every Policy holder Ought to Know About Subrogation

Subrogation is a concept that's well-known among insurance and legal companies but rarely by the customers they represent. Even if you've never heard the word before, it would be in your self-interest to understand the nuances of how it works. The more information you have, the more likely relevant proceedings will work out favorably.

An insurance policy you own is a commitment that, if something bad occurs, the insurer of the policy will make restitutions in a timely fashion. If you get injured while you're on the clock, your employer's workers compensation insurance pays out for medical services. Employment lawyers handle the details; you just get fixed up.

But since figuring out who is financially responsible for services or repairs is often a confusing affair – and delay in some cases compounds the damage to the victim – insurance companies often opt to pay up front and figure out the blame afterward. They then need a path to regain the costs if, ultimately, they weren't responsible for the expense.

Let's Look at an Example

You head to the Instacare with a deeply cut finger. You hand the nurse your health insurance card and she records your coverage details. You get stitched up and your insurer gets a bill for the services. But the next afternoon, when you arrive at work – where the accident happened – you are given workers compensation forms to file. Your workers comp policy is actually responsible for the invoice, not your health insurance. The latter has a right to recover its money somehow.

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

How Does This Affect Me?

For one thing, 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 unconcerned with pursuing subrogation even when it is entitled, it might choose to recoup 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 acting both in its own interests and in yours. If all 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 to blame), you'll typically get $500 back, based on the laws in most states.

Additionally, if the total loss 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 personal injury claims Mableton GA, pursue subrogation and wins, it will recover your losses in addition to its own.

All insurance companies are not created equal. When shopping around, it's worth looking at the reputations of competing firms to evaluate whether they pursue legitimate subrogation claims; if they do so with some expediency; if they keep their accountholders advised as the case proceeds; 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 insurance agency has a reputation of paying out claims that aren't its responsibility and then covering its profitability by raising your premiums, even attractive rates won't outweigh the eventual headache.

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