Subrogation refers to the process an insurance company uses to seek reimbursement from the responsible party for a claim it has already paid.
Subrogation matters to you if:
- You have a covered loss, and
- You submit a claim to your insurance company, but
- Another party is actually responsible for all or part of the damages (i.e. you have a car accident and the other driver caused the accident, or if damage to your home was caused by a faulty appliance)
In this case, your insurance company may pay your claim, and then seek reimbursement from the other party. This would depend on the circumstances surrounding the loss, the laws in your state, and your policy provisions.
If your company decides to pursue subrogation, the company will work to recover the damages from the responsible party. Damages may involve costs paid by you and the insurance company. Costs paid by you usually means your deductible, but could include amounts over your policy limits not paid by your insurance company. This would depend on the laws in your state and the specific circumstances surrounding the loss.
The subrogation process may also be used if you are at fault for damages. In this case, the other party and/or their insurance company would make a claim against you, usually directly to your insurance company. Your company will review the facts of investigation to determine if you are liable for the damages. Your company may make payment to the other company if you have coverage and it is determined that you would be legally responsible for all or part of the damages.
Keep in mind that often times liability is not clear cut. In some cases, both parties may be partially responsible. Dependent on the laws in your state, both parties may share responsibility for payment of damages. For example, one party may be 40% responsible, and the other party may be 60% responsible. This could mean that both companies make subrogation claims against each other, and each company pays their respective portion of the other party's claim.
In all cases, your participation and cooperation with us in the investigation phase of the claim process is important. Your assistance can help to establish important facts, and preserve evidence, and may help to accelerate the recovery process.