The best way to make the negotiation process move smoothly is to document your property damage and medical expenses as much as possible. The more evidence you have, the better your chances are of having your claim settled. Generally, bodily injury claims are more complicated to settle than property damage claims.
You should also remember that insurance companies don’t always operate with your best interests in mind. So, don’t feel obligated to accept the first settlement offer that they make, especially if you know that you’re entitled to more.
If negotiations are unsuccessful, you can consider hiring an attorney to help you through the process. But if you think the insurer is acting in bad faith, then you should report them to your state’s regulator.
An example of subrogation is when a car insurance company pays out a claim to a policyholder before fault is determined and then attempts to recover their costs from the other driver. Subrogation is the legal process by which insurers receive compensation from an at-fault party. Subrogation also happens with business/general-liability insurance.… read full answer
Simple Example of Subrogation in Car Insurance
Driver A hits Driver B, who did nothing wrong. Driver B files a claim with her own collision insurance, pays her deductible, and receives a check for the covered amount. Since Driver A was at fault, Driver B’s insurer begins subrogation with Driver A’s insurer in order to recover money equivalent to the amount of the claim and deductible.
In this scenario, fault might take weeks or months to determine, depending on whether Driver A admits wrongdoing. However, Driver B benefits from subrogation because she can receive a claim payout immediately, without waiting for Driver A’s insurance company to pay for the damage once fault is eventually decided.
Examples of Situations Where Subrogation Might Happen
At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured
If you are in an accident and the other driver is at fault but not insured, you may be able to cover your expenses using your own collision or uninsured motorist insurance. Your insurance company may subsequently sue the uninsured driver directly for reimbursement of the claim costs and your deductible. Since they’re suing an individual, not negotiating with an insurance company, this can be a longer process that’s less likely to recover funds.
Both Drivers Are At Fault
An example of an accident where both drivers are at fault would be if you accelerated into an intersection and the light turned red before you cleared it, and, at the same time, another driver ran a red light and hit you, causing $10,000 worth of damage. While both drivers’ insurance companies investigate the accident, you can file a claim with your collision insurance for the $10,000 of damage and pay a $1,000 deductible.
If the investigation determines that the other driver is 60% at fault and you are only 40% at fault, you and your insurer may be able to recover part of your $10,000 collision claim costs, depending on the laws of your state. Generally, because you were found to be 40% at fault, you can only recoup 60% of the costs you and your insurance company paid for the claim. That means your insurance company will try to recover $6,000 of the original claim, and you’d receive $600 of your original $1,000 deductible.
If another driver is at fault in an accident that causes $10,000 worth of damage, and your insurance company can only recover 50 percent of the loss ($5,000), this is considered a partial recovery. The partially recovered funds will be divided between you and your insurance company to reflect the percentages of money paid to repair your car.
If you paid only 10% of the total claim, or your $1,000 deductible, and your insurance company paid 90%, or the remaining $9,000 of the total claim, any recovered funds will be divided based on the ratio of your payment versus your insurance company’s payment. With a partial recovery of $5,000, you’d receive $500, while your insurance company would receive $4,500.
A waiver of subrogation is a legal clause that prevents an insurance company from recovering the money they paid on a claim from the responsible party’s insurer. In car insurance, a waiver of subrogation usually keeps the not-at-fault driver’s insurer from recouping claims payments from an at-fault driver.
Say Driver B ran a red light and hit you when you were driving legally. You need your car repaired soon, but Driver B won’t admit fault, so you file a collision claim with your own insurance company and pay your deductible.
Then, your insurer begins the process of subrogation, negotiating with Driver B’s insurance company to try to replace the money it paid for your claim. You will even get your deductible back if subrogation is successful.
However, Driver B may offer to pay a set sum for the damage if you agree to sign a waiver of subrogation. Signing this waiver would mean forfeiting your right to get any more money from Driver B or his insurance company, regardless of any expenses from the accident that might arise in the future.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. This question was posted by WalletHub. Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
Ad Disclosure: Certain offers that appear on this site originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on an offer’s details page using the designation "Sponsored", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to present a wide array of offers, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.