What is legal cover, and is it worth it?

What is legal cover, and is it worth it?

Facing a legal dispute can be a daunting as well as expensive business.  Lawyers and solicitors don’t come cheap and many people would struggle to afford professional representation at all for relatively common legal wrangles, such as those with neighbours over boundaries or access issues.

However, legal expenses cover exists to provide you with such services in the event you might need them. It usually comes as an add-on to home or car insurance cover, but it can also be taken out as stand-alone cover if required.

What is legal expenses cover?

Legal insurance covers you for the cost of expert advice and representation for legal situations related to the home and personal injury.

If it comes as standard with existing cover you’ll commonly get a dedicated helpline you can call in the first instance, and, if needed, the dedicated assistance of solicitors and lawyers who are experts in their field.

Legal insurance might also be provided through an association you belong to, such as a Union or other professional organisation.

What is covered?

Not all policies are the same, and you should check with your insurer or insurance broker if you’re uncertain, but legal expenses insurance usually covers you in the following way:

  • Protection for your legal rights as a home owner, such as involving disputes with neighbours over ownership of land and boundaries.
  • Personal injury claims for compensation, either made by you, or against you; if someone drove into you while you were crossing the road, for example, and you felt they were at fault.
  • Disputes that concern goods or services you’ve bought. You may have paid a fortune for a new kitchen to be fitted, but have ended up in dispute with the installation firm and want compensation.
  • Identity theft is becoming more common and many policies cover the legal help needed recovering money that may have been fraudulently acquired from you, for example.

What isn’t covered?

As with nearly all types of insurance, legal cover comes with a number of exclusions. Most policies will exclude the following from the terms of cover:

  • Any disputes which are considered to be ‘pre-existing’; you may, for example, have a running battle with a neighbour over who owns an area of land adjoining your homes.
  • Disputes which are considered to be ‘matrimonial’ in nature are also nearly always excluded.
  • Any case which your legal representative decides is ‘unwinnable’; this can be hard to take, especially if you think you’re certainly in the right, but insurers can’t pay for the pursuit of justice with potentially limitless costs.

Is it worth it?

Many people face, at some point in their lives, a legal situation that could cost them a small fortune if they need legal representation and advice; so legal expenses cover can certainly come in handy.

It typically costs only £25 a year if tacked on to an existing home insurance policy, a price generally considered worth it for the peace of mind it can bring.

 

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Published 24 October 2017