Getting into a car accident is a stressful experience. Often, it doesn’t just end on the day - you may have to go through the courts to defend yourself and recoup lost earnings through injury. You standard insurance policy should pay out for damages to your vehicle, and any additional personal accident cover might help you if your crash leaves you injured for a long time. But over and above this, if you do have to go to court, you might be liable for legal fees. Legal expenses cover can help cover those costs.
In This Guide:
- What is legal expenses cover?
- How do I take out legal expenses cover?
- How much will legal expenses cover cost?
- How do I make a claim?
- Will my claim definitely be accepted?
- Advantages of legal expenses cover
- Disadvantages of legal expenses cover
What is legal expenses cover?
Legal expenses cover is an optional add-on to your insurance. It’s used to cover the costs of legal expenses should you:
- If you are injured during a car accident that was not your fault and you need to sue the other driver for negligence to cover the cost of not being at work for a set amount of time.
- You might have to pay for expensive physiotherapy or medical bills that were not originally covered in your car insurance. This is called Uninsured Loss Recovery.
- You have an accident with another driver, and they decide to sue you. In this case, legal expenses will be used to pay for a solicitor so that you can defend yourself.
- When you are accused of a motor offence you may need to pay for legal defence in order to prove your innocence.
How do I take out legal expenses cover?
There are multiple ways that you can take out legal expenses cover. The most common way is to add it on to your car insurance policy, but you can also add it on to your home insurance as well. When you add it on to your car insurance the maximum you can claim is around £100,000. It’s worth noting that the minimum you should look for in a policy is around £50,000 as the costs can very quickly add up when it comes to paying solicitors. Pay particular attention to this if you're looking at the cheapest car insurance options as a lot of policies don't include this level of cover.
How much will legal expenses cover cost?
Legal expenses cover is usually quite cheap over the course of the year, typically it can be added on for just £20 to £30.
How do I make a claim?
Making a claim for legal expenses works in much the same way as making a claim on regular car insurance. You’ll need to make sure you have all of your policy details and registration to hand, call the insurer or contact them online, explain what has happened and they will register the claim. The most important thing to remember here is that you cannot claim retrospectively, so make sure that you put the claim through before you seek legal representation.
Will my claim definitely be accepted?
It’s important to remember that just because you have legal expenses cover does not mean that your claim is guaranteed to be accepted. The most common reason for a claim being rejected is that it is not clear who’s fault the accident actually was. Other instances where you cannot claim include:
- Cost of damage that you have intentionally caused.
- Legal costs for drink driving, parking, or violent conduct.
Advantages of legal expenses cover
- Obviously, the best advantage is the cover of legal expenses which can skyrocket quickly when it comes to legal proceedings.
- They can be used to recoup any excess you have paid during a crash that was not your fault.
- Usually, you are entitled to a legal helpline number, which can be useful in a stressful situation such as getting into a car accident.
Disadvantages of legal expenses cover
- The key disadvantage is that even with legal expenses cover, there is no guarantee. People might think this covers them for every eventuality but in reality, this is not the case.
- Claims can be easily rejected for the factors outlined above. It’s also very difficult in a car accident to legally put the fault on one person or the other.
- The insurer can argue that the cost is not enough to warrant court action, for instance if the claim was for £500.