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Car insurance legal protection cover explained

Car insurance legal cover is available as an add-on for many insurance policies — but how can it cover you in the event of a claim? Read on to find out more.

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Two toy cars involved in a car accidentWhat is car insurance legal expenses cover?

Motor legal protection, or legal expenses cover, is a type of additional protection on your car insurance that provides you with cover for legal expenses. It is used to recoup expenses known as ‘uninsured losses’ that are not covered by your standard car insurance policy.

You can usually choose to add legal expenses cover to your car insurance policy for an additional fee. Alternatively, you can buy standalone legal cover. 

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Car insurance legal cover, also known as motor legal protection, will cover your legal fees if you decide to take legal action following a motor accident that wasn't your fault.

This might be used to make a claim against the other driver, or to give you legal protection if someone else is making a claim against you. It can cover:

  • Personal injury: to yourself or any passengers

  • Damage to your car: if you don’t have comprehensive cover

  • Loss of earnings: if you're unable to work due to an injury

  • Loss of possessions: if they're damaged in an accident and aren't covered elsewhere

  • Expenses: such as phone calls to insurers, or if you’ve had to pay an excess on your car insurance policy

Legal protection insurance can help you recover money lost due to personal injury or any earnings lost as a result of an accident, as well as covering travel expenses. 

Should you decide to make a claim against another driver, solicitors’ fees can be expensive, but legal protection insurance will ensure you’re covered. It can also protect you if you cause the accident and the other driver decides to sue you.

However, it’s important to note that this type of insurance will only cover the legal costs of making a claim, or the cost of defending a claim made against you, including any financial losses incurred during that time. It will not pay you compensation or give you a lump sum of cash following an accident, even if it was not your fault. 

Some car insurance policies will include legal expenses cover as standard, but it’s important to check how much cover each policy is offering. Generally, your legal expenses cover should cover you for at least £50,000. Some will go as high as £100,000 worth of legal cover, so weigh up the cost of the premium against the level of cover on offer.

With some car insurance policies, legal expenses cover will be a paid add-on, usually at an extra cost of around £20 to £40 to the total of the annual premium. It is a relatively low fee for what could save you thousands of pounds later on. 

  • You could save thousands of pounds in legal costs

  • You’ll have quick and easy and access to legal advice, usually through a helpline

  • You may be able to recover money lost due to an injury, loss of earnings or travel expenses

  • It can be a relatively inexpensive add-on to your car insurance policy

  • Your claim may not be successful if your legal defence is weak 

  • You may not be covered if the amount of money being contested is not high enough to cover legal costs

  • If your lawyers believe the case is no longer going in your favour, the insurer could stop covering legal expenses before the case is over

If you need to make a claim, you’ll need to have your policy number and car registration number to hand. You will then need to contact your insurance provider on their claims line – you should be able to find the phone number on your policy documents. 

You will need to provide your insurer with full details of the incident and provide any supporting evidence such as photos of your damaged car. 

Your insurer will then appoint a solicitor for you, or you may be able to nominate your own representative. Your insurer will contact any other relevant parties. 

You can filter insurance quotes based on whether they include legal expenses cover when you search, so you only see the policies suited to your needs.

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