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What is car insurance legal expenses cover?

Car insurance legal expenses cover is available as a feature or add-on for many insurance policies — but how can it cover you in the event of a claim?

Car insurance legal assistance, or legal expenses cover, is an additional optional feature when buying car insurance. Sometimes it is already included in your car insurance cover, but what exactly is it? And if you have to pay extra for legal expenses car insurance, is it worth it? In this guide we explain the advantages and disadvantages of car insurance legal expenses cover, and if it is right for you.

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As the name suggests, car insurance legal expenses cover is a type of additional protection on your car insurance that provides you with cover for legal expenses. This is for legal expenses that would arise if you decided to take legal action following a motor accident that was not your fault.

In the unfortunate event that you have a road collision in your car, you may need legal assistance. This might be to make a claim against the other driver or to give you legal protection if someone else is making a claim against you. Obviously, legal costs can quickly mount up and if you don’t have legal expenses cover on your car insurance policy, it might be difficult to get an alternative cost-effective plan in place at short notice.

Why do I need legal expenses cover on my car insurance?

Even though you may not have been at fault for an accident, you may still have had to pay up quite a bit of money following on from it. On top of this, you may have also incurred financial losses, possibly due to an injury making it difficult to work, or simply having to take time off to deal with all the admin and paperwork.

Legal expenses cover on your car insurance can help you recover money lost due to personal injury, and any earnings lost as a result of the case, as well as covering travel expenses. It is quite likely you would have had to pay your car insurance policy’s excess in order to activate cover following your accident but legal expenses cover on your plan can help recover the money you paid for that excess.

However, the way that car insurance legal expenses cover works is simply as a means to cover legal costs – nothing more than that. That means it will not pay you compensation or give you a lump sum of cash following an accident, even if it was not your fault. Car insurance legal expenses cover just covers the legal costs of making a claim, or the cost of defending a claim made against you, which includes any financial losses incurred during that time. This might be due to another driver’s negligence or you needing to defend yourself against another driver’s claims.

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. But is it right for you? Read on to learn the advantages and potential drawbacks of legal expenses cover.

Advantages of car insurance legal expenses cover

First and foremost, the biggest advantage to taking out legal cover on your car insurance is the potential to save thousands of pounds in legal costs. Should you ever need legal assistance after a motor accident, you will be grateful that you decided to go for the option that included legal expenses cover.

Many of the deals on legal expenses cover also give you access to an advice service or helpline, allowing you to quickly get legal advice before you decide to take any action or in the event that you need to defend yourself against a claim.

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As mentioned previously, legal expenses cover can also help you retrieve the money you paid in excess if the accident was not your fault.

However, there are some disadvantages when it comes to getting legal cover, so read on to learn more and what your other options might be to see if it’s right for you.

Disadvantages of legal expenses cover

Before you can get cover for legal expenses, your lawyers will still need to decide if they want to take the case on or not. They will essentially make their assessment based on the likelihood of achieving a successful outcome. So for example, if a driver was making a claim against you for negligent driving, and the lawyers felt that you had no chance of successfully defending the claim, the insurer could decide to not provide you with any cover for it.

Similarly, if the amount of money being contested was not high enough to cover the legal costs, you may not receive any legal expenses cover. This might be the case if the losses you were trying to recover were worth £1,500, but the legal expenses would total £2,000.

Essentially, even if you felt you needed to take legal action, it does not mean you will always get your expenses covered. The decision is often out of your hands unless you can really prove that you have a good chance of succeeding.

On top of this, the chances of success can change over the course of the case, so if the lawyers feel that the case is no longer going in your favour, the insurer could stop covering legal expenses before the case is even over.

However, many insurance policies include legal expenses cover at no extra cost, and it can be a valuable feature that you may need to make use of in the event of a claim.

Including legal cover in your insurance policy

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

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