It can be tempting to decline add-ons, but motor legal expenses is one ‘extra’ that should not be discounted. We truly believe it is an essential extension and, considering the very low cost, every motor vehicle insurance client should consider adding legal expenses to their policy.
Motor legal expenses covers the legal costs to defend or pursue action against another driver. So, what are the key benefits to having motor legal expenses insurance?
You could claim back:
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Motor legal expenses insurance is an ancillary product which is designed to cover the legal costs arising out of action to claim your out-of-pocket costs associated with a non-fault accident, or to defend against claims from another driver. It provides additional benefits and covers not usually included in your standard private, or commercial, vehicle insurance policy.
Examples of some out-of-pocket costs which you may incur as a result of an accident include:
Your motor insurance policy excess
Most insurance policies will include a policy excess, whether that is £100 or £1,000. Is it fair that you pay that when the accident wasn’t your fault? A solicitor can help you claim back this expense.
Personal possessions that get damaged in the accident
If, during an accident, any of your personal possessions get damaged – such as your mobile phone, camera, or glasses – then, with a standard motor insurance policy you’d be out of pocket. Claim back these losses through your motor legal expenses policy.
Medical expenses associated with the accident
If you need some physiotherapy, for example, as a result of a non-fault accident then you’ll be able to claim back the cost of this treatment from the third-party. The legal process can be expensive. Motor legal expenses insurance covers this cost.
Like-for-like vehicle replacement
One very important consideration is that of any courtesy car you are provided with while your car/van is being repaired or replaced. Often your policy will include provision for a replacement vehicle, but this could end up being a car provided by the garage where the repair is being undertaken. If your car is a large family saloon, or an estate used for deliveries, or a commercial van with your tools in, being provided with a small 3-door hatchback is not going to be helpful.
Hiring a suitable like-for-like vehicle will be a considerable cost and one you shouldn’t have to bear if the accident was someone else’s fault. But this wouldn’t be covered under a standard insurance policy. Motor legal expenses insurance would cover the legal costs associated with claiming back this out-of-pocket cost.
Loss of earnings
If you’re self-employed or on a zero-hours contract then an accident that leaves you unable to work is going to be devastating. You’re able to claim back your loss of earnings from the third-party at fault for the accident. However, a solicitor can cost thousands. That’s where legal expenses insurance can be a life-saver.
In essence, motor legal expenses insurance is designed to cover the legal costs of claiming back losses from the third-party that would not, usually, be covered by a standard car insurance policy – otherwise known as uninsured losses – in the event of a non-fault accident. Here’s an example:
Jenny is involved in an accident which is not her fault. When the accident occurred she was on the way to the train station to take a train to London to meet friends for a theatre trip. Her camera was in the car and was damaged beyond repair. She also had some private physiotherapy as her back and legs were sore. She also used her car for deliveries for her business – which was a large estate.
While the third-party accepted blame and the insurance was all settled she was considerably out-of-pocket, as the insurance only paid for the damage to her car. Her uninsured losses had included the cost of her train ticket (£30), theatre ticket (£90), camera (£230), physiotherapy (£240) and the hire of a larger estate vehicle as the insurer only offered a small car (£280).
To get legal help to chase the third-party for payment could easily costs many thousands.
With legal expenses cover the legal fees were covered, allowing the claim to be managed effectively and securing her the £870 cost of her out-of-pocket expenses.
Legal expenses insurance is remarkably affordable. Cover limits are up to £100,000 and the insurance is very cheap – usually no more than £35 per year.
When you consider the potential out-of-pocket costs that can be incurred due to an accident (legal fees, policy excess, hire-car costs, personal injury medical expenses, possessions) then it really makes sense to include this add-on when purchasing private car/van insurance.
Absolutely, this is the primary benefit of having legal expenses insurance in place. However, it is important to note that your claim will be assessed to ascertain your chances of success during the legal process. If it is clear and evident that you are at fault, for example, you can not use the insurance to cover the costs of a spurious case.
No, it’s not mandatory to have motor legal expenses in the same way you have to have car insurance. But it is highly recommended as your out-of-pocket expenses can quickly add up in the event of an accident – especially if you have to take legal action against another driver.
There are some comprehensive insurance policies that may include an element of legal cover, but it is not common. Always check with your provider whether you have legal cover in place. Third party cover will not include legal cover.
Imagine you’re on your way to a concert with your partner when you’re involved in a non-fault accident. You’re unable to attend the concert and your hotel booking is also lost. The cost of the tickets and the hotel room would not be covered with a standard motor insurance policy. That could be £500+.
Or imagine that due to a personal injury you sustain in the accident you’re unable to work, leaving you with a £10,000 loss in earnings. Again, this wouldn’t be covered with a standard motor policy.
An accident can be investigated and fault attributed to one or another party, or it may be agreed on a 50/50 split of blame. In this case any legal expenses claim will also be reduced in line with the percentage split.
So, for example, if you claim £1,000 for out-of-pocket expenses and the accident is determined to be 50/50 then your insurance would only cover 50% of your expenses – in this case, £500.
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