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Car insurance legal cover

There are a few reasons you might need motor legal protection. Here’s a quick guide to where adding legal expenses cover to your car insurance policy might come in handy. 

There are a few reasons you might need motor legal protection. Here’s a quick guide to where adding legal expenses cover to your car insurance policy might come in handy. 

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
3
minute read
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Posted 7 AUGUST 2020

What is legal protection on car insurance?

Car insurance legal cover is a common car insurance add-on. It’s a form of additional cover which protects you against legal expenses, up to an agreed limit, that may be the result of a car accident that wasn’t your fault. With the right motor legal protection, you’ll be able to make a claim against, or protect yourself against a claim, from another driver, without having to worry about the cost.

What does it cover?

Motor legal protection can cover a variety of legal expenses, including claims relating to:

  • Personal injury - either to yourself or any passengers
  • Damages - to your car if you don’t have fully comprehensive car insurance
  • Loss of earnings – if you’re left unable to work due to an injury
  • Other expenses – such as the excess on your car insurance policy for making a claim

It’s important to know that legal cover doesn’t provide the compensation relating to these claims, it is only for the legal costs associated with making claims for compensation. Therefore, you won’t receive a lump sum, only the amount to cover these legal fees.

Why might you need legal expenses insurance?

Legal expense cover is there to protect you, financially, if you need to raise a claim against another driver. With legal cover in place, your insurance will pay a solicitor’s fees associated with making your claim – often amounting to more than you’d think. 
 
Legal expenses cover can also protect you if you cause an accident and the other driver decides to sue you. Just be aware that this might not be the case if the other driver isn’t insured or the claim is covered by another policy. 
 
The idea of taking legal action following an accident might seem like a step too far. But if you sustain injuries from an accident that isn’t your fault, you might be left with expensive physiotherapy bills or need other medical treatment that your car insurance won’t cover. Should this happen, you’ll probably want to recoup those losses. This is known as Uninsured Loss Recovery. 
 
You could also be faced with a loss of income, perhaps due to an injury which leaves you unable to work, or you’re forced to take time off to deal with the incident. Legal cover can allow you to claim for any loss of income, as well as any other expenses that result from the accident, such as the excess on your own car insurance policy which you were forced to claim on. However, it’s important to note that legal cover only applies to the costs associated with making and defending against claims, this type of cover will not pay out for compensation. 
 
You may find that legal cover is included in your car insurance policy already. It’s always important to check this before taking out cover, and ensure that your policy offers enough protection. 
 
Legal expenses insurance is a common add-on that is relatively inexpensive, with cover usually costing between £20-30, but can save you thousands if you need to make a claim following an accident, making it very worthwhile.

When else might I need legal expenses insurance?

If you’re accused of a motoring offence, you may find you need to pay for a legal defence. Similarly, you could find yourself involved in a dispute when it comes to buying, selling or repairing a car. If either scenario goes to court, you’ll be covered for fees via legal expenses insurance.

What are the pros and cons of legal cover?

Pros:

  • It can save you thousands in legal expenses
  • Provides access to legal advice to help you with any claims
  • It is cheap and sometimes included in a standard car insurance policy

Cons:

  • You may be unsuccessful in your claim if your legal defense isn’t deemed strong enough
  • You may only be able to claim if the amount contested is more than the relevant legal costs
  • Your cover could end if your lawyer decides that the case is likely to fail, even if it has already begun

How can I make a claim?

First of all, it’s important that you keep all of your policy documents in a safe place, where you can refer to them when you need to. Your policy number and car registration are two of the common details needed while processing a claim. 
 
Start your claim by contacting your insurance provider. They should have a dedicated phoneline or online service. You should then provide them with a full account of the incident, answer their relevant questions and provide any supporting evidence you can. This may include a police report or photos of your vehicle etc. 
 
Once your claim has been processed, you’ll be assigned a lawyer who will handle your case, including contacting the other relevant parties.

Can I claim on my legal expenses insurance if the accident is my fault?

If you’re to blame for an accident, you won’t be able to claim on your legal expenses cover.  

How do I add legal protection to my car insurance?  

Legal protection doesn’t always come as standard – you might need to add it as an optional extra. Speak to your insurance provider for advice on doing so. 

Can I remove legal cover from my policy?

Most insurance providers will allow you to remove legal expenses cover from your policy free of charge. You may also receive a partial refund for the period which you are no longer covered. However, you should carefully consider removing legal cover, as it can save you thousands if you need to make a claim.

How much does it cost to add legal expense cover to your car insurance? 

Adding legal protection to your car insurance shouldn’t be a huge expense. You’re probably looking at £20 to £30 a year.  

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