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Do I need home insurance with legal cover?

If you need legal advice, or have a problem you need help resolving, home insurance legal cover could come in handy. Find out how it works and whether you should include it in your home insurance quote.

If you need legal advice, or have a problem you need help resolving, home insurance legal cover could come in handy. Find out how it works and whether you should include it in your home insurance quote.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Home, pet and travel insurance expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
6 min read
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Do I need legal cover on home insurance?

It isn’t a legal requirement to have legal cover on your home insurance but, in certain circumstances, it can prove invaluable. 

With legal expense cover, you could be insured for:

  • Legal action against a nuisance neighbour
  • Employment disputes, such as unfair dismissal
  • Personal injury
  • Contract disputes
  • Medical negligence.

That means if you want to bring a legal case against someone, your costs could be covered.

What is legal expenses insurance?

Legal expenses cover – also known as family legal protection or legal expense insurance (LEI) – could cover the cost of professional advice and representation for a range of potential legal issues.

No one wants to go to court – it’s both stressful and time consuming. But if you ever find yourself needing to take legal action against someone, the right insurance could help.

What’s included in the legal protections of home insurance?

It isn’t just property-related issues your home insurance with legal cover can help you with. It could also cover:

  • Personal injury claims
  • Employment disputes, such as discrimination
  • Disputes over faulty or damaged goods 
  • Issues with neighbours, such as noise and boundary disputes
  • Disputes related to buying or selling a house 
  • Tax disputes 
  • Medical negligence claims
  • Loss of salary if you’re called up for jury service
  • Identity fraud.

The amount of legal cover offered is typically between £25,000 and £100,000.

Always check the policy details carefully – £25,000 sounds like a lot of money, but doesn’t go far when it comes to legal fees.

Many insurance providers offer a 24/7 legal helpline, as well as access to downloadable legal documents and templates.

Terms and conditions vary among providers, so check the policy wording carefully before you buy.

What’s not included in the legal assistance of home insurance?

Your home insurance legal cover is likely to exclude:

  • Compensation payments
  • Ongoing issues and disputes that began before your policy started
  • Legal claims with less than 51% chance of success
  • Motoring claims – your car insurance might include motor legal protection
  • Divorce and child custody
  • Libel cases
  • Disputes that can be covered by Legal Aid, such as a criminal trial
  • Cases that aren’t cost effective – for instance, you’re claiming for £2,000 but legal fees will cost double that.

Is legal expenses insurance the same as liability cover?

Legal expenses insurance and liability insurance are two different types of cover.

Legal expenses insurance could pay solicitor fees if you need to take legal action or defend a claim made against you. 

Liability insurance could help pay compensation if someone brings a claim against you. It offers cover if you damage someone’s property or someone is injured in your home.

Home insurance usually includes liability insurance as standard. But if you work or run a business from home and have clients visiting, you’ll probably need extra cover.

Can legal expenses cover be added to my home insurance policy?

Legal insurance cover can usually be added to your home insurance as an optional extra, but some policies include legal cover as standard, so check to see if it’s already included.

And check whether you already have legal protection – included as part of a bank account, for example – to avoid doubling up on cover. But remember, any legal expense cover you have with your car insurance will only apply to motoring claims.

How much does legal expenses insurance cost?

You can expect to pay £25 to £35 a year to add legal cover to your home insurance.

Costs vary, depending on the level of cover. But when you consider how much it could cost to sue someone, it could prove to be excellent value for money.

It’s also worth remembering that you may also have to pay an excess when you come to claim. This is to prevent people taking unnecessary legal action.

Is legal cover on home insurance worth it?

If you ever find yourself needing to bring a legal case against someone, legal cover on home insurance could be invaluable.

When you consider that solicitors’ fees can start at around £218 an hour – rising to over £512 an hour for a more experienced solicitor in London – access to a dedicated legal helpline alone could make it worthwhile.

However, it’s important to know that your LEI insurance policy doesn’t guarantee you legal representation. You’ll only be covered if you have a ‘reasonable chance’ of winning your claim – that means 51% or more.

What is ‘after the event’ insurance?

Legal expenses cover is usually bought ‘before the event’ or BTE, as an add-on or as part of a home insurance policy. It’s there to protect you if you need legal representation.

‘After the event’, or ATE, cover is bought after something has happened, and is usually tied into no-win, no-fee cases.

Solicitors may ask to buy ATE insurance on your behalf. That way they can make sure their fees are covered, even if they don’t win. It can also cover the other party’s legal costs, if necessary.

What are the alternatives to home insurance with legal cover?

Your home insurance isn’t the only place you can find legal cover. Some providers let you add it to other products, such as life insurance. You may also find that certain bank accounts and credit cards come with a level of legal protection.

And although legal cover isn’t commonly bought as a standalone product, there are insurance providers who offer it.

If you need legal advice and can’t afford to pay a solicitor, there are some alternatives to insurance:

  • Depending on the case and your financial situation, you may be eligible for legal aid
  • If you’re a member of a trade union, they may provide you with legal assistance
  • Solicitors will sometimes take cases on a ‘pro bono’ (free) basis
  • Law centres may be able to provide you with legal advice.

Where can I find home insurance with legal expenses cover?

You can compare home insurance with legal cover with Compare the Market. Just tell us a bit about you, your home and any features or add-ons you want to include. We’ll then show you a list of home insurance quotes to choose from.

Whether you decide to opt for legal expenses cover, comparing home insurance with us is a good way to find a great deal.

Frequently asked question

Can I buy legal expenses cover separately?

It’s possible to buy standalone legal expenses cover, but it’s usually included in your home insurance or added as an extra.

You can also arrange after the event legal expenses cover separately, often through your solicitor.

Can I remove legal expenses cover from my home insurance policy?

If you added legal expenses cover to your policy, you should be able to remove it. Give your insurance provider a call to get the ball rolling.

If your policy includes legal expenses cover as standard, you won’t be able to remove it.

Will I need to pay an excess to use legal expenses cover?

Whether you’ll need to pay an excess will depend on your policy, so read the small print carefully. You can find home insurance policies that don’t charge an excess on legal expenses cover.

I have legal expenses cover. How do I access legal advice?

Insurance providers usually have a helpline to call if you need legal advice. They’ll assess your situation and recommend next steps. If you can’t find a helpline number, give your insurance provider a call on their main contact number.

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Anna McEntee - Insurance expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

Learn more about Anna

Rachel Lacey - Insurance and money expert

Rachel’s a self-confessed money nerd who’s been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She spent 17 years writing for Moneywise, including a few years as Editor, and likes making complicated subjects like insurance, pensions, investing and tax, easy for people to understand.

Learn more about Rachel

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