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Do I need legal cover as part of my home insurance?

Do I need legal cover as part of my home insurance?

Legal expenses cover offers additional protection as part of your home insurance and can be a cost-effective way to get legal help if you need it. So what exactly is legal expenses cover? Why would you need it? And is it worth it?

Chris King
From the Home team
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Posted 21 FEBRUARY 2020

What is legal expenses cover?

Legal expenses cover, also known as family legal protection or LEI, is typically additional cover that can be added to your home insurance. LEI covers the cost of legal advice and representation for disputes, incidents or claims made against you, for example:

  • someone makes a claim against you after injuring themselves in your home
  • tradesmen do a poor job in your home but still demand full payment
  • property disputes with neighbours
  • someone claims you’ve mis-represented your home during the sale process.

Most home insurance providers offer LEI as an optional extra costing, on average, £30.

However, depending on the provider and home insurance package you choose, you may find you’ve a certain amount of legal expenses cover included as standard. Typically, the amount of legal cover offered is between £50,000 and £100,000.

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

It’s important to know that, in almost all cases, your provider will only offer to act on your behalf if your claim stands a ‘reasonable chance of success’. That’s a likelihood of no less than 51%.

What’s included in home insurance legal expenses cover?

In addition to property-related legal assistance, home insurance LEI may also cover you for: 

  • personal injury claims 
  • employment disputes, such as unfair dismissal or discrimination 
  • disputes over faulty or damaged goods 
  • issues with neighbours, such as noise and boundary disputes 
  • tax disputes 
  • medical negligence claims 
  • loss of salary if you’re called to do jury service. 

Terms and conditions will apply, so check the policy wording carefully before you buy.  

What’s not included in home insurance legal cover?

It’s important to read your policy in full, so you know exactly what the limits and exclusions are. Legal expenses cover will vary among insurance providers, but the following situations are typically excluded:

  • compensation payments
  • ongoing issues and disputes that began before you started your policy
  • legal claims that have less than 51% chance of success
  • motoring claims - check whether your car insurance includes motor legal protection
  • matrimonial disputes and divorce proceedings
  • libel cases
  • disputes that can be covered by Legal Aid, such as a criminal trial.

Is it worth taking out home insurance legal expenses cover?

This is really down to you. But, if you consider that solicitors’ fees can start at around £100 per hour, access to a dedicated legal helpline alone could make it worthwhile.

Also, cuts in Legal Aid funding now mean that around one million fewer legal aid claims are accepted and processed each year. This could leave many people with crippling legal fees, or no access to legal representation at all.

Before you decide to buy legal expense cover as an add-on to your home insurance, check whether it’s already included. When getting a quote through Compare the Market, we’ll show you on the results page the policies that include Legal Expenses and those that don’t, as well as the cost to add the cover should you want it.

It’s also worth checking whether you have any legal cover included as part of a bank account or another service, so you don’t double up on cover.

Some buildings insurance and home contents policies include family legal protection, as standard.

Where can I find home insurance with legal expenses cover?

You can compare home insurance with legal cover right here, with Compare the Market. Tell us a bit about you, your home and any specific features or add-ons you want to include, and we’ll send you a list of suitable quotes to choose from.

Whether you decide to opt for legal expenses cover or not, comparing home insurance with us is a good way to find a great deal.

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