Motor Legal Protection

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Motor legal cover for car insurance is an optional extra you can include in your car insurance policy. What are the costs associated with this type of cover? What exactly does it cover? Most crucially, is it worth investing in motor legal protection?

What is Motor Legal Protection?

Overview of Motor Legal Protection

Motor legal protection, often referred to as legal expenses cover, is an optional add-on for your car insurance policy. It’s designed to cover legal expenses up to a specific limit in case you find yourself involved in a legal case following a car accident.

What Is Motor Legal Protection

Benefits of Motor Legal Protection

This type of cover is beneficial as it helps you recover certain costs that are not typically included in your standard car insurance policy. Here are some examples of what it might cover:

  • Your excess: This is the amount you are required to pay towards a claim on your insurance.
  • Medical costs: Covers medical expenses for you or your passengers if injured in an accident.
  • Travel costs: If your car is out of action, this cover helps with your travel expenses.
  • Loss of earnings: If the accident leaves you unable to work, this cover can compensate for lost income.

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What Does Motor Legal Protection Cover?

Key Aspects of Motor Legal Protection

Motor legal protection primarily aims to cover the costs of legal advice and solicitors’ fees. These are costs you might incur while pursuing or defending a claim related to your car insurance that isn’t included in your standard policy.

What Does Motor Legal Protection Cover

Extended Cover

In addition to covering legal fees in insurance claims, this type of cover extends to other car-related legal situations. For instance:

  • Disputes related to buying or selling a car.
  • Defence costs if you’re accused of a motoring offence.

Adding Legal Protection to Your Policy

When you purchase a car insurance policy, insurers typically offer a variety of add-ons. These can include options like breakdown cover or travel cover for trips outside the UK. Among these options, you have the choice to add motor legal protection to your insurance plan.

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How Much Does Motor Legal Protection Cover Cost?

Typical Cost Range

The cost of motor legal protection cover generally falls between £10 and £25 annually. This range can vary based on the insurance provider and the specific details of the policy.

How Much Does Motor Legal Protection Cover Cost

Comprehensive Policies with Included Cover

Some insurers offer comprehensive car insurance policies that include motor legal expenses cover as a standard feature. This means that the cover is already incorporated within the overall cost of the policy, providing added value.

Importance of Shopping Around

When considering car insurance legal cover, it’s crucial to shop around. This allows you to:

  • Compare policies: Look at different options to determine which one offers better value for money.
  • Evaluate cover levels: Assess which policy provides the appropriate level of cover for your needs.

Beyond the Price Tag

While the price is a significant factor, it’s equally important to read the fine print of the policy. Understanding what is included and the specific scenarios where you would be covered is key to making an informed decision.

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Is Motor Legal Protection Worth the Cost?

Potential Savings on Legal Fees

Motor legal protection is not a mandatory element of car insurance, but it can be financially beneficial.

In instances where a legal case arises from a car accident, this cover could save you thousands of pounds in legal fees, particularly in complex cases where costs escalate significantly. Thus, adding motor legal protection to your policy might be a sensible decision.

Is Motor Legal Protection Worth The Cost

Additional Benefits

Many policies with motor legal protection offer free legal advice on various personal matters, including:

  • Employment issues
  • Family law
  • Conveyancing
  • Probate (administering the will of a deceased person)

Access to a 24-hour helpline for legal advice on car insurance and other subjects is another potential benefit. This can be especially valuable if you need immediate legal guidance and cannot afford it independently.

Considerations and Limitations

However, it’s important to be aware of certain limitations:

  • No guarantee of representation: A lawyer may not take on your claim, particularly if liability in the incident is unclear.
  • Exclusions for at-fault incidents: The cover won’t apply if you are at fault for the accident related to your claim.
  • Time and cost constraints: Claims might be rejected if too much time has elapsed since the incident or if the disputed amount doesn’t justify the cost of court proceedings.
  • Limited choice of solicitors: Insurance providers usually have a specific panel of solicitors, limiting your ability to choose your representative.

Key Policy Condition

It’s worth noting that a fundamental condition of most motor legal protection policies is the requirement for a ‘reasonable prospect of success’.

According to the Financial Ombudsman, this typically means having a greater than 51% chance of winning your case.

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Do I Need Motor Legal Protection Cover?

Legal Requirement and Personal Choice

Motor legal protection cover is not a legal necessity like car insurance. The decision to opt for this extra cover depends on your personal assessment of its value. Essentially, you need to consider whether the benefits are worth the additional cost.

Do I Need Motor Legal Protection Cover

Things to Check Before Purchasing

It’s crucial to do some groundwork before deciding to buy motor legal protection cover:

  • Existing Cover in Your Car Insurance: Verify if your current car insurance policy already includes legal expenses cover.
  • Cover Under Another Person’s Policy: If you are a named driver on someone else’s policy, check if it includes motor legal protection and whether you are also covered under it.
  • Trade Union Membership Benefits: If you are a member of a trade union, you might already have access to free legal advice, which could overlap with what motor legal protection offers.
  • Other Insurance or Banking Packages: Explore whether you have motor legal expenses insurance covering motoring issues under any other insurance or banking package you hold.
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Pros and Cons of Motor Legal Protection

Advantages of Motor Legal Protection

Motor legal protection can offer several benefits:

  • Potential Savings on Legal Fees: This cover can save you significant amounts in legal costs that might arise from car insurance claims.
  • Recoupment of Out-of-Pocket Costs: It can help you recover costs not covered by your standard car insurance, like excess payments and other expenses.
  • Coverage for Various Legal Scenarios: This includes both pursuing and defending claims related to your car insurance.
  • Access to Free Legal Advice: Many policies provide free legal counsel on a wide array of personal matters, extending beyond just car-related issues.
  • 24/7 Legal Advice Helpline: Most policies offer round-the-clock access to legal advice, which can be invaluable in urgent situations.

Pros And Cons Of Motor Legal Protection

Disadvantages of Motor Legal Protection

However, there are also drawbacks to consider:

  • Additional Cost: Adding this cover will increase the overall price of your car insurance.
  • No Coverage When At Fault: If you are responsible for the accident, the cover won’t apply.
  • Uncertainty of Legal Representation: There’s no guarantee that your case will be accepted, especially if the chances of success are low or the potential legal costs outweigh the claim amount.
  • Limited Choice of Lawyers: Typically, you may not have the freedom to choose your lawyer, as insurance providers often have a panel of solicitors.
  • Time Limitations: Claims might be rejected if there’s a substantial delay between the incident and the claim submission.

Additional Considerations

When considering motor legal protection, it’s also worth noting:

  • Policy Limits: Most policies have a cap on the amount they will cover in legal fees.
  • Overlap with Other Covers: You might already have some level of legal cover in place through other insurance policies, memberships, or employment benefits.
  • Ease of Legal Processes: Having this cover can simplify the process of finding and affording legal representation in case of a dispute.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing you have legal support in case of an incident can provide a sense of security, especially for those who frequently travel or have higher exposure to road incidents.

Balancing these pros and cons will help you determine if motor legal protection is a suitable addition to your car insurance policy.

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Is Motor Legal Expenses Cover the Same as Liability Cover?

Understanding the distinctions between motor legal expenses cover and liability cover is essential, as they represent two different types of insurance provisions in the realm of vehicle insurance.

Is Motor Legal Expenses Cover The Same As Liability Cover

Motor Legal Expenses Cover

Motor legal expenses cover primarily assists with the legal costs that may arise from pursuing a car insurance claim or defending yourself in cases of non-fault accidents.

This type of cover can include a range of expenses such as legal advice, court fees, and solicitors’ fees, all within the limits specified in your insurance policy.

An important aspect of this cover is its potential to help you reclaim any damages and expenses that your standard car insurance policy does not cover.

These could include uninsured losses like personal injury claims or loss of earnings following an accident. It’s essentially a safeguard to ensure you’re not left out of pocket after legal proceedings.

Legal Liability Insurance

On the other hand, legal liability insurance is designed to protect you financially if you are responsible for causing injury, death, or property damage to others.

This insurance is also known as third-party liability cover and is a legal requirement for all drivers in the UK.

This type of insurance plays a crucial role in covering compensation costs that you might be ordered to pay in the event of an accident.

For instance, if you are found at fault in a collision that injures another person or damages their property, your liability cover would help pay for these costs.

Key Differences and Importance of Policy Details

The fundamental difference between these two covers lies in their purpose: motor legal expenses cover is about covering your legal costs in the aftermath of an accident, while legal liability insurance is about covering the costs of damages or injuries you may cause to others.

It’s vital to carefully read the terms of any insurance policy you consider. Each policy will have specific details about what is covered under both legal expenses and liability insurance.

Understanding these details ensures that you choose a policy that adequately protects you according to your individual needs and circumstances.

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How Do I Buy Motor Legal Expenses Insurance?

Purchasing motor legal expenses insurance can be straightforward, but it’s important to understand the options and the process involved.

How Do I Buy Motor Legal Expenses Insurance

Included in Comprehensive Car Insurance

Often, legal expenses insurance is included as part of comprehensive car insurance policies.

This inclusion means that when you opt for a comprehensive cover, you might already have legal expenses insurance as part of the package.

It’s essential to check the details of your comprehensive policy to see if this is the case.

Adding to Your Existing Insurance Policy

If your current car insurance policy does not include legal expenses cover, you typically have the option to add it on.

This additional cover is often referred to as ‘before the event’ legal cover (BTE). Adding BTE to your policy can usually be done at the time of purchasing or renewing your car insurance.

It’s a proactive measure, providing legal cover in case you need to pursue or defend a claim in the future.

Standalone ‘After the Event’ Policies

In situations where you didn’t have legal expenses cover before an incident occurred, you can opt for a standalone ‘after the event‘ (ATE) policy.

This type of policy is designed to cover legal expenses for those who find themselves needing to pursue or defend against a claim after an event has already happened.

ATE policies are particularly useful if you suddenly find yourself in a legal dispute regarding a road accident and require immediate legal financial assistance.

Considerations When Purchasing

  • Policy Details: Always examine the specifics of what the legal expenses cover includes. Different policies may have varying limits on legal fees and different types of legal issues they cover.
  • Cost and Value: Compare the costs of adding legal expenses cover to your existing policy versus purchasing a standalone policy. Assess which option offers better value for your specific needs.
  • Provider Reputation: Consider the reputation of the insurance provider, especially their track record in handling legal expense claims.
  • Policy Exclusions: Be aware of any exclusions that might apply in the policy, as these can affect your ability to claim.

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What Are the Alternatives to Motor Legal Protection?

If you’re considering options other than dedicated motor legal protection, there are several alternatives available that can help you manage potential legal costs associated with car accidents or disputes.

What Are The Alternatives To Motor Legal Protection

After the Event Insurance (ATE)

After the event insurance (ATE) is a viable option if you find yourself needing legal cover after an incident has already occurred.

This type of insurance is suitable if someone makes a claim against you that you dispute, or if you decide to pursue a claim not covered by your car insurance policy.

The main advantage of ATE is that you’re not paying for insurance you don’t need. However, it’s important to note that ATE policies are generally more expensive compared to before the event (BTE) legal expenses cover.

‘No Win, No Fee’ Arrangements

Another alternative is engaging with ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors. In this arrangement, you don’t have to pay solicitor fees if your case is unsuccessful.

However, if you win your case, these solicitors typically require a significant percentage of any compensation or damages awarded.

It’s crucial to read all the terms and conditions carefully before entering into such an agreement, to ensure it’s a financially viable option for you.

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Legal Aid

Legal aid may be an option for receiving discounted or free legal advice. This can be particularly useful if you’re facing legal issues that don’t involve making a personal injury claim.

Eligibility for legal aid depends on various factors, including the nature of your legal problem and your financial circumstances.

Comprehensive Car Insurance with Legal Cover

Consider comprehensive car insurance policies that include motor legal expenses as a standard feature.

Sometimes, upgrading to a more comprehensive policy can be more cost-effective than adding legal cover to a basic policy.

Self-Insure

Self-insuring is another approach. This involves setting aside a specific amount of money in a savings account to cover potential legal fees.

The advantage here is that if you never need to use the money for legal fees, it remains available for other purposes.

This method requires disciplined saving and a clear understanding of the potential costs involved in legal disputes.

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Compare Car Insurance with Motor Legal Protection Cover

When determining if motor legal protection cover is a worthwhile addition to your car insurance, a thorough comparison of various insurance deals is essential.

This process helps you evaluate the benefits and costs associated with adding legal protection to your policy.

Steps to Compare Insurance Deals

Gather Quotes

Start by collecting quotes from various insurance providers that offer motor legal protection as part of their packages. Today, many online comparison tools can simplify this process, allowing you to view different policies side-by-side.

Evaluate Cover Levels

Pay close attention to the level of cover provided. Motor legal protection can vary significantly between insurers in terms of what’s included, such as legal fees limits and the types of legal disputes covered. Ensure that the cover aligns with your specific needs and driving habits.

Consider the Costs

Analyse the cost of adding legal protection to your policy. While it may increase your premium, it’s important to weigh this against the potential benefits and savings in legal fees in the event of a legal dispute or accident.

Check Exclusions and Limits

Understand the exclusions and limits of the motor legal protection. Knowing what is not covered is as important as knowing what is included. This helps avoid any surprises in case you need to use the cover.

Importance of Reading the Fine Print

Understanding Policy Terms

Carefully reading the fine print of any insurance policy is crucial. This helps you understand the exact terms and conditions, including any limitations or requirements that might affect your cover.

Assessing Suitability

Ensure that the policy is a good fit for your circumstances. The cheapest policy isn’t always the best if it doesn’t provide the cover you need. Similarly, the most expensive option might offer more than what you realistically require.

Long-term Financial Considerations

Consider the long-term financial implications. While a policy might seem cost-effective now, understanding the terms can help you assess its value over time, especially in regard to renewal costs and claim processes.

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Frequently asked questions

The cost of motor legal protection, also known as legal expenses cover, generally ranges between £20 and £30 per year when added to your car insurance policy.

While this is an additional expense, it can offer financial security in the event you need to pursue or defend a legal case after a car accident, covering up to £100,000 in legal fees. Keep in mind that the actual cost may vary depending on the insurance provider and the specific policy you choose.

Whether motor legal protection is worth it depends on your individual needs, financial situation, and existing cover. The advantages include potential cover of up to £100,000 in legal fees, the ability to recoup costs after an accident, and access to a legal helpline.

However, the additional cost, conditional cover, and potential limitations may not justify the expense for everyone. It is essential to carefully evaluate the pros and cons before deciding if motor legal protection is a worthwhile investment for you.

To make a claim for motor legal protection, follow these steps:

  • Contact your insurer: As soon as possible after the accident, get in touch with your car insurance provider to inform them about the incident and your intention to make a claim for motor legal protection.
  • Provide necessary details: Be prepared to give your insurer all the relevant information about the accident, including the date, time, location, and the parties involved. You may also need to submit evidence such as photographs, police reports, or witness statements.
  • Follow your insurer’s guidance: Your insurance provider will guide you through their specific claims process, which may involve working with a designated legal representative or providing additional documentation.
  • Stay updated: Keep track of your claim’s progress and communicate with your insurer or legal representative as needed.

Remember that each insurance company may have its own claims process, so it’s crucial to familiarise yourself with your policy’s terms and conditions and follow your insurer’s specific procedures.

If you don’t have motor legal protection and find yourself in a situation requiring legal assistance after a car accident, you will be responsible for covering the legal fees and associated costs. In this case, you can explore alternative options, such as:

  • ‘No win, no fee’ solicitors: These lawyers only charge you if your claim is successful, but they typically take a percentage of your awarded damages as their fee.
  • Legal aid: Depending on your situation, you may qualify for legal aid to help cover your legal expenses. However, legal aid is not available for personal injury claims.
  • After-the-event (ATE) insurance: You can take out an ATE insurance policy after an accident to cover legal costs. While this can be more expensive than motor legal protection, it ensures you don’t pay for a service you never use.

It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of these alternatives based on your individual needs, financial situation, and the likelihood of requiring legal assistance after an accident.

Motor Legal Protection covers the policyholder across all their vehicles. To extend cover to multiple drivers, each individual must get their own separate policy.

You cannot claim on your legal expenses insurance if you are responsible for an accident.

Adding legal protection to your policy may not always be included as standard, and you may need to add it as an optional extra. To determine the additional cost, speak with your insurance provider.

You can remove legal expenses cover from your policy without charge from most insurance providers. However, it is crucial to consider the implications of removing legal cover as it is an inexpensive option that could save you significant amounts if you need to make a claim.

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