Car Insurance - Motor Legal Protection/Legal Expenses Cover
When buying any type of car insurance you may well be offered various extras that can be added to
the main insurance policy. These are commonly known as "Optional Extras" and are
literally small additional insurance policies designed to run concurrently with the
main car insurance. However they do normally come at a small price, so by adding them you will
be raising the overall cost of your car insurance premium, with the amount depending entirely
on how many you buy.
One extra routinely offered alongside car insurance is Legal
Protection Cover, which can also be referred to as Legal Expenses Cover or just LE Cover. But
what exactly does this insurance do and is it really necessary to have? One might wonder why any
extra costs are justified when, for example, Fully Comp Car Insurance is there to cover all
eventualities a driver is likely to encounter. This alone can cause many to think the insurance
policy they are buying has hidden shortfalls, and by not taking out the extra Legal Expenses Cover
they are leaving themselves wide open to future problems. Some may even feel apprehensive
that the car insurance might not deliver at all, even if it is the all encompassing Fully Comp
Insurance, and that at a crucial time they will be left high and dry.
So is Legal Protection
Cover a necessity, or by not buying this extra insurance cover are we really being penny wise or
Cover For Legal Expenses
Firstly, it's a good idea to establish where Legal Expenses Insurance will take over from
the cover offered in the main insurance policy. To cut to the chase, Legal Protection will be
of greatest benefit in the aftermath of an accident, especially when it was a non-fault
one. In other words, where the other driver or "Third Party" was entirely at
fault. In any case though, this always has to be proven, which can be a tricky task in
itself. But where the innocent party has sustained uninsured losses, they will now be able
to seek help and legal advice on making a claim to recover those losses, which can be costly
but is more than covered in a good Legal Protection Policy.
At this point if you
were to go it alone you would probably seek the advice of a good Solicitor to tackle the claim
for you, and at today's prices this could easily be in the region of £100 per hour. If, however,
you had taken out Legal Expenses Cover with your main Car Insurance then hefty legal fees will
not be of much concern to you, and the small extra you paid on your premium will suddenly look
a good investment.
As well as insurance for legal expenses the policy will also normally
cover various other scenarios too. Say, for example, your car was off the road for some
time due to an accident then most Legal Protection will allow for the use of a replacement
hire or courtesy car. You will also frequently be covered for loss of earnings, out of pocket
expenses, damage to personal effects and compensation for any injuries sustained etc. Those with
Third Party Policies may even find that Legal Cover extends to accident repair costs as well, however for
Fully Comp Policyholders this won't be of great importance as their insurance already covers this. Also,
in any insurance claim situation there is an excess, the part of the claim that the
policyholder has to pay, which could be quite a substantial figure, but is also often covered
in Legal Expenses Insurance. This will be of benefit to both Third Party and Fully Comp Policyholders
In the event of a non-fault accident the Insurance Company will
either help you directly or appoint a Solicitor to work with you. However, car insurers do
have plenty of experience in settling claims and will advise you on the best way forward. But
with your Legal Protection in place you will now have the financial leverage to pursue your
claim and the best chance of successfully recovering your losses.
Though, do be aware of
the terms and conditions attached to any Motor Legal Protection Policy. Normally in the small
print you will see the phrase " where we feel a reasonable chance of success". In
other words, the Insurers and your appointed Solicitor might look at your claim and form an
opinion on the chances of its success, if there appears little hope they may instruct you
to discontinue with the claim.
In this situation the Insurance Company might pursue a
split settlement instead. This is where each driver will recover part of their losses from
the other persons Insurance Company. It's worth noting that the most common settlement is
a 50/50 split, with the average cost in the region of £3500 for each Insurance Company, so
if there is any chance at all of reducing this to zero with a successful claim then they will
The chances of success in a non-fault claim rely heavily on the Insurance Company
establishing liability for the accident, and this is hinged almost exclusively on evidence.
So the more details, photographs and witness statements you can give your Insurance Company
the easier it will be for them to establish who was at fault. If there's enough supporting evidence
to prove you were not to blame then there's a good chance your claim for losses from
the third party will be a successful one.
To further assist a claim it's worthwhile
keeping any receipts and wage slips, or if injury occurred maybe a diary of how the injury is
affecting everyday life. Jot down notes of days taken off work, medical appointments, loss
of earnings or contracts etc. If you are receiving specialist medical treatment for an injury
then keep a record of this as well. Once liability is established and there is a reasonable chance
of success, you will be expected to supply your Car Insurance Company with thorough details to
assist them with the claim.
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