If you’re comparing car insurance quotes, you’ll almost certainly come across a section where you’re asked if you’d like to add motor legal protection.
Motor legal protection is an optional extra that can help cover the cost of legal expenses that might be needed if you’re involved in an accident that’s not your fault.
Do you need motor legal protection?
Strictly speaking, you don’t need legal protection – as it’s not a requirement of the law.
However, since motor legal cover is usually a very low cost add on to your policy, it could save you a lot of money if you find yourself in a vehicle-related legal dispute.
Is legal protection worth the extra cost?
Before you decide whether it’s worth adding motoring legal protection to your car insurance policy, it’s probably worth checking to see if you have legal cover elsewhere:
- If you have an existing car insurance policy, you might find legal cover’s already built-in
- Some current accounts include legal expenses insurance that covers motoring – so check your banking paperwork
- Trade union memberships often offer free legal advice that covers motoring – so again, check your paperwork
- If you’re driving a car as a named driver, you may find that their policy covers you for legal costs
Assuming you don’t have cover anywhere else, then it’s a good idea to explore legal protection in more detail, so you can decide if it’ll be worth it for you.
How does motor legal protection work exactly?
In theory, a basic insurance claim is relatively straightforward. Assuming your claim is successful, you’ll call your insurer, complete a form, and get a payout.
However, things get more complicated if you’re in an accident that isn’t your fault and you have to take the other driver to court. Or, perhaps there’s a dispute about circumstances and the other driver decides to take legal action against you.
This is where legal protection is useful.
Legal protection doesn’t actually cover the cost of employing your own solicitor - as your insurer will provide one for you. However, it does cover the costs that can come as a result of a legal case. These costs generally include:
- Compensation to cover loss of earnings
- Medical expenses for personal injuries
- Hire car costs and travel expenses
- Out of pocket costs – like calls to insurers, etc
There’s always a chance that the other person will be found to be liable for the incident – which means you won’t have to cover these costs or any legal expenses. However, if you’re found the be in the wrong, these costs alone can run to tens of thousands of pounds.
Motor legal protection will typically cover you for up to £100,000 of costs – and some insurers offer significantly more. If you need your legal cover, it’s usually just a case of calling your insurer and talking to them about how to access the protection you have.
What does motor legal protection give you that you don’t get with standard car insurance?
Car insurance is excellent at getting your vehicle back on the road – but there are plenty of things it doesn’t cover as standard.
Let’s look at some examples where motor legal cover offers cover above and beyond what you’d get with standard car insurance:
· Example 1: Injury to you or a passenger
If you or your passenger are injured in an accident, motor legal protection could help you seek compensation for any injuries you might have.
· Example 2: Medical costs
If you need paid treatment for an injury or distress as a result of an accident, motor legal protection could mean you don’t have to pay this out of your own pocket.
· Example 3: Loss of possessions
If any of your possessions are lost or damaged as a result of an accident or theft involving your car, motor legal protection could help you claim the cost of the stolen or damaged items (assuming they’re not covered elsewhere).
· Example 4: Loss of earnings
If you’re in an accident that’s not your fault and you can’t work as a result, legal protection could help you recover any lost earnings.
Does motor legal protection cover everything?
Like most insurance products, there are some things that motor legal protection won’t cover you for.
You can’t be sure that your insurers’ solicitor will always take the case on your behalf – even if you’ve paid for the cover. They will look at how likely they are to win the case – and if it’s looking unlikely, they may refuse to refuse to help you claim. Insurers are usually able to quantify how likely it is that a case will go in yours/their favour; many look for at least a 50% chance that the case will be successful.
Does motor legal protection only cover you if a case goes to court?
Although motor legal protection will cover you if a court judge decides there are costs to be covered, most cases actually never get this far.
There’s a lot of time, effort, and cost involved with going to court – so solicitors will try to resolve a case without this additional step. The good news is, motor legal protection doesn’t just cover you for court-imposed costs; it will also cover you if a case is settled through negotiation between solicitors.