Do I need legal cover on home insurance? It’s an important question.
From a legal point of view, you do not officially need to have legal costs in your home insurance. However, legal coverage offers a range of legal protection benefits and so may be worth the extra cost, even if you don’t think you need it.
As with most insurance policies, you don’t know how much you need any particular form of coverage until you need to file a claim. And of course, even with the best insurance, everyone involved hopes that no one has to file a claim.
Do I need legal cover on home insurance? What coverage is there?
Home insurance legal aid coverage includes access to a telephone line for legal advice. That means you can get valuable legal help. Legal helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all year round.
Then various covered legal costs can be covered.
Legal defence coverage includes:
- Consumer disputes
- Equality Matters: If you have been denied service for a violation of the Equality Act, your legal costs may be covered.
- Personal Injury Claims
- Civil Claims for Loss or Damage to Property in the Home
- Professional fees as a result of an in-depth tax investigation by HM Revenue & Customs.
- Some pretensions in defence of the criminal charge
- Violations of a school’s admission policy
- Probate disputes
- identity theft
This is just an overview, so be sure to read our policy wording for more information. Some insurance policies may pay out the disputed amount if the insurance company decides it will likely cost less than filing a lawsuit.
So in that case, your home insurance policy can save you the emotional ordeal of the legal process and come to a solution right away.
What is the coverage of legal assistance in a home insurance policy?
Family protection insurance or legal fees provides financial coverage to help you pay legal fees if you need professional legal assistance in a variety of circumstances. Any insurer that offers this valuable, often additional protection, has different types and amounts of coverage available.
What does Legal Protection cover?
Coverage varies from insurer to insurer, so it is always important to check your policy to find out what coverage you have.
- Claims usually have a minimum dispute amount ie claims of less than £250 plus VAT will not be covered.
- They need at least a 51% success rate when reviewed by a legal professional to accept the claim.
- You should seek advice from your legal expenses insurer and receive instructions before incurring or applying separately for legal fees
- Sometimes there is a coverage period before claims are accepted i.e. property infringement (because issues like this don’t start overnight)
Here we look at some of the circumstances in which you can expect to be covered and what this means for you in practice.
Real estate purchase and sale
This can often be a lengthy process and is almost certainly expensive. The last thing you need is increased costs if a contractual dispute arises over the sale or purchase of your property. Disputes are covered by the broker, buyer/seller or even the mover, so you can rest assured that this element of legal protection will help you cover the costs associated with legal action.
There may be a breach of contract for goods or services that you have purchased or rented. Maybe you hired a carpet cleaner for the weekend and the company won’t return your deposit, or you hired a company to re-gutter the house, but they only did half the job and you’ve already paid in advance. Handling and resolving these scenarios will incur costs when taking legal action.
This can include any dispute arising from the sale of your or your family’s assets. Please note that this does not cover any commercial activity.
The problem with the neighbours. What if your neighbor has had a new fence built and has ventured into the dividing line next to you or damaged the garden? These are common problems that arise, as well as situations with unsociable or noisy neighbors. Legal fees can cover the costs of legal action for these types of issues.
You may come home one day to find damage to your property, but no one has acknowledged responsibility. In such cases, legal protection coverage can help.
All these valuable covers are included as standard in your Intelligent Insurance home policy, at no extra cost. Coverage is up to £25,000, subject to policy terms and claim limits, with no excess.
For a small extra premium, you can upgrade to Family Legal Protection Plus, which increases your coverage to £100,000 and additional key coverage in the following areas:
Personal Identity Fraud
Fraud identification is a growing problem and it doesn’t look like it will go away anytime soon. Identity theft can involve several scenarios; Fraudsters can use your information to open a bank account, order products in your name, obtain credit cards or loans, and even sign cell phone contracts. Such criminal activities can become very serious, with several known cases of scammers even obtaining items like a passport or driver’s license, all in the name of one person.
Understandably, this experience can be very stressful. That’s why we’ve incorporated personal identity fraud coverage and access to a 24-hour legal helpline into our Family Legal Protection Plus policy.
Tips to keep your identity safe;
- Don’t leave any bills in sight
- Notify your bank if a regular statement does not arrive
- Redirect your mail via Royal Mail when you move a home
- Shred all the paperwork with your name, address or bank details
- Don’t keep your password or PINs in obvious places; try to remember them or use a secure password manager app
Disputes with your employer can arise out of the blue and many of those problems are unforeseen. An example of this is unfair dismissal when the case comes to court.
You may have often heard the phrase, “What would you do if you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault?” While we all hope this doesn’t happen, it’s a good idea to be prepared should this situation arise. Did you know that more than 3 million people are injured in accidents at home, in cars, at work and outdoors, and most are not at fault?
Personal injury is known to be complex; You may be able to file a personal injury claim against the person or company responsible for causing the accident. This can often be a costly process, which is why it is advantageous to take out statutory home insurance. This coverage can help pay legal fees for conducting legal proceedings.
Medical malpractice occurs when a physician or health care professional fails to provide an acceptable standard of treatment, resulting in patient injury. In this scenario, you may be able to take legal action for damages.
What is not covered by the legal coverage of home insurance?
Legal expenses insurance is only there to cover legal costs, not the compensation itself. If you are liable for damage to your car or home, standard car or home contents insurance will reimburse this.
You are not covered for pre-existing disputes as this is “before the event” (BTE) coverage or legal fees paid before your claim is accepted, and matters such as family law are often excluded.
How do I take out legal expenses insurance?
Legal defence insurance is sold almost entirely in addition to auto and home insurance, but there are differences between the way the two types of policies work.
Statutory car insurance coverage
Auto insurance legal expenses insurance covers events arising from the use or ownership of an insured vehicle.
This may include taking action against a third party for negligence or defending yourself against allegations made against you by a third party.
Normally you are insured for up to € 100,000.
Statutory home insurance coverage
Home insurance and legal expenses insurance generally cover lawsuits related to your home, employment, death or personal injury.
It may also refer to cases where you have entered into a contract for the sale and supply of goods and services.
These will cover you between £50,000 and £100,000.
Is legal expenses insurance the same as liability cover?
No. If you’re liable for damages relating to your car or home, a standard car or home insurance policy pays out for this.
You usually get £20m in a car insurance policy and around £2m with a home insurance policy, without the need for additional legal expenses insurance cover.
Legal expenses insurance is most valuable for situations where you’re pursuing legal actions to reclaim losses that weren’t recoverable through your main insurance – such as the excesses you have to pay on an insurance claim.
How much does legal expenses insurance cost?
The table below shows the costs and levels of cover for legal expenses insurance bought as an add-on with home and car insurance policies.
The overall level of cover available through the policy is shown and restrictions may apply.
Where we’ve stated a ‘reasonable amount of time’ to make a claim, this means insurers don’t specify an exact cut off date for claims. Check with your individual insurer for guidance on this.
The table is correct at May 2018. Based on a Ford Focus Zetec owner and a one-bed flat in south London.
do I have to
make a claim?
amount of time
amount of time
amount of time
amount of time
|John Lewis||£15.86||180 days||£50,000|
|Legal & General||£24.17||180 days||£50,000|
amount of time
amount of time
|NFU Mutual||£25.99||180 days||£50,000|
Is Home Insurance Legal Cover Worth it?
Legal action can be expensive, and should you find yourself in need of a solicitor, Home Insurance Legal Cover offers you the reassurance that these fees may be covered, which makes the small additional premium for this type of cover generally worth it. It is important to note that in the Intelligent Insurance home insurance policy, you are covered up to £25,000 for some incidents automatically, but in the event that your legal bill exceeds this amount you would not be covered. By upgrading to the Plus cover, you have peace of mind that you are getting up to £100,000 of legal expenses cover which should cover a lot of the scenarios described here that rack up the legal bills.
If you’d like a new quote for home insurance, or would like to add Family Legal Plus cover to your existing policies, get in touch with one of our helpful advisers via online chat or by calling 0333 11 11 10.
What are the alternatives to legal expenses insurance?
After the event insurance
More expensive than legal expenses insurance, it’s run by solicitors and covers a specific claim.
It often operates on a conditional fee arrangement, typically no win, no fee.
This provides advice and legal representation for some civil cases.
It doesn’t cover personal injury, and getting it will depend, in part, on your financial circumstances.
The cost of defending or pursuing a court claim can run into tens of thousands of pounds. If you have money put aside in a savings account for a rainy day, this could be an option.
Members of a union may have access to legal assistance for all manner of claims, including employment issues and personal injury.
Conclusion – Do I need legal cover on home insurance
A good home insurance policy should include public liability cover as standard. Insurance like Emerald’s cover has £2m as standard, but you can increase it to £5m for a small additional premium. Although this does not answer the question “Do I need legal cover on home insurance” it is still an important consideration.
Therefore with just your buildings and contents insurance, you can level up with these valuable add-ons to cover legal issues – both involving you in your daily life and any harm caused by your home.
So if you ask “Do I need legal cover on home insurance?’ then we hope you see the reasons why it is useful.