Do I Need Legal Cover On Home Insurance? It’s an important question.
In terms of law there is no official need for you to have legal expenses cover on your home insurance policy. However, legal cover has a range of legal protection benefits and so may be worth the extra cost even if you don’t think you need it.
At Emerald Life we actually provide legal cover for free with standard home insurance policy. This can provide cover for a variety of legal expenses from situations such as unfair dismissal at work, social media defamation and injury.
As with most of insurance, you don’t know how much you need a certain form of cover until you have to claim. And of course even with best insurance the hope for everyone involved is that no one has to claim.
But legal cover could provide some extra reassurance at low cost – or even for free in the case of Emerald Life’s cover.
Do I Need Legal Cover On Home Insurance? What cover is there?
Our home insurance legal expenses cover includes access to a legal advice helpline. That means you can get valuable legal help. Our legal helpline is open 24/7, all year round.
Then there are a variety of covered legal expenses that may be covered.
At Emerald Life our legal expenses cover includes:
- Consumer disputes
- Equalities issues – if you have been refused a service as a breach of the Equalities Act then your legal fees may be covered.
- Personal injury claims
- Civil claims as a result of loss or damage to goods in the home
- Professional fees as a result of an in-depth tax enquiry by HM Revenue & Customs.
- Some criminal prosecution defence claims
- Breaches in a school admissions policy
- Probate disputes
- Identity theft
This is just an overview so make sure to read our policy wording for further details. Some insurance policies including our own at Emerald Life may pay out the amount in dispute if the insurance provider decides that doing so is likely to cost less than going through litigation.
So in that case your home insurance could potentially save you the emotional ordeal of the legal process and skip right to a resolution.
What Legal Protection To Look For
Legal expenses cover will often vary between different insurers. Therefore make sure to check what each cover actually includes. In particular, if you are using a comparison site you may find that the top-ranking or cheapest option is not as good as it seems. Similarly, be careful with the paid ads at the top of a Google search. Just because an insurer is paying to be at the top doesn’t mean their cover is best.
Excesses And Exclusions
The policy may include lots of exclusions that make it difficult to get back legal costs. It could also include a high excess, which would mean you would have to pay a higher contribution towards any claims. Of course you should also check the level of legal costs you are actually covered for. We think that here at Emerald Life we have struck the right balance to the question ‘Do I need legal cover on home insurance?’
Check Terms And Conditions
Besides excesses and exclusions, legal expenses cover can be quite complex and so you should check the specific terms and conditions of each policy. For instance, many insurers will require some consultation before you take any action.
They may require you to use their chosen legal professionals rather than your own solicitor. Our own insurance reads: “If legal proceedings have been agreed by us, you may at this stage decide to nominate and use your own solicitor or indeed, you may wish to continue to use our own specialists. If you decide to nominate your own professional we must agree this in advance and you will be responsible for any professional fees in excess of those which our own specialists would normally charge us.”
Does the policy only cover you if you are being sued or will it potentially cover your legal expenses for taking legal action against someone else? This is also something you should clarify from a potential policy and seek qualified guidance if you are unsure.
Are You Likely To Win?
These things matter not only when you buy your policy but also when it comes to claiming on your policy. Most insurers will require a reasonable chance of success and so may refuse to pay out legal expenses if they think you are unlikely to win. For that reason you should always inform your insurer first before taking any action.
Insurers are very unlikely to agree to cover something you were already aware of when you bought the home policy, and there is usually a limitation on actions that you can bring in the first 90 days. But they will also require you to inform them of potential issues in a timely manner.
Our policy reads: “You must notify Us during the period of insurance and within 30 days of any circumstances which may give rise to any claim under this policy. Failure to do so could mean that we decline to pay a claim for your professional fees.”
Property Owner Liability Cover
Besides these considerations for senarios like personal injury – don’t forget your property itself. If you are buying legal protection insurance as part of a home insurance policy then make sure the rest of the buildings and contents policy fits your needs.
Separate to litigation cover you may also want to consider property owner liability cover. Legal expense cover is not the same product as property owner liability cover can help with legal fees if you are sued due to your property causing personal injury. For instance, if a roof tile falls on someone or someone trips over a step, your could find yourself facing legal action.
A good home insurance policy should include public liability cover as standard. 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.
At Emerald Life we believe in protecting customers – not just their property. That is why we include legal expenses insurance at no extra cost to give you better cover and peace of mind when you need it most. So if you ask ‘Do I Need Legal Cover On Home Insurance?’ then we home you see the reasons why it is useful.
Article: Do I Need Legal Cover On Home Insurance?