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What is car insurance legal cover and do I need it?

Scales of justice
Also known known as Motor Legal Expenses or Car Insurance Legal Cover

Motor Legal Protection is designed to cover legal costs to recover uninsured losses following an incident that was not your fault, provided there is a more than/better than 50% chance of success. Usually there's a limit of £50,000 to £100,000, but as always, check with the insurance provider when you are comparing quotes. Let’s break this down and pick up and try explain each element of what the cover is and does.

Legal Costs: It may not be a surprise to you but legal, solicitors and court fees can be incredibly pricey, especially if there is a dispute over the claim and who was at fault for the incident. Legal Protection covers these costs so you don’t have to. Failing to recover losses paid by your insurer following a claim will typically result in a fault claim being recorded within your driving history.

Recover: This simply means if the provider can claim the amount back from another party, such as the insurer of anyone else involved in the incident, or the Motor Insurance Bureau. If the third party was, let’s say a deer, you will be unable to claim through legal protection, as the deer is likely to be a wild animal and not owned by anyone and therefore no chance to ‘recover’ the cost.

Uninsured losses: This picks up elements of your claim that car insurance doesn’t cover. This can be things like pursuing a personal injury claim, physiotherapy sessions, loss of earnings, excess or unused gyms memberships whilst recovering from injuries etc....

Non/no fault incident: A classic example of a non-fault claim would be someone hitting you in the rear while you are stationary waiting for traffic lights to change, or a car failing to give way and pulling out of a side road. It is not uncommon for a third party to try their luck and fail to admit liability for the incident as having fault incident is likely to impact their insurance premium. This is when legal protection can be really useful.

50% chance of success: If the legal team that reviews your case believe you have at least a 50% chance of being successful (i.e. the judge is more than likely going to hold the third party responsible for the incident in court) based on your account, circumstances and any evidence. The legal team will force the insured or insurer to admit liability or legal proceedings will be raised against them and it will go to court. This doesn't mean that the you may not be held partially at fault and this can still impact your premiums. The judge may hold the third party 75% responsible and apportion 25% of the blame on you.

Other Information

If you have been unable to identify the driver or the insurance provider, you may be able to recover your costs from the Motor Insurance Bureau, so all is not necessarily lost if you are in this unfortunate circumstance. Do not assume anything is off the table until you have spoken to your insurer or their recommended legal team or even a no win no fee solicitors if you do not have Motor Legal Protection included in your insurance.

Motor Legal Protection is usually an optional add on to your insurance and comes with an additional cost of around £20 to £30, though some insurers include it as standard on higher 'Plus' type policies, and some sold via price comparison websites.

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