Car insurance is a legal requirement in the UK as it offers financial protection for you and other drivers if you are involved in an accident. There are three main types of car insurance but third-party cover is the legal minimum required for UK roads. We explain more about car insurance types in our article 'What are the different types of car insurance?'
How much cover you get on your car insurance policy varies depending on the policy you choose and you can also tailor your policy to include additional policy extras including legal, key and breakdown cover. Enhancing your car insurance policy with additional extras can affect the policy cost and we explain how much you can expect to pay for your policy in our article, 'How much does car insurance cost?'
In this article, we look at motor legal protection, including what it is, what motor legal protection covers and how much car insurance legal cover costs.
What is car insurance legal cover?
Car insurance legal cover, also known as motor legal protection, provides cover for legal fees and advice should you need to go to court following a car accident. Depending on the car insurance policy you have, you may have to purchase motor legal protection as an additional extra as it might not be included as standard. If you do choose to purchase car insurance legal cover it is likely that you will be covered for an amount up to £100,000.
In most instances, motor legal protection will cover the legal costs associated with a claim but there are instances where you can be refused cover, particularly if you were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You may also be refused a claim if the amount you are claiming is less than the total cost of the legal fees. Examples of what motor legal protection covers include:
- Medical costs
- Loss of earnings
- Excess and costs associated with the claim
- Claims involving uninsured drivers
- Personal injury claims for passengers and named drivers
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How much does car insurance legal cover cost?
In the below table, we share some car insurance providers that offer motor legal protection and the annual cost of the protection on the policy. Depending on the policy you choose, car insurance legal cover may already be included as standard, but if it is an additional extra you can get an idea of how much you can expect to pay for a year. As you can see £100,000 of motor legal cover tends to cost around £25-£30 per year.
|Legal cover provider||Motor legal protection cover amount||Annual cost|
Do I need car insurance legal cover?
It is not mandatory to have motor legal protection and therefore adding it to your car insurance policy is down to personal preference unless it is already included in your policy as standard. It is worth considering, however, that legal cover can offer peace of mind in the event that you are in an accident as legal costs can be expensive. In addition, your legal cover usually comes with a legal advice helpline which can often help with other legal matters such as employment issues or probate.
If you do decide to purchase legal cover with your car insurance policy you should consider if you are already covered under a different policy e.g your home insurance, via a packaged bank account or if you are a member of a trade union as you may already have access to legal advice. Additionally, if you have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy check to see if motor legal protection is already included in your cover as standard.
Is motor legal protection worth it?
If you are unsure as to whether legal protection is worth it, we list some of the advantages and disadvantages of motor legal cover below.
- Up to £100,000 legal cover related to an accident
- Relatively cheap policy and often under £30 a year
- Access to a 24/7 legal helpline
- You're not covered if you are at fault
- Can be an additional expense
- May not always pay out, especially if claim is lower than cost of legal expenses or if the insurer doesn't think you will win your claim
Alternatives to car insurance legal cover
If you decide you do not need or want car insurance legal cover, there are a few alternatives that you can consider.
- Free Motor Legal cover - You can register with FreeMotorLegal.co.uk and get the same protection as with your car insurance motor legal cover but without a £20-£30 annual fee. You can sign up via the website and if you are in an accident that is not your fault contact Free Motor Legal and you may be able to access free legal assistance and a courtesy car.
- No win, no fee solicitor - A no win, no fee solicitor can help with motor insurance claims and may be a good idea if you want to pursue a personal injury claim. No fee is payable unless you win your case but then you may have to pay a substantial percentage (can be up to 25%) of the claim.
- After The Event (ATE) Insurance - You can purchase an ATE policy to cover legal costs if you did not have a legal cover policy in place prior to an accident, however, because of this ATE is often more expensive than car insurance legal cover. You can use an ATE policy to claim for something not covered on your car insurance policy or to dispute a claim made against you.
- Trade union - If you are a member of a trade union you may already have access to legal advice and so may not need legal cover.
- Savings - If you do not take out legal cover you could pay for any legal costs that you accumulate yourself but this can amount to thousands of pounds.
How to claim on car insurance legal cover
If you have been involved in a car accident you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible to notify them of the accident. It is important to try and gather as much detail as possible when in an accident and make a note of the other driver's details, car registration number and insurance company. When notifying your insurance company of a claim you will need your insurance policy number, the date the accident happened and your vehicle's registration number.
If you have motor legal protection included in your policy, either as standard or you have paid for it as an additional extra, you can be offered legal assistance if the accident was not your fault. Usually, the insurer will provide you with a representative who will act on your behalf and help you to recover any uninsured losses including any loss of earnings, your policy excess and compensation for any injuries you may have sustained in the accident.
How to buy car insurance with legal cover
An easy way to purchase a motor insurance policy that includes legal cover is via a comparison site such as Quotezone*. Comparison sites allow you to compare policies with motor legal protection at once so you can find the best deal for your circumstances. We have partnered with Quotezone* so that you can search and compare quotes from over 110 UK car insurance providers. However, be aware that not all comparison sites are whole of market which means that you may find a deal elsewhere, particularly if an insurer does not feature on a comparison site such as Direct Line.
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