Motorists are used to being offered a long list of optional add-ons for their car insurance. They cover a wide range of eventualities and will often appeal in different ways to different people.

But one of the barriers stopping people deciding whether a particular paid-for extra is right for them is knowing exactly what it is for in the first place.

Such is the case with legal cover. Would you know off the top of your head exactly what this is and what it insures you for if you take it out? If not, you’re far from alone.

The situation isn’t helped by the fact that some policies (mainly comprehensive) will include legal cover as standard - part of the small print which, quite frankly, so many of us never get round to reading. If you then take out a new policy with a different provider and see legal cover as one of the options, it may well be the first time you’ve ever come across it.

In a nutshell, legal cover insures you against any legal costs which may arise following an accident. In practice, this usually relates to situations where you have been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and subsequently wish to make a claim against the other party. This might be for things like medical expenses incurred as a result of the incident, loss of earnings if you had to take time off work, claiming compensation or recovering any losses not covered by your main insurance policy.

The legal costs involved in going through this process include solicitors’ and court fees. Most disputes between parties involved in an accident that cannot be resolved by their respective insurance companies have to be settled in court. While court fees might run to a few hundred pounds, hiring a solicitor to represent you in your case can be much more expensive.

Is legal cover worth it?

As with many types of insurance, legal cover’s true worth only really becomes apparent when you need to make a claim against it. You might consider the chances of being involved in a dispute following an accident negligible - the need for legal cover therefore hardly seems worth it. But if you ever did find yourself in that situation, having legal cover to fall back on would be invaluable.

Say, for example, you suffered an injury in a traffic accident that meant you could not work for a considerable period, leading to a significant loss of earnings. If the accident was not your fault, you would be entitled to claim compensation from the other party for your losses. But by the time you have paid for legal representation to argue your case, any sum you are granted by the courts could easily be wiped out.

Legal cover would pay out on the solicitors’ fees and allow you to keep the full amount of your compensation.

Ultimately, whether you opt for legal cover or not comes down to what peace of mind is worth to you. Another way to look at it is, if you do wish to cover all eventualities, you may be better off taking out a more expensive get an instant fixed-fee quote, rather than having to pick and choose all the various add-ons available. It could even work out better value.

*The information in this blog is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. Please seek a professional for expert advice as we can not be held responsible for any damages or negative consequences upon following this information.

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