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Don't overlook legal expenses cover on home insurance - it could help with your unfair dismissal claim

14th April 2015 Print

Homeowners are being encouraged not to overlook optional legal expenses cover on their buildings or contents insurance, as valuable cover may be available.

New analysis of household-related legal expenses insurance by Home Insurance reveals that most policies provide cover for a wide range of non home related problems including contract disputes, personal injury claims, employment disputes and clinical negligence as well as property protection.

However, legal expenses cover is only automatically included within 22% of home contents or building insurance policies.  In the majority of cases it is sold as an optional extra. 

It is designed to protect you against the costs of being sued or having to make a claim against someone else in a range of circumstances. In addition to covering legal proceedings arising from the insured home - such as nuisance, squatters or trespass - policies can include cover for personal injury, employment disputes, contracts for the sale and supply of goods and services (including holidays) and contracts related to buying or selling your property. Home Insurance compared the legal expenses cover available under 347 home contents and 339 buildings insurance policies and found that:

22% of buildings and 22% of contents insurance policies automatically include legal expenses cover as a standard policy feature;

Most buildings (68%) and contents (69%) insurance offer legal expenses cover as an optional extra;

Premiums to add legal expenses cover range from £2.99 to £45; typically cover costs are between £15 to £30;  

Legal expenses claims limits ranged from £10,000 to £1.5m

Policies cover from between 3 to 8 ‘perils’. Therefore, the types of incidents cover provided can vary quite significantly, but in general the policies are designed to cover the legal expenses involved in pursuing uninsured losses - instructing solicitors, barristers and/or expert witnesses.

Ben Wilson, from Home Insurance, said: “Legal expenses insurance bought with or alongside your home insurance can provide valuable cover. It is designed to pay for legal costs in pursuing a court case or claim such as a boundary dispute with a neighbour or a personal injury claim – which otherwise you may be unable to afford. 

“Bought alongside home insurance, cover is relatively cheap, but premiums and what’s insured varies considerably between policies, so it’s important to compare both the cost and content of the policies on offer. In addition to checking exactly what is included in a policy, it's also important to know what’s not covered. 

“Generally speaking, legal services policies bought or included with your home insurance don’t cover family law disputes, such as divorce. Driving-related issues will also be excluded.  However, legal expenses policies generally give you access to a free legal helpline through which you can get advice about all types of disputes – when you take the high cost of legal fees into account, access to this helpline alone may be worth the cost of the policy.”