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Car Insurance. Don't Forget the Legal Expense Cover

When buying your car insurance over the Internet, do you tick yes or no to the option of legal expenses cover?

By Michael Challiner

When buying your car insurance over the Internet, do you tick yes or no to the option of legal expenses cover? Because it adds on a little extra to the premiums, it’s tempting not to bother, especially as many of us aren’t really sure what it is! However, we really think that it’s an essential part of a car insurance policy, and advise you to definitely take the option if it’s not already included. Here’s why.

A few months ago, one of our freelance writers, Jake, had an accident. He’s very proud of his car, a Golf Mark I, and spends every weekend tinkering with it. So it was important to him that his insurance covers absolutely everything, and that’s why he made sure he had legal expenses cover.

Luckily for him, the legal expenses cover proved its worth after the accident. He was hit from behind, so the car sustained some damage that was fixable. The insurance made sure that all happened swiftly. Jake broke his wrist in the accident, and suffered some whiplash. Without legal expenses cover, he would have to pay himself for a solicitor to pursue for compensation. As it was, Jake received compensation soon after. As a freelance writer, Jake only gets paid for the hours he works; he doesn’t get sick pay from an employer. He couldn’t work for a month, so also lost a lot of earnings in that time. In stepped the legal expenses cover again, and Jake will soon receive compensation for his loss of earnings.

The legal cover only added £2 a month to his premiums, so it was certainly worth the minimal investment.

Comprehensive insurance covers everything to do with your car, but it doesn’t cover the consequences of an accident. For no fault of his own, Jake was left unable to work for a month. Having the legal cover meant that he was as well looked after as his car. Without it, the expenses related towards getting compensation would have been all his.

Say for example you are not injured but your car is out of action for a couple of weeks waiting for parts. If you don’t have free hire car benefits, then you would have to rely on public transport for a few weeks. But if you have legal expense cover, then you can hire a car and be compensated for your inconvenience.

You don’t even have to do anything – just provide the details of the accident as usual and the legal eagles will do the rest. You may need to talk to the solicitor working on your case, or possibly attend court if matters go that far, but you will never have to pay for any of the legal fees.

It’s not even expensive. A few insurers actually include it for free, Admiral being one of them. With most insurers it will be an extra cost but it averages at about £20 a year – for example it costs £17.85 with More Than and Budget charge £24. When you think about the long drawn out court battles that have resulted from car accidents, especially those involving serious injuries that cost millions – it’s definitely an optional extra worth taking.

So next time you choose a car insurance policy, make sure you get legal expense cover. If it’s not included, choose it as an extra. The difference in cost is far outweighed by the huge benefits if you were to need it.

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