Legal fees can be incredibly expensive, whether someone's suing you or you're the one taking legal action. Legal expenses cover taken out with your home insurance can help cover the costs.
Legal expenses cover, also known as family legal protection, is a type of insurance you can buy alongside your home insurance.
It'll protect you against the costs of being sued, or of making a claim against someone.
It’s not compulsory when taking out home insurance, but it’s a standard feature with many policies, and available as an optional extra on others.
According to Defaqto, 25% of 311 buildings insurance policies included legal expenses cover as standard, and 58% listed it as an add-on.
The claim limits varied, but almost half (49%) of policies had a maximum indemnity limit of £50,000-£74,999.
For contents insurance, 24% of 337 policies listed included legal expenses as standard and it was available as an option for 57%.
Legal fees cover could include:
There are a number of common scenarios that aren’t covered by the legal expenses insurance on your home insurance policy.
If the amount in dispute is under a certain value you won’t be covered - in other words, the claim must be worthwhile.
Legal issues involving a car you’re responsible for aren’t usually included in legal expenses cover - if you drive your car into someone’s property, for example. Though you might have cover on your car insurance instead.
When the claim relates to work ordered by the government or local authority, your insurer won’t usually honour legal expenses cover.
Matrimonial disputes and libel cases will not be covered. The same applies to cases that started before the policy was taken out and disputes that can be covered by Legal Aid, such as a criminal trial.
Finally, you might have trouble making a claim if there’s a dispute over the purchase of your house - you must have bought it a certain number of days after taking out the insurance.
Before the Event Insurance (BTE Insurance) is a type of legal expenses cover you can purchase prior to an event or incident. It's there to act as a security blanket against an unforeseen event that could lead to legal proceedings.
After the Event Insurance (ATE Insurance) is purchased following an accident or incident. It's usually purchased by a solicitor on behalf of a client, in cases where no Before the Event Insurance cover exists.
Legal expenses cover could be worthwhile if you needed legal assistance following a home accident or event.
On average, a UK solicitor costs around £200 an hour depending on experience. Without cover, you’d be liable to pay for the cost of the legal fees yourself.
Ultimately, it’s down to you to decide whether legal expenses cover is worth it or not, as it really depends on whether you could afford the legal costs for the types of scenario it covers.
Your insurer will want to be confident it’ll succeed in proving your case to accept your claim, so you’ll only be offered legal assistance if this is the case.
If your insurer handles your legal claim on your behalf, you’re obligated to accept a reasonable settlement, should this be offered.
If you disagree with your insurer's verdict, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service to make a complaint.
If you’re liable for damages relating to your home, your standard home insurance policy will cover this.
Legal fees cover is useful for taking legal action to reclaim losses that you can’t recover through your standard home insurance policy, such as the excess you pay when making a claim.
 Last checked 9 December 2022
 How much does a solicitor cost? Unbiased. Retrieved 26-05-2020.