Home Insurance legal expenses cover
Confused by legal expenses cover? Find out everything you need to know in our dedicated guide.
What is legal cover?
Legal cover is normally referred to as legal expenses cover. And it picks up the bill if you get into a legal dispute that relates to your home.
It often comes as standard if you’re insured by one of the larger brands. But it’s not always free.
How legal cover can help you
Legal expenses cover can protect you against the costs of being sued. Or it can help you make a claim.
Remember, lawyers rarely come cheap and Legal Aid is hard to get these days. Without legal cover you might not be able to pursue a valid claim because of the cost.
Check your policy
Read your policy carefully to see if you’re paying extra for your legal cover. Then decide if you want it. You can always take it off if not. It’s rarely expensive though.
What is included in your legal expenses cover?
Legal expenses cover is designed to pay your legal costs – up to a fixed amount – if you’re sued. Or if you need to pursue a civil claim related to your home or moving house. You should be able to claim on your cover if:
- Someone's injured at your home and sues for negligence (but it won't pay compensation if you lose, only the legal costs)
- There's a contractual dispute when you buy or sell your home
- You're sued by the buyers of your home
- You have a dispute with your neighbours
- There's a consumer dispute over buying, selling or renting something for your home
- You're sued by a contractor, or you need to sue them
What isn’t included in your legal expenses cover?
Your insurance company will only pay your legal costs if they think you’re likely to win your case. And they’ll also expect you to accept if you’re offered a ‘reasonable’ settlement.
Compensation itself isn’t covered
If you’re involved in a claim for damages, remember it’s only your legal costs that are insured. If you lose the case you’ll have to pay any compensation yourself.
Otherwise you’ll need public liability insurance – always a wise idea if you’re having contractors to work on your house.
Libel, divorce and pre-existing disputes
Common exclusions on most policies are disputes in progress before you bought the policy, plus matrimonial and libel cases.
So if you’ve been fighting with your neighbours – or spouse – for years, you can’t take out a policy and use it to sue them.
Is legal expenses cover on home insurance worth it?
Adding legal cover to your home insurance policy is quite cheap – usually about £25 or £30. And many policies include a legal helpline, with trained professionals on hand to advise you.
Paying lawyers privately is expensive
An hour’s consultation with a solicitor could cost you hundreds of pounds, so the helpline might be worth the cost of legal cover on its own.
Buy it before you need it
If you do ever get into a property dispute, your legal bill can add up very quickly. So many people add legal cover to their policy ‘just in case’.
Read the small print
As with all insurance, always check what’s included in your cover and what’s not before you buy. Ask questions if anything’s unclear.
British Gas Home Insurance. Looking for insurance?
All our buildings and contents policies come with optional legal expenses cover and are Five Star rated by Moneyfacts. Plus, we're backed by one of the UK's leading insurers. Want to see what you'd pay?
Terms and Conditions apply. Home Insurance is arranged and administered by British Gas and is underwritten by a carefully selected insurer. Your policy documents will show who your insurer is. British Gas is a trading name of British Gas Services Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England & Wales (Registered No.03141243). Registered office: Millstream, Maidenhead Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 5GD.