If you’re looking to up the cover on your car while cutting costs, chances are you’ve considered motor legal cover.
A policy like this is designed to help you recover your uninsured losses after a non-fault accident, so even if your car takes a hit, your bank balance won’t too. Statistics by the Department for Transport showed that there were 252,913 road traffic accidents in 2013, emphasising the need for this type of cover.
Before you buy, it’s important you know your options to ensure you get the best deal possible. So, to make things a little easier, here’s a rundown of all the different ways to get car cover with a little extra clout.
1. With your car insurance policy
One of the most common ways to buy Motor Legal Protection is through your car insurance provider. It’s easy, convenient, and that one extra click might save you a little searching. However, settling for products like this is just plain lazy – some short research could save you a lot. Insurance providers usually charge between £25 and £30 for motor legal protection, but buying it as a stand-alone product can be a lot cheaper.
Car insurers have faced issues in recent years over the selling of these add-on products, with the Financial Conduct Authority critical of the “opt-out” policy many providers have. This means that customers actually have to choose not to include legal expenses insurance, effectively charging you more for something you haven’t chosen yourself.
2. As a stand-alone product
As many consumers are starting to realise, motor legal cover can be bought as a stand-alone policy. The legal expenses add-on included with your car insurance is effectively a policy in itself, so it makes sense to treat it as a separate matter. Granted, it’s not as simple as an extra tick box on your car insurance, but a quick internet search will show you just how many discount brokers can provide this, often at a much cheaper rate too.
Of course, motor legal protection is still a paid insurance policy, so by nature you’re paying to cover yourself with the possibility of something happening. You may never get anything back from that couple of quid, but really in the long run that’s the best-case scenario! The peace of mind it’ll provide you whilst on the road should be rewarding enough, knowing that you won’t be footing any hefty legal costs after an accident. And when you’re saving as much as £20 compared to your typical policy then it really is a no-brainer.
3. Motor Legal Membership
In recent years there’s been a rise in organisations offering free motor legal protection on a membership basis. An intriguing idea indeed, these groups do seem to genuinely offer you legal protection for free – there’ll be no policy to pay and you’ll still receive some of the services of a paid policy. However, there are differences in getting motor legal protection this way.
Firstly, membership to such groups is usually on the condition that any services provided to you after an accident, such as legal defence, are by companies of the organisation’s choosing. While this isn’t necessarily a disadvantage to you, it does restrict the range of services available to you. The affiliative nature of this term of the membership is also a hint at how “free” motor legal agencies get by.
Secondly, relying on membership like this means that you may not get quite as much cover as a paid policy, so if you’re after a like-for-like replacement car then this may not be the best route to take: after all, free cover can only get you so far.
4. The Alternative: After-the-event insurance
We’ve all seen the adverts – “no win, no fee” has become a buzzword for claims of every kind. The benefit of this kind of cover is that you won’t be paying for a service, potentially over a long period of time, which you’ll never actually have to use. This means that you’ll only be seeking help when you know you need it.
However, this method is not without its issues. For one, insurers will charge you a sizeable amount if your case is successful, usually taken as a cut from the compensation awarded by the losing party in the claim. What’s more, these so-called “ambulance chasers” are usually only interested in personal injury cases, so be aware – this won’t meet everyone’s needs.
Knowing Your Options
So there you have it: your options when it comes to buying motor legal cover.
Its not a legal requirement, but for the reassurance and genuine aid it provides it’s certainly a handy policy to have. And if you’re able to get the same benefits at a better rate then it makes sense to make the switch.