What is motor legal protection?

Should you be running for this cover?

Even if a car accident is not your fault, you can be saddled with legal expenses as a result. For this, there’s motor legal protection. 

We’ll take you through the details of what this type of insurance covers and why it may be worth getting.

What does motor legal protection cover?

Also known as car insurance legal cover, motor legal protection is designed to deal with the burden of legal expenses, like court fees and lawyer bills, from accidents that aren’t your fault. 

Typically, motor insurance coverage includes legal expenses related to the following:

  • Personal injury (either to you or your passengers)
  • Damage to your car
  • Loss of earnings, meaning that if you are unable to work because of an accident, you will receive compensation for it

Some policies may also cover:

  • Insurance excess (the amount you have to pay from your pocket when you make an insurance claim) 
  • Damage to your personal property
  • Loss of use of your car or other property
  • Pothole damage 

They may even include a hotline to help you deal with post-traumatic stress and free legal advice. 

In some instances, motor legal protection will cover the legal expenses related to disputes with garages around issues such as substandard repair work or disagreements about buying or selling a car.

Another feature that may be included in your policy is coverage for Motor Insurance Database (MID) disputes. The MID — managed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau — is a centralised record of all the insured vehicles in the UK. It’s updated by insurance providers and used by the police and the DVLA to check that road users follow the rules. If you run into any trouble with the MID regarding your registration on this database, motor legal protection may help you cover any associated legal costs.

For complete protection, there’s also motor prosecution defence, which will cover your legal defence if you’re prosecuted following a motor accident.

Do I need motor legal protection?

In the UK, it’s not a legal requirement to have motor legal protection — you are allowed to drive on the roads without it.

The only legal motor insurance requirement is third-party insurance. This type of protection covers you if you have an accident that causes damage to property or injury to others. However, it doesn’t cover your legal expenses. That’s where motor legal protection comes in. 

It’s important to note a vital distinction about motor legal protection: it’s not there to compensate you for the expenses related to an accident. Instead, its purpose is to cover the associated legal costs. If you want to be fully covered for repairs and replacements after an accident, it’s important that you have comprehensive insurance

Is it worth getting motor legal protection?

So, is motor legal protection worth it?

The reality is that legal fees after an accident can run into the thousands of pounds. Without motor legal protection cover, it would be up to you to find the money for the legal bills to make a compensation claim against another party. This may leave you out of pocket or prevent you from claiming at all. 

Sadly, motor accidents come with all sorts of unforeseen costs. You may not only have to replace or repair your vehicle, but also have to deal with the aftereffects of personal injury. This could mean anything from getting medical treatment, such as physiotherapy, to taking off work. Ensuring that you have someone in your corner to fight for you if this happens can be invaluable.

So, while you may have to pay more upfront to add motor legal insurance to your policy, you will thank yourself if you ever have to go to court for an accident you didn’t cause. 

Here are the pros and cons of including motor insurance protection in your motor insurance package:

Your legal expenses will likely be covered if you’re in an accident that is not your fault. This is a huge pro because those expenses can run into the thousands of pounds.Extra monthly insurance costs.
You may be able to recoup all sorts of accident-related expenses, such as physiotherapy.Unless you have motor prosecution defence, you won’t be covered if the accident was your fault.
You may be more likely to pursue a claim if you know you have your coverage behind you. This may mean that you receive the aftercare and financial compensation you deserve.Your coverage may be refused if your lawyer thinks you won’t win your case or if too much time has passed since the accident.
You may be entitled to services such as a PTSD helpline and free legal advice. Some policies even offer you legal advice beyond the scope of vehicle-related matters.You might not have a choice of the lawyer who will represent you in your case.

Motor legal protection FAQs

Does motor legal protection cover you for uninsured drivers?

In most cases, motor legal insurance will help you pay for the legal costs related to being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver — provided that the accident is not your fault. 

As discussed, to drive on UK roads, you need a minimum of third-party insurance, which should be accurately logged in the MID by your insurance provider. 

If you get into an accident with a driver who is not properly insured, your motor legal protection will be an asset. With this type of coverage, you should be able to access legal advice and get your lawyer’s fees paid so that you don’t end up paying out of pocket for someone else’s negligence.

This also means that if you win your case, the other party could cover other losses, such as the amount you would otherwise have had to pay for damages and injuries.

Are motor legal protection and liability insurance the same?

Motor legal protection and liability are not the same, but some important overlaps exist.

  • Motor legal protection is designed to help you cover your legal costs if you are involved in a motor accident that was not your fault.
  • Liability insurance is for business owners and self-employed people to cover costs related to any claims made against their business and its associates by members of the public. (For example, if a loose tile trips someone on the stairs of your business premises and injures them, liability insurance is there to help cover the resulting legal claims. This protects both you and the public.)

These two types of coverage are similar in that they both involve legal costs. Motor legal protection, however, is particularly geared (no pun intended!) towards the roads, whereas liability relates to the various needs of your business. 

The other key difference is that in most cases, motor legal protection only comes into effect if the accident was not your fault. Liability insurance, conversely, means your business is responsible for the damage caused to someone else or their property.

If you would like to discuss which insurance type is the best fit for you, we’d be happy to do so

Quickfire summary

Motor legal protection is a type of insurance that covers legal expenses related to an accident that is not your fault. 

Most policies of this type will cover legal costs related to personal injury, damage to your car and loss of earnings due to the accident. Some may also pay the legal bills related to insurance excesses and other financial concerns, such as not being able to use your car after an accident. Other perks may include free legal advice and access to a PTSD helpline.

While it’s not mandatory to have motor legal protection to drive on the roads in the UK, it’s worth looking into if you’d like to be fully insured. 

If motor legal insurance is not part of your policy, chat with your insurance provider or an experienced broker about whether you want to include it as an add-on. This will come as an additional cost, but it may be worthwhile to stay off the financial stress of a car accident if it happens.

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