Commercial legal expenses insurance

Commercial (or business) legal expenses insurance could be an affordable alternative to using high-street law firms and makes legal support accessible to your business, whatever its size. 

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What type of business is commercial legal expenses insurance suitable for?

This type of policy is designed to meet the needs of SME businesses which may employ staff but who have limited, or no in-house legal expertise.

How can commercial legal expenses insurance help my business?

It's designed to help you get legal advice as early as possible - before a problem arises such, as an employment tribunal or commercial contract dispute - through the telephone legal advice service.

However, should a more serious legal problem occur, it will provide cover for legal representation and cover for legal expenses if you need to take the matter to court.

What's covered?

Commercial legal expenses insurance covers:

  • Employment disputes
  • Compensation awards
  • Legal defence
  • Property protection
  • Bodily injury
  • Tax protection

In addition, some will add, or have the option of adding things like statutory licence appeals, contract disputes and debt recovery. 

What does commercial legal expenses insurance not cover?

This will vary between providers, but there are some things that typically commercial legal expenses insurance will not help you with. These might be:

  • Issues that started before you bought the policy.
  • Legal costs paid out before your claim is accepted.
  • Civil claims where the likelihood of success, or ‘reasonable prospects of success’ are evaluated as being less than 51% at any time.
  • Anything specifically excluded; the relevant policy documentation will set all that out.

If you are interested in purchasing commercial legal expenses insurance speak to your insurance adviser or use our location tool to find a DAS partner.

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  • Commercial (Business) LEI
How do I buy commercial legal expenses insurance?

Commercial legal expenses insurance is usually sold alongside other commercial insurance products and can be included as part of a wider commercial package policy wording, or sold individually with its own separate policy wording.

What will commercial legal expenses insurance pay for?

Dependant on the policy you have, commercial legal expenses insurance may pay for:

  • an appointed lawyer’s legal fees;
  • court fees;
  • expert witness costs;
  • the other side’s costs if you are unsuccessful;
  • certain compensation awards you are ordered to pay.
Can my business claim for a problem that started before I bought the policy?

No, you can’t claim for legal disputes that started before the date your cover began. And in some cases – for example, employment, contract and debt claims – you may not be covered for disputes arising within the first 90 or 180 days of the policy.

Can I claim for costs I’ve incurred before making a claim?

No – it’s important that you speak to us as soon as possible after a dispute arises so we can discuss the best way to proceed. We will not cover any costs you incur before we have agreed to cover your claim – for example, the cost of consulting your own lawyer.

Can I choose my own lawyer?

We’ll usually appoint a lawyer from one of our preferred law firms on the basis of their expertise to deal with your claim. However, there are instances where you have the right to choose your own lawyer – such as if court proceedings are issued or there’s a conflict of interest. It’s important to know that if you do choose your own lawyer we will only pay them the same amount as we would pay our preferred lawyers – currently £100 per hour.

Am I covered for incidents that happen abroad?

You’re covered in the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands on all the elements of cover listed above. You’re also covered for some legal defence and personal injury claims in certain European countries. For full details please refer to the ‘countries covered’ definition within your policy wording.

What can I call the legal helpline about?

Our legal helpline can give you confidential legal advice on a range of commercial legal issues.

How often can I call the legal advice helpline?

As often as you need; there are no limits on how many times you can call.

Why do I need this in addition to my business insurance?

Commercial legal expenses insurance could cover a number of legal costs that your general business insurance won’t cover. For example, commercial legal expenses insurance can help you pursue a claim over a contract dispute with a supplier.

Will the insurance help me recover unpaid debts?

Many commercial legal expenses insurance policies will offer assistance in recovering unpaid debt, however the amount in dispute must be over £200 (including VAT).

Will this cover legal costs related to an accident involving a company vehicle?

No; this insurance will not cover you for any claims involving motor vehicles, unless your business is engaged in the business of selling motor vehicles.