How to understand legal expenses terminology

Here at DAS, we want to communicate with you in a way that is as clear and concise as possible.

Nevertheless, as you may imagine, legal expenses insurance and the surrounding legal issues can be highly complex.

Therefore, we’ve put together this simple guide to some of the terminology that you may come across through your dealings with us.

To keep this relatively to the point, we’ve obviously not included every single term you may hear, so if we accidentally use any other technical language you don’t understand then please do ask us to explain it. You can also look up other terms in our glossary.

Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI)

Let’s start with the name: we call it Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) but you may also hear it referred to as legal protection or something similar.

Primary Insurer

As we don’t sell our insurance products direct to customers you’ll have bought our LEI product(s) through another insurer or an insurance broker. They are referred to as the Primary Insurer and they’ll have issued you with an LEI policy as part of your overall cover.

Policy schedule/documents

The document describing your cover in detail is usually called a policy wording. You may also have a policy schedule showing you what optional parts of your policy are active.

LEI can be slightly more complicated than a more general insurance product, such as car or home cover, so we suggest that you read your policy documents before contacting us as it will help you understand the type of cover you have in place.

Legal advice

In most cases, but not all, your first contact will be with our legal advice helpline which provides you with free, unlimited access to a lawyer. They will provide telephone advice and wherever possible assist you in trying to reach an early resolution to a problem, but cannot review or write documents for you.

Legal advice helpline

Many DAS customers also have access to Householdlaw and Businesslaw, our legal documents and guides services. Business owners, landlords and individuals can use our wide range of interactive document builders and legal guides and videos.

Personal documents Business documents

Legal expenses claim

If the legal advice helpline isn’t relevant for your particular circumstances – or it doesn’t enable you to resolve your dispute informally – then your next step will normally be to start a legal expenses claim.

The easiest and quickest way to do this for all claims other than claims arising from a Road Traffic Accident (RTA, which should instead be reported through your Primary Insurer) is via our online claim form. You can also do this over the phone if you prefer.

Make a claim

Claim assessment

This is the process we go through in order to confirm your cover and is made up of three main steps.

1. Cover check

As your policy will have been provided by your primary insurer, we may need to contact them to check the precise details of your policy, or alternatively you can send your policy wording and policy schedule to us if you have them to hand and this may prevent us needing to do so.

2. Validating your claim

One of our specialist claims handlers will undertake an initial assessment to make sure that the specific dispute is covered by your policy. You may also hear us refer to ‘policy exclusions’ which are specific areas that are not covered by your policy.

3. Prospects assessment

If your claim is covered, we’ll then pass your case to a lawyer to start working on it. They’ll firstly assess the likely prospects of success of winning your legal dispute and they’ll present their findings to you as soon as possible.

What is ‘Reasonable Prospects of Success’?

For most claims it’s a condition of cover that the lawyer believes you have a greater chance of winning your case than losing it, and it’s really important to understand why this is as there are a few reasons;

  • Any legal dispute can be a time consuming and emotionally stressful process. We believe it’s wrong to expect anyone to go through this if they are unlikely to achieve a positive outcome at the end of it
  • If you lose, you may be ordered to pay the legal costs of the other side (called “adverse costs”). Your policy will cover these, but there is a limit on the amount it will pay. In particularly expensive cases you might have to pay some of these costs yourself.
  • As with any insurance product, covering a number of cases which are likely to fail would increase the cost to customers of buying the product in future, meaning it would work against our aim of ensuring our legal expenses insurance provides access to justice for those who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
  • Finally, we have a moral obligation to make sure that our court system is not clogged up with legal claims that are unlikely to be successful.

If it’s determined that your case is unlikely to be successful then your lawyer will confirm that to you, along with their reasons and any advice they may have to help you resolve your dispute in some other way.

The prospects of success can change over the course of a claim and your lawyer will reassess them regularly. For example, if new evidence comes out that hurts your case or a decision by a judge goes against you, the prospects of success will go down.

Limit of indemnity

LEI is intended to cover the cost of funding a legal professional or other professionals in supporting you with your case and our policies are designed to ensure these costs are covered in the vast majority of legal claims. However, there will always be a limit on the level of funding you’ve purchased, which we refer to as the limit of indemnity.

Read our glossary

What is legal expenses insurance?

Legal expenses insurance could provide you with funding for the cost of bringing or defending a legal case, and gives you access to telephone advice to help you with a personal legal issue.

Learn more
How can legal expenses insurance help me?

Legal expenses insurance can provide a wide range of legal help and support for you and your family.

Learn more

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