Motorists urged to check legal cover

Following a review of motor legal expenses insurance (MLEI), we are telling firms to improve how they explain legal cover in policies so that drivers know exactly what they are paying for. Here we explain more.

About motor legal expenses insurance (MLEI)

Your motor insurance policy will provide legal protection if you are sued having accidentally caused injury or damage to another vehicle while driving. However, this standard protection will not help you pursue your own legal rights against another driver if they caused the accident.

MLEI provides additional cover – to help you recover your uninsured losses where the accident was not your fault. The uninsured losses can include injury and loss of earnings, plus the costs of hiring a replacement vehicle and recovering the excess on your own motor policy.

MLEI can also provide cover for legal representation to defend you if you are charged with a criminal offence – such as dangerous driving – and provide access to a legal helpline.

MLEI is usually sold as an add-on to policies, where you are offered it as an extra to the standard policy. However, a few car insurance providers, and most motorbike providers, include it automatically with the motor policy.  You should find out if it is automatically included and, if not, consider if you need it as an add-on.

MLEI is usually sold for £25-30 as an extra to your motor insurance. It is also known as Legal Assistance Plan, Legal Protection, Drivers’ Legal Protection, Legal Assistance, Motor Legal Cover or Uninsured Loss Recovery.

How our work affects you

Following our review, we believe MLEI may be useful, depending on a driver’s attitude to risk. This is because it can provide more thorough legal cover, is a relatively low-cost purchase, and can save drivers the time of finding a solicitor from scratch after an accident.

However, firms have not always made it clear that customers were only covered for all legal expenses if they were not at fault for the accident. 

So we have told firms to improve how they explain add-ons when they are selling motor insurance, whether you have gone through their website or are getting a quote from price comparison sites.

Check with your insurance provider to see exactly what your policy covers. If MLEI is not automatically included then consider if you need it as an add-on.