Motor Legal Protection Explained
Taking out an insurance policy can often be a confusing and frustrating process with providers offering an almost endless choice of optional extras.
The obvious question to ask is: “do I need it?” but sometimes the difficulty comes in not knowing the answer to that question. This is often the case with motor legal protection (MLP) .
MLP usually doesn’t cost very much but many motorists opt out on the assumption that they’ll never need it. In my opinion, it is the most worthwhile insurance add-on you could buy and it may be the saving grace during a hugely stressful time in your life.
What is Motor Legal Protection Insurance Cover?
Usually, claiming on your insurance is straightforward. You would contact your insurer, maybe fill in a form, and (if you’re successful) get a payout to cover your cost and any compensation claims after an accident.
But what if the accident wasn’t your fault and you have to take the other driver to court? Or what if you are the target of legal action? What if the proceedings against you are criminal and not civil? Will your MLP cover it? Motor legal protection is intended to cover your legal expenses for any legal action you may take or face but they are not all the same.
Different Types of MLP?
It is crucial to understand that there are differences between MLP policies and you should know exactly what you are paying for.
Imagine you find yourself in one of the 2 following scenarios:
- You’re involved in a collision but are confident it was not your fault. The other motorist tells the police a different story and their passenger was unfortunately killed in the accident . You are charged with causing death by careless driving and face 5 years in prison.
- You are sober and agree to drive your drunk friend home. The police stop you as part of a random check. Whilst you explain that you haven’t even had a drink, the smell coming from the vehicle leads officers to believe otherwise and so insist on breathalysing you. They don’t have a r device with them so decide to take you to the station to breathalyse you. You try your hardest at the police station but for some reason, the device won’t accept your breath. You are charged with “failing to provide a specimen” and face a minimum 12 month disqualification and an unlimited fine.
These are real-life scenarios and occur more frequently than you may imagine. But don’t worry- you’ve got MLP, right?
Small print: Motor Legal Protection Cover
The reality is that due to small print, many MLP policies are not worth the paper they’re printed on and provide no practical or realistic benefit. There are plenty of providers out there however that will cover you for almost any allegation and that is what you need for peace of mind and you should actively seek these out if you want effective cover.
Finding yourself in either one of the scenarios above can be a daunting experience particularly when you may face jail time or losing your livelihood. This will be exemplified if you incorrectly assumed you were covered by insurance.
The majority of MLP is catered towards civil proceedings following an accident. They will usually cover all aspects of the claims process with regards to damages etc. If you want to cover yourself effectively however, you should make sure the MLP also covers criminal prosecution cases. You should check the “general exclusions” section to get a clear picture of what you are buying and MLP is most worthwhile when it covers you for cases that would cost the most to defend (cases involving a fatality, alcohol or drugs for example).
How Much Could You Save with Motor Legal Protection Cover?
Both of the scenarios above should be defended but legal proceedings can be expensive particularly when it is unexpected.
Defending a motoring allegation can often cost thousands of pounds. Cases involving a fatality will cost more and involve lengthy proceedings in the Crown Court. These are not cases that you want to go through alone. A recent case I dealt with of death by dangerous driving cost in excess of £25,000. A drink driving case that initially seemed straightforward (my client wasn’t even driving the vehicle) ultimately cost £22,000. Whilst the chances of being in a position where you need MLP are hopefully small, I think the £15-30 per month is a bargain to buy peace of mind…..