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Liability & law

What does legal protection insurance offer?

It is not uncommon for a minor dispute to end up before the courts, which can be expensive. Legal protection insurance can help after a road accident or in disputes with a landlord, neighbour or employer. Sibylle Lanz is an expert in this type of insurance, and she tells us exactly what it offers.

10 April 2018, author: Sibylle Lanz, Coop Rechtsschutz

What does legal protection insurance offer?
What does legal protection insurance offer? Expert Sibylle Lanz of Coop Rechtsschutz answers our questions and provides some useful advice.

Anyone can get involved in a legal dispute – and it can happen faster than you might think. When it does, what are the benefits of having legal protection insurance?

Asserting your rights requires not just time and nerves but also the know-how of a specialist and a certain amount of financial security. A legal dispute can drag on for a long time and cost a lot of money. In some cases, it could even leave you bankrupt. This is where legal protection insurance has you covered. It’s there to defend your interests and to provide practical support and advice, and it also bears the financial risk by absorbing any costs you incur.

Anyone can get involved in a legal dispute – and it can happen faster than you might think. When it does, what are the benefits of having legal protection insurance?

Asserting your rights requires not just time and nerves but also the know-how of a specialist and a certain amount of financial security. A legal dispute can drag on for a long time and cost a lot of money. In some cases, it could even leave you bankrupt. This is where legal protection insurance has you covered. It’s there to defend your interests and to provide practical support and advice, and it also bears the financial risk by absorbing any costs you incur.

Surely you don’t have to worry about the cost if you’re in the right?

That isn’t entirely true. If you lose a case, you have to bear the court and procedural costs, plus the other party’s legal expenses. The complainant also has to provide an advance for estimated court and procedural costs, which may be awarded to him or her if the case is won, but may not be automatically refunded. This means that the complainant must first claim these costs from the other party, which usually entails additional costs for debt collection. Legal protection insurance spares you this cost risk.

So, who would you recommend legal protection insurance for?

In the insurance market, we distinguish between legal protection for motorists and personal legal protection. The version for motorists is absolutely essential in view of the increasing volume of traffic on our roads and the risk of accidents for owners and drivers of motor vehicles. Personal legal protection, meanwhile, is highly recommended for individuals who want to be covered for legal disputes in other areas of day-to-day life. These make up a significant proportion of all disputes these days.

All kinds of legal disputes can arise in our everyday lives. Which areas of the law are actually covered?

The areas covered are normally liability for damages, criminal and administrative proceedings, insurance law, contract law, tenancy law for tenants and employment law for employees. Areas like property law and civil-law disputes with neighbours as well as personal, family and inheritance law are covered differently, or in some cases not at all, depending on the provider. In the interest of ensuring the broadest possible support, however, Helvetia legal protection insurance also offers advice on uninsurable cases.

What exactly does that mean?

One example is legal support for a customer who has been fired, especially if it’s a case of unfair dismissal. As well as clarifying the legal situation, we work towards a practicable solution, be it out of court or in court – taking the case to higher levels if necessary. We’ll also help if there are defects in your rented apartment and the landlord makes no attempt to correct them.

Which costs are covered?

As a rule, court and procedural costs are covered, along with lawyers’ and experts’ fees, costs of proceedings awarded to the other party and bail.

Are there limits?

The maximum insured amount varies from one provider to another and depends on the option chosen. There are some restrictions and even exclusions for certain areas of law such as property law and civil-law disputes with neighbours. Helvetia offers a maximum insured amount of CHF 500,000, which places it towards the higher end of the market.

Can the insurer refuse outright to pay any of the costs?

If the case is covered, it goes without saying that the legal protection insurance will provide the contractually agreed benefits. That said, cost coverage may be restricted or refused, for example if the customer reported the claim too late or deliberately caused unnecessary costs. If a customer stands accused of deliberately committing a criminal offence, Helvetia only covers the costs once he or she is found not guilty.

Can customers choose any lawyer they want?

Yes. Unlike most providers, Helvetia doesn’t impose any restrictions in this respect. In practice, however, not very many customers are well placed to choose the most suitable lawyer. Helvetia can help them find the right one.

What should people bear in mind when taking out legal protection insurance?

Legal protection insurance should be taken out before the event. If there’s already a problem, it’s too late to insure against a legal dispute. It’s also important to remember that there’s a waiting period of three months for most cases. Anyone intending to take out legal protection insurance should first form a clear picture of their individual risks and needs. If they travel abroad, even occasionally, they should choose worldwide cover. If they drive a car, they need legal protection for motorists. People who own a house or an apartment should make sure they’re covered under property or tenancy law.

Calculate premium now

Calculate your legal protection insurance online and protect yourself from legal disputes both in your private life and in traffic.

Sibylle Lanz

Author Sibylle Lanz

Sibylle Lanz has been working for the legal protection insurer Coop Rechtsschutz AG since 1997. She is a Key Account Manager and Marketing Specialist at the company’s head office in Aarau.

www.cooprecht.ch

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