When driving a horsebox or towing a trailer on UK roads, it’s a legal requirement for you to have the right insurance. But even the best horsebox insurance might not cover you for every eventuality on a standard policy. You’ll also need horse insurance and cover for the rider, too.
Another area you might not have already considered, but is worth looking into, is that of legal cover. If you’re wondering whether you need to add legal cover to your horsebox insurance then you’ve come to the right place. In this quick guide, we’ll review what legal cover is and how it could help you financially if the worst happened.
Remember, whatever policy extras you choose, safety has to be paramount whenever you’re out on a hack or travelling with your faithful companion. Because sometimes, no matter how careful we are, accidents happen. Having great horsebox insurance from Equesure means there’s always help available.
What is legal cover?
Legal cover, sometimes known as legal protection, is a common add-on to all manner of insurance policies. Indeed, you might already have some legal cover included as part of your car or home insurance policies. It’s designed to cover legal fees and losses, up to a pre-agreed limit, following an accident that was not your fault. It can cover both bringing legal claims as well as defending a court case. The legal cover arranged by Equesure covers legal costs up to £100,000.
Most often you’ll find it offered as an optional extra to a horsebox insurance policy that you can choose to add for an additional cost. For example, legal cover arranged through Equesure only costs £34.95, which equates to just 67p a week! While legal cover is not mandatory, it’s really a no-brainer when you think about it. For a comparatively small fee, you could cover the cost of legal fees that could easily run into hundreds or even thousands of pounds. However, be aware that for particularly complex or drawn-out cases the legal bill could be even more!
Although some policies may include legal cover as standard it’s important to be aware that not all legal cover will give you the same protection. Always make sure you understand your policy terms before agreeing to the add-on. Because, when an accident has happened you don’t want to only then find out your legal cover isn’t what you bargained for. Dealing with an accident is worrying and stressful enough without insurance concerns, too! That’s why speaking to the helpful team of insurance specialists at Equesure is so important.
With the right legal cover in place, you’ll be able to make or defend a claim involving another motorist without having to stress about the financial implications.
What is included in legal cover?
Legal cover is an invaluable way to deal with legal expenses, including for claims relating to:
- Personal injuries - Either to yourself or any passengers.
- Medical expenses - If you sustain injuries from an accident that wasn't your fault, you might be left with expensive physiotherapy bills or need other medical treatment that your horsebox insurance won’t cover on its own. Legal cover is a great way to deal with such uninsured losses.
- Vehicle damages - If you don’t have fully comprehensive insurance then legal cover could be useful to claim against another driver for damage to your horsebox. As we all know, horseboxes are expensive vehicles. But for many equine enthusiasts they are a necessity. If yours is put out of action for a period of time, then it can have a serious impact on your equine activities.
- Damage to belongings - In view of the amount of equipment needed for horse care, there could be a whole range of items damaged through no fault of your own. Including saddlery and tack, driving carriages, grooming equipment, living accommodation, horsebox contents, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and a whole lot more.
- Loss of earnings - After an accident, you may be left unable to work due to an injury. Or forced to take time off to deal with the incident. Legal cover can allow you to claim for this loss of income as well as other expenses.
- Costs for injuries to your horse - Vet bills to treat any injuries to your horses caused by a road accident can soon mount up. In a non-fault accident, even if your horses aren’t themselves insured you could still be protected. That said, we’d still recommend having horse insurance in any event. If the horse is insured and you claim under that policy, then legal cover can recover your policy excess for you.
- Defence against motoring prosecution - Getting a court summons in the post alleging you’ve committed a motoring offence can be a real nightmare. If the offence arises from your use or ownership of the horsebox then legal cover could help fund your defence.
- Disputes when it comes to buying, selling or repairing your horsebox - A horsebox is a significant investment that you’ll want to protect. If you get into a dispute after buying the horsebox, or perhaps you’re concerned over poor servicing or repair work at a garage then you can’t just ignore the problem. Any one of these scenarios could easily go to court. If so, you’ll be covered for fees via legal cover insurance.
- Recovery of lost entry fees - Equestrian events can be expensive to enter, particularly if you have more than one horse. If a non-fault accident means that you miss the event then legal cover could protect you from loss.
- Other expenses - Such as recovering the excess on your horsebox insurance policy in the event of a non-fault claim. Or even travel costs or phone calls to your insurer.
It’s important to be aware that legal cover doesn’t provide the compensation or damages awarded for these claims. Instead, it covers just the legal costs associated with making such claims. So, you won’t receive a lump sum from the insurer, only the amount to cover these legal and court fees. However, even though it won’t pay compensation, it will still cover the cost of solicitor’s fees, which can be very significant indeed.
Before taking out legal cover, it’s always worth checking the policy wording first. If possible, you want to avoid overlap with your existing policies. That said, just because you have legal cover with your home insurance policy it doesn’t mean legal cover with your horsebox insurance isn’t useful. As each one may well cover different types of court action. For example, consumer champion Which? says that adding legal cover to a home insurance policy might also cover you for legal costs related to employment disputes, faulty goods and enquiries into your tax affairs.
And remember to see what else the insurer is offering in terms of added value. For example, legal cover offered with policies through Equesure include access to a 24/7 legal helpline. It’s available online and over the phone so whatever time of day or night the accident occurs you’ll be able to make contact and start the claims process.
How can I make a legal cover claim?
Before an accident even happens, it’s important to keep all your insurance policy documents in a secure location. From horse insurance to legal cover and everything in between, when disaster strikes you don’t want the added stress of hunting high and low for important paperwork. You need them close to hand so you can refer to them when you need to.
Even if you’re nervous about keeping the originals in your horsebox, making copies and keeping them in a safe place in the vehicle is a good idea. While many people download a copy of their policy document onto their phone, it’s not wise to rely on this. After all, if your phone gets damaged, lost or simply runs out of power, you could get stuck. To guard against mishaps, it’s also wise to make sure someone else knows where the documents are kept. Just in case you’re not able to get to them yourself.
Once an accident has happened, it’s important you follow a number of steps to give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome.
- Stay calm.
- Dial 999 if the accident is serious, or someone is injured.
- Don’t apologise. While this is a natural enough reaction, it could be used against you later in court.
- Exchange details. Get the other driver’s name, address, vehicle registration and insurance policy number.
- Get witness details. These could be invaluable later when establishing liability.
- Gather the evidence. Take photographs of both the scene and any damage to your horsebox. Make a note of the location and sketch out what happened. For example, where were witnesses standing?
- Ask for a copy of any police report.
Then you’ll want to call your insurer. To make a legal cover claim follow this straightforward three-step procedure:
- Make sure you have your policy number and vehicle registration to hand. These details are essential when beginning any insurance claim.
- Call your insurance provider on their dedicated phone line or online service. Details of this will be on the policy documents, but it’s also wise to have the number saved in your phone contacts. After an accident, it’s important to make everything as easy as possible for you.
- Explain to them exactly what has happened. It’s important that you provide the insurer with a full account of the incident. Do your best to answer their questions and provide any supporting evidence you can. For example, details of witnesses, a police report from the accident, or photos of any damage to your horsebox.
Once your claim has been processed, if you have legal cover, your insurer will probably appoint a solicitor to deal with your legal case. Although you might be able to choose your own representation. They will then get on with contacting the other party’s insurer to inform them that you’re looking to recover costs not covered by your insurance.
Will my legal cover claim be accepted?
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that a legal cover claim will be accepted by your insurer. For example, if it’s not clear who was at fault for an accident then they might feel that a legal case is not likely enough to succeed.
You may also be unable to claim on your legal cover for:
- Compensation or fines that a court orders you to pay.
- Damage that you’ve deliberately caused.
- Defending yourself against prosecutions for parking offences, drink driving or violent conduct.
- Legal expenses you incurred before legal cover was approved.
Sometimes insurers reject claims if too much time has passed since the accident. For example, if the accident happened six months ago then an insurer might say it’s too late to claim. Or perhaps the amounts involved are not worth going to court for. For example, if the claim is for £300, but legal costs will be £1,000 then it doesn’t make commercial sense to go to court.
How easy is it to add and remove legal cover?
It’s really simple to add or remove legal cover. Just call your insurance provider and they’ll talk you through the process. However, you shouldn’t rush into removing legal cover. After all, it’s a relatively small cost that could end up saving you thousands of pounds.
Is legal cover worth it? Weighing up the pros and cons
Before making a decision to add or remove legal cover from your horsebox insurance policy, always weigh up the pros and cons first.
- It can save you a lot in legal costs.
- It provides quick and easy access to legal advice.
- It’s relatively inexpensive.
- If your legal case isn’t strong enough then your claim might not be accepted.
- You may not get to choose your own lawyer.
- If new evidence comes up, then legal funding may be stopped even if the case has already begun.
Be prepared with horsebox insurance and legal cover from Equesure
Whatever life throws at you, a policy arranged through Equesure will guard against the financial consequences of any mishaps.
Our experienced team is best placed to offer you an insurance policy tailored to your type of horse transport.
Get a quote for horsebox insurance today.