Legal Insurance – Is It Worth The Premium?

Published on Oct 13, 2016
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Few people can get through life without facing a legal dispute of some sort and depending on the issue, defending yourself against a claim or making one, is an expensive affair. Many individuals who have a legitimate legal claim against a party often decide against taking action because the costs are so onerous. On the flip side, if you are on the receiving end of a lawsuit, the emotional and financial toll can be enormous. 

You may have seen adverts offering legal insurance for a small monthly fee and wondered if these policies are worth it. The short answer is yes they are. Fortunately, most legal disputes are for relatively small amounts and many people who are owed money, goods or services - for say R20, 000 or less, may let it go because they know that litigation will exceed the amount owed. However, sometimes all it takes to recover funds from an errant debtor is a well-worded letter from a legal firm. 

This is where legal insurance comes into its own. Depending on the policy you can get advice for a wide range of issues such as civil claims relating to motor vehicle accidents, road accident claims, neighbour disputes, labour issues, criminal proceedings, property purchases/sales and divorce proceedings. There is a good chance that one of these issues will affect you at some stage of your life. 

Depending on the premium you choose you can get cover of up to R200,000 for a dispute and the premiums start at only R120 per month. If you were paying a lawyer yourself the R120 would pay for about a measly 10 minutes of a lawyer’s time.

While the cover will protect you from any legal issues there are some exclusions. If for example you are getting divorced and you cannot agree on the terms, you will not be covered for a contested divorce and the associated fees of a protracted legal battle. In addition, you will not be able to use the insurance to cover the fees of a legal dispute that is in play before you get the cover. Check the exclusions of the policy so you know where you stand. 

Many people threaten action or refuse to hold up their end of the deal when a contract goes wrong, a lawyer’s letter can bring an abrupt end to threats or deal-breaker actions. 

Can over 65’s get life insurance?

Life insurance is one of the most important risk products you can buy, especially if you have family members that depend on your income. Most people investing in this important cover are young to middle-aged individuals who want to cover their family’s income in the event of their death. Due to the fact that we are living longer over 65 are now becoming interested in life cover. The question is –do they qualify?

The good news is yes. There are a few provisos, however. Many insurers will ask for medical information and may require you to go for a medical exam, this will help the insurer to determine your suitability for cover. Regardless of being granted the cover, it is a good idea to get a full health workup at this age in any event, many diseases caught early may be cured or managed to give you a good quality of life.

Your best chance of getting a reasonably priced policy is if you have looked after your health; for example, you don’t smoke or drink heavily, you exercise and you have effectively managed any diseases you may have. However if you have already had major health events such as a heart attack or diabetes, your premium will definitely be higher than that of a healthy individual.

There are two types of policy available, term and whole life. A term policy will be cheaper because it has a specific date on which the cover ends. The whole life policy will usually have a waiting period so if you die within the first few years of the policy you will not be covered. 

Before choosing a life policy it is a good idea to chat with a consultant, they have the experience that will help you get the best cover for the best rate.