Misconceptions about the cost and scope of legal expenses insurance may be stopping people exercising their legal rights, research published today suggested.

In-depth interviews with 46 participants, commissioned by the Legal Services Board, found most assumed that LEI was more expensive and restrictive that it actually is. 

The oversight regulator is now concerned that many of the estimated 3.6m people with an unmet legal need are missing out on insurance that would suit their needs.

Steve Brooker, head of policy development and research at the LSB, said insurers have a role to play in promoting LEI to consumers and convincing them it is cheaper and covers more issues than they think.

‘People often need legal help when they are at their most vulnerable, for example when facing a housing or employment issue,’ he said. ‘Legal expenses insurance can provide consumers with the peace of mind that the cost of legal advice and representation will be covered. We see legal expenses insurance or similar products as one of the ways to enable more people to access legal services free at the point of need.’

Research by the Financial Conduct Authority suggests around 15 million adults may have legal expenses insurance as a standard feature of their home insurance, but many do not realise they have legal protection.

The LSB research showed that at least a third of people believed the cost of home legal expenses insurance to be at least double the typical cost of around £20-30 a year. Many also assumed that a produce purchased with home insurance might cover only housing issues, while the LSB pointed out the policies could also cover issues related to employment, injury and contracts.


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