How to Buy Legal Insurance

Three Parts:Evaluating Your NeedEvaluating the ProductsPurchasing the Policy

Legal insurance, also known as prepaid legal insurance, is an insurance policy that covers you for legal expenses you would normally have to pay out of pocket. There are a variety of plans at a variety of costs available. Some plans cover specialized areas of legal issues, such as defense of civil lawsuits, while others cover marital dissolution, real estate transactions, drafting wills, reviewing contracts, personal injury and more. Follow these steps to buy legal insurance.

Part 1
Evaluating Your Need

  1. Image titled Buy Legal Insurance Step 1
    Determine if you need civil law protection. Most policies include coverage for civil law issues. The coverage may include telephonic or personal conferences, drafting simple contracts or other documents, communicating with others on your behalf, or representing you in court. Civil law topics include:[1]
    • Contracts
    • Insurance disputes
    • Mortgage documents
    • Property transfers
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    Determine if you need criminal and traffic law protection. Few policies offer protection for criminal defense, though some do for misdemeanors. Some, however, offer advice and/or defense of non-criminal traffic citations. Non-criminal citations and misdemeanors usually include:[2]
    • Minor speeding tickets
    • Parking violations
    • Red light violations
    • Petite theft
    • Minor drug possession
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    Determine if you need family law protection. Some plans provide assistance with family law issues. Many, though certainly not all, are limited to uncontested actions (by agreement). Family law actions include:[3]
    • Divorce
    • Custody modifications
    • Adoptions
    • Name changes
    • Wills and trusts
  4. Image titled Buy Legal Insurance Step 4
    Determine if you need business protection. If you are a small business owner or self employed, you may need legal protection for that business. These are similar to civil protections, but designed with the needs of businesses in mind. These services usually include:[4]
    • Contracts reviews
    • Required filings with government agencies
    • Review of employment policies
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    Determine the level of coverage you need. There are a variety of coverage levels available. Be sure you choose the level that is right for you. Common coverage levels include:[5]
    • Individual covers only the policy holder
    • Family covers the individual policy holder and all members of the immediate family
    • Small business coverage can vary based on the amount of anticipated use or the number of employees
    • Specialized policies cover your potential needs regarding a specific issue, such as homeschooling or identity theft protection

Part 2
Evaluating the Products

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    Ask about exclusions. Be sure you know what is covered and what is not covered. Many policies specifically exclude certain actions such as:[6]
    • Contested actions in family law
    • Criminal defense
    • Actions against the plan provider(s)
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    Ask about waiting periods. Be sure you know how soon you can use the policy. Some plans allow you to begin using them right away. Others have a short waiting period. Most often, you cannot use the plan for a legal issue regarding which you have already established an attorney-client relationship.[7]
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    Ask about premiums. Be sure you know the amount and frequency of the premium. Most plans have a monthly premium. Some give a discount if you pay for an entire year.
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    Ask about maximum benefits. Many plans have limits on the amount of use you get from the plan. Common limits include:[8]
    • A maximum page count for review of documents
    • A maximum number of documents to be reviewed in a defined period
    • A maximum number of personal consultations
    • A maximum time limit for each consultation.
  5. Image titled Buy Legal Insurance Step 10
    Compare prices. Along with comparing prices of different insurance plans, contact some local attorneys and ask what they could charge for similar services. Depending on the plan and your location, the cost of the plan could be more than the cost for the legal services you anticipate needing.[9]

Part 3
Purchasing the Policy

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    Determine if your employer offers prepaid legal services. Some employers will offer legal insurance as a benefit of full-time employment. However, there is no obligation to offer legal insurance as an employee benefit. If your employer offers legal insurance, your employer's group insurance will likely cost less than an individual policy.[10]
    • Ask your human resources department what the period of eligibility is for signing up for legal insurance. A period of eligibility is the period of time, usually a month, in which you can enroll for the services after you become an employee of the company.
    • Find out if there's an open enrollment time during the year. If you miss the period of eligibility, there may be a short period of time during the calendar year in which you can enroll for the insurance.
    • Ask if your premiums will be paid through payroll deduction. Most employee benefits are paid through a deduction on your paycheck, but you want to be certain. Also, ask how your premiums will be paid of you take a leave of absence or otherwise do not have a paycheck sufficient to cover them. Some employers pay the premium for the plan as a part of the benefit package.
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    See if there are group plans available. If your employer doesn’t offer a plan, check with various organizations where you have or are considering becoming a customer or member. Some plans offer group rates for a variety of different organizations. Shop around for the best deal. Organizations that sometimes offer legal service plans to their customers or members include:[11]
    • Unions
    • Banks
    • Credit unions
    • Cooperatives, such as insurance, food, or homeschooling cooperatives (in which you have to become a member in order to purchase or use the products)
    • Specialty groups or clubs
  3. Image titled Buy Legal Insurance Step 13
    Search on the internet. If your employer or group do not offer discounted rates for plans that fit your needs, you can do an internet search to find plans. The Group Legal Services Association offers a directory of various plan offerings. Many of these companies sell to private individuals at
  4. Image titled Buy Legal Insurance Step 14
    Pay your premiums. Be sure you know how the premiums will be paid and that this payment method also meets your needs. Some policy providers prefer one method over another and may provide a discount if you choose their preferred payment method. Some groups provide legal coverage as part of their membership fees. Common payment methods include:[12]
    • Monthly or annual payment by check
    • Monthly or annual automatic charge to your credit card
    • Monthly or annual debit to your bank account

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Categories: Insurance