We often receive questions about legal insurance and whether it is a good idea to get it. The answer, like almost every answer you get from a lawyer, is it depends. Whether you are dealing with bankruptcy, divorce, or anything in between it is typically complicated.
I think the biggest factors in determining if legal insurance is worth it are: your planned or potential needs, the benefits, and the network of attorneys.
Your Needs: Divorce, Bankruptcy, and More!
Let’s face it, most legal needs are not planned. If you get in a car accident or get discriminated against, get arrested and have criminal charges brought, or become at risk for bankruptcy, these are things that aren’t usually planned for.
There are some legal needs that you can see coming. If you can see the writing on the wall and know you are heading for a divorce, legal insurance is a good idea. If you are constantly getting speeding tickets, legal insurance is a good idea. Or, if you have kids that are teenagers who are likely to get speeding tickets or get into municipal-level trouble, legal insurance is a good idea, provided your kids will be covered by the insurance. If you are trying to get your will and estate in order, legal insurance is a good idea. If you are a person that has no planned legal needs and nothing likely to repeat, you should ask yourself if the premium cost gives you enough peace of mind to be worth it for you.
Some legal insurance is simply a network of attorneys who will promise to give you services at a discounted rate. The legal insurance will never cover anything in full. Then there are companies that will cover some matters in full or that will pay for a certain number of attorney services for certain types of cases. I generally think that if you are going to pay for legal insurance, it is better to get one with some paid benefits. That being said, those kinds are likely more expensive and if you know the attorney you want to use is in-network on a discount plan, that might be your best bet.
Many legal insurance companies require network attorneys to give clients with their insurance coverage a discount of 25%. We have clients who have saved significantly with the insurance. For example, one client saved more than $23,683.24 as a result of their legal insurance. (Don’t worry, they had several cases). As you can see, a percentage-based discount, particularly in a contentious divorce, bankruptcy, or contested custody case can be significant.
You should be able to get detailed information about the benefits of the insurance and what it will and will not cover before buying. Make sure you get this and review before signing up!
The Network of Attorneys: Bankruptcy and Divorce Experts
This is a HUGE factor. Most legal insurance uses “in-network” attorneys who will give you the full benefits their insurance promises. Other insurance will simply reimburse you for attorney’s fees up to a certain amount set based on the type of case with any lawyer, each will be different depending on if it is a bankruptcy case, divorce case, etc. Some insurance is a blend and will pay in full or by hours if you use an “in-network” attorney or reimburse you up to a set amount for an out-of-network attorney.
If the insurance plan doesn’t have a good-sized network of participating attorneys in your area or good out-of-network coverage, do not buy it. You may want to make sure that the network attorneys in your area have good reputations and reviews before signing up. You don’t want to be stuck with a list of lackluster options to choose from when you need someone.
What Legal Insurance Does Flesner Wentzel Accept?
We are currently network attorneys with both ARAG and Legal Shield. We offer 25% discounts for clients with those coverages and participate in paid coverage through them in many, but not all, practice areas.
If you have a question about legal insurance benefits, please reach out to Flesner Wentzel at 636-442-4529!
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