A legal cost insurance product would typically cost you between R40 and R270 per month and would normally empower you with R40 000 – R200 000 legal cover per year – subject to the terms and conditions of your policy wording.
Speaking of the terms and conditions of your policy wording, do you really understand all the lingo and insurance mumbo jumbo used? We have compiled a short list of frequently used industry terms for your convenience.
Commencement date: This is usually the date on which your first monthly premium is paid and your policy is activated. This date may, however, change to a later date if you skip a payment. More importantly, this date is used to determine whether you are covered for a specific legal incident. Similar to vehicle insurance where you cannot crash today, take out vehicle insurance tomorrow and then demand cover/ your car to be fixed at the vehicle insurance’s expense, legal cost insurance typically only covers legal problems that occur after the commencement date, when you are already a paying policyholder.
Cause of action date: This is the date on which your legal problem originated. For litigation cover, this date must fall after your commencement date. If you are claiming for your divorce to be covered, the legal cost insurance industry would most probably ask when was the last time you and your spouse slept together/ when was the first time your spouse moved out of the room or house. You may be requested to sign an indemnity form, promising that all facts presented to the legal cost insurance company are true and that, should it be proved otherwise at a later stage, your fraud will for example also result in you paying the entire legal bill yourself.
Just to use another example: if you are seeking legal cover to institute a claim against someone owing you money, the cause of action date will be the date this person first defaulted and failed to pay in terms of the agreement between you two. Thus the cause of action date is not the date you two first entered into a loan agreement, but the date he/ she defaulted and failed to pay in terms thereof. This default date must then fall after the commencement date of your policy.
Litigation rejection letter: If you request litigation cover and it is rejected, the legal cost insurance company must provide you with a written rejection letter stating the reasons why you will not be covered. You may send this letter, together with a copy of the terms and conditions of your policy guide, to the Ombud for Short-term Insurance should you not be in agreement with the reasons provided.
Statutory disclosure: This is a document sent out with your policy documentation and you MUST by law receive a copy of the legal cost insurance company’s statutory disclosure. This disclosure must contain the details of the Ombud for Short-term Insurance, the details of the Insurer, company details and the details of the company’s compliance officer. Keep this document safe. A legal cost insurance company is typically underwritten by a bank or an insurance company to ensure further protection of the policyholder. Legal Hero is for example underwritten by Guardrisk Insurance Company Pty Ltd.
Should there be any other jargon worrying you, please feel free to reply in the comment section below.
Knowledge is power.