Before the Event (BTE) Insurance?

Before the Event insurance covers the legal costs of a claimant or defendant in an accident claim. What does BTE insurance cover and how do you obtain it?

What does Before the Event (BTE) insurance cover?

BTE insurance (officially known as Legal Expenses Insurance) is designed to cover legal fees and costs should an incident occur that makes legal action necessary, whether you are a claimant or a defendant.

BTE insurance might, for example, be used to cover the legal costs in a personal injury claim, an employment dispute or medical negligence claim.

Policies differ, but BTE insurance would typically cover your:

  • Solicitor's fees
  • Barrister's fees
  • Court fees
  • Expert witness fees
  • Legal costs awarded to the other side
  • Court fines
  • Claim disbursements

Before the Event insurance will help cover the costs of a compensation claim if you have been injured in an accident as a result of someone else’s negligence. You should also be covered if a claim brought against you.

How can I obtain BTE insurance?

BTE insurance is most commonly sold as part of (or as an add-on to) policies home, travel, or car insurance policies. It may also be provided as a membership benefit of certain bodies such as trade unions, or through your employer or bank account.

BTE can also be purchased as a stand-alone policy.

Generally, the insurance premium would be paid annually to your insurance company. If you are unsure as to whether you have BTE insurance, check your policy before starting a personal injury claim.

A personal injury solicitor can check your policy to see whether, and to what extent, you are covered.

What if I am injured and do not have BTE insurance?

If you buy BTE insurance after your accident, it won't cover you for anything that has already happened.

Most personal injury claims are made on a No Win, No Fee basis.

No win, no fee means that you can make a personal injury compensation claim with:

  • no financial risk or upfront legal fees
  • no fees payable if your claim is not successful
  • a success fee payable only if you win your claim

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will ask you to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). As part of any CFA agreement, you will also take out After the Event Insurance (ATE) which ensures your opponent’s legal fees and disbursements (third party costs) will be covered if you do not win your claim.

As a claimant, you would not have t pay the cost of the ATE premium upfront or if you lose your case. If you win your case, the cost of the policy would be deducted from your compensation settlement.

Other things to consider

  • BTE insurance may not cover holiday claims such as an accident abroad or an illness on holiday.
  • BTE insurance may not cover your legal fees in their entirety; this will depend on your policy.
  • BTE insurance will not cover any compensation you are ordered to pay.

See also:

After the Event (ATE) insurance

Will dealing directly with insurers speed up my injury claim?

How long does an insurer take to settle an injury claim?

Do I have to use my insurance company's injury solicitor?

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher