Before the Event insurance?

What does Before the Event insurance protect you from, and how do you obtain it?

See also: After the Event (ATE) insurance

What does Before the Event (BTE) insurance cover? 

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

This may be as part of a personal injury claim, an employment dispute or medical negligence for example.

BTE insurance can cover:

  • Solicitors’ fees
  • Barristers’ fees
  • Court fees
  • Expert witness fees
  • Legal costs awarded to your opponent
  • Court fines

BTE insurance will help cover the costs of a compensation claim if you have been injured in an incident that was due to someone else’s negligence, or alternatively the costs of 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 such as home, travel or car insurance. It may also be provided as a membership benefit of certain bodies such as a trade union, or through your employer or bank account.

You can also buy it 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 or not, check your policy before contemplating a personal injury claim.

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

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

You cannot generally buy BTE insurance once an accident has occurred.

In this instance you can take out After the Event (ATE) insurance, which is designed to cover your opponent’s legal fees if you lose your case.

If you are making a personal injury claim, you can sign a conditional fee agreement (No Win, No Fee) with your solicitor and take out ATE insurance alongside this. This will ensure your opponent’s legal fees and disbursements (third party costs) will be covered if you do not win.

You will pay nothing for the ATE insurance up front; you will not pay the insurance premium if you lose your claim, and if you win it will be deducted from your compensation settlement.

Other things to consider

  • BTE insurance does 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.
  • It will not cover any compensation you are ordered to pay.
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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