What exactly does non-litigation include

Legal protection insurance - superfluous or useful?

For whom legal protection insurance can be useful

Legal protection insurance does not protect you from all litigation costs. For example, there is usually no legal protection:

  • in the event of a divorce,
  • in inheritance disputes,
  • in the event of a dispute in connection with the construction of a house, the purchase or sale of a building plot and construction financing,
  • for speculative investments and gaming and betting contracts,
  • in disputes about financial investments, if you as an investor received wrong advice (these are mostly excluded in the more recent contracts),
  • if you want to fend off claims for damages by others.


However, we recommend that you consider whether you need legal protection insurance, for example if you:

  • want to protect themselves against legal disputes with their employer in the event that he issues a bad job reference, issues a warning or threatens to dismiss,
  • regularly take part in road traffic as the owner, renter or driver of a vehicle, for example as a commuter,
  • Fear disputes about insurance benefits from health or disability insurance (then legal protection insurance can become as important as health / disability insurance itself),
  • Can't rule out a dispute with your landlord about cosmetic repairs, utility bills or rent increases.

But be careful: If you are already involved in a legal dispute before signing the contract, you will not receive any insurance cover. This also applies if a legal dispute is announced in the near future. The prerequisite for insurance cover is that the cause of the legal dispute only occurs after the waiting period has expired (exceptions: complete legal protection preliminary contract and in traffic legal protection).

What does the legal protection insurance pay?

The legal protection insurance pays the fees of the lawyers and the court, the compensation for witnesses, the costs of the expert and the bailiff. Travel expenses to a foreign court are also paid. The costs are covered up to the amount of the agreed sum insured. Therefore, when concluding a contract, you should agree at least 300,000 euros.

Important: the waiting times

The waiting times are not uniformly regulated. Most insurers require a waiting period of three months from the start of the contract. Some insurers insist on a waiting period of six months. Basically, the following applies: The cause of the legal dispute may only have arisen after the waiting period has expired.

Agree on the casting vote

If the insurer is of the opinion that the legal dispute is unsuccessful, it can refuse to take over the insurance cover. There are then two options: You can either hire your lawyer to give a reasoned opinion on the chances of success. This is followed by the so-called casting vote, which is binding for both parties. The insurer bears the costs. Or there is an arbitration procedure. A lawyer is hired by the insurer. The decision of the arbitrator is only binding on the insurer. The loser bears the costs of these proceedings.

The casting vote is the better alternative for you, as the insurer has to cover the costs, regardless of how the decision is made. When concluding an insurance contract, make sure that the casting vote has been agreed.

Waiver of the pre-contractual objection

This means that insured events that occurred before the start of the contract are also insured. The prerequisite for most insurers is that the contract with the risk in question has been in existence for at least 5 years. This clause can be relevant, for example, for people who have taken out occupational disability insurance: Benefits are often refused because the health questions are not answered truthfully. If there is a legal dispute, the legal protection insurer is obliged to assume the costs with the clause "pre-contractual", although the cause of the legal dispute lies before the legal protection insurance is taken out.

Opposition proceedings in social, tax and administrative law

Many legal expenses insurers only pay under social, tax and administrative law when the legal dispute goes to court. It is important that the legal fees for the upstream opposition proceedings are covered. In this way, legal disputes in court can be avoided if, with the help of a lawyer, the previous tax objection procedure is successful and the tax office changes the tax assessment.

Better to use individual legal protection packages

If you decide on a legal protection contract, you do not necessarily resort to all-round protection, but try to protect yourself cost-effectively by carefully selecting individual legal protection pacts. So these packages may be of interest to you:

  • Traffic legal protection
    Disputes in connection with participation in road traffic are insured. You are insured as the owner, keeper, driver or occupant of all vehicles registered for you during the term of the contract, as well as renting a rental car, driver of third-party vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and passengers in public and private transport. In addition, all authorized drivers and occupants of the insured vehicles are insured.

    However, insurance coverage may not apply if you drive without a driver's license, if you are not authorized to drive the vehicle, or if you drive unauthorized vehicles. Also excluded are stopping and parking violations, deliberate criminal offenses, out-of-court tax disputes and the defense against claims for damages. In addition, legal expenses insurance does not pay any fines or fines.

 

  • Legal protection for property owners and tenants
    Disputes arising from tenancy and lease agreements and from so-called real rights to the property, building and part of the building are insured. Real rights are, for example, property, heritable building rights, disputes under the Condominium Act and neighborhood law. In addition, tax disputes in court due to tax and duty-related matters are insured. Furthermore, legal disputes due to a rent increase, defects in the rental property, eviction or termination.

    For you as the policyholder, depending on the content of the contract, there is insurance coverage as a tenant, leaseholder, beneficial owner, owner, landlord or lessor of land, buildings or parts of buildings that are identified in the insurance policy.

 

  • Private and professional legal protection for non-self-employed
    This legal protection can only be taken out by employees. Self-employed activities with a certain turnover (tariff-specific limit, often EUR 6,000 or EUR 10,000 per year) are not taken into account. There is no insurance cover for these disputes.

    The insurance cover includes, among other things, the enforcement of your own claims for damages, disputes arising from employment relationships, the enforcement and defense of claims under private law obligations, e.g. a purchase contract, insurance contract or other contracts of everyday life, tax disputes in court, disputes before the social court, defense in criminal proceedings and in Fine proceedings, for example because of exceeding the speed limit or not observing a red traffic light, and a one-off initial consultation after a change in the legal situation in family and inheritance law (for example: contesting a will, accepting or rejecting an inheritance).

    The insurance does not cover, among other things, the defense against claims for damages that are not based on a contractual basis (these claims fall within the scope of liability insurance), deliberately committed crimes and administrative offenses, so-called collective labor law (collective bargaining law, labor disputes in the event of strikes and lockouts), questions about construction financing , Disputes arising from rental contracts, the objection procedure in social, tax and administrative law that precedes litigation in court, legal disputes in family and inheritance law and also purely precautionary advice.

    The policyholder, his / her spouse / partner, minor children and adult unmarried children up to the age of 25 are insured, but at the longest until the point in time at which they start a permanent, paid job.

 

  • Private and professional legal protection for the self-employed
    This private legal protection can be agreed if the policyholder, the spouse / life partner or both carry out a commercial, professional or other self-employed activity. In addition to legal cases in the private sector (with the above options such as private, traffic and rental legal protection), the safeguarding of legal interests in connection with the exercise of a non-self-employed activity can be insured. If the professional cost risk is included, then the trade or freelance activity that is specifically specified in the insurance policy is insured.

    The persons listed in the private and professional legal protection for the self-employed are insured. The employees employed in the company are also insured.

 

Should I now take out legal protection insurance?

Check carefully whether you need legal protection insurance: Ask yourself whether you fear disputes in the areas covered by a legal protection policy and, if necessary, get offers from various insurance companies.

Also note that in some cases you can get the same benefits from a different source:

  • If you are a member of a trade union, you can take advantage of the trade unions' legal protection, which includes legal advice, legal assistance and representation in cases of:
  • Disputes arising from members standing up for their trade union rights as well as from strikes and lockouts,
    • Disputes arising from the employment relationship,
    • Social security claims.

Legal protection is free for members.

  • Homeowners or condominium owners receive in-depth legal advice on any issues as a member of a Landowners Association. Tenants receive this service as a member of the Tenants' Association. As a member of these associations, you can also take out discounted legal expenses insurance.
  • As part of everyone Liability insurance you are insured against unfounded or excessive claims for damages from third parties.
  • In the event of a dispute with the insurance company, you can contact the Insurance Ombudsman turn. This can settle the dispute with the company out of court.

This is how you can recognize a good legal protection insurance

  • The insurance conditions differ considerably in some cases. You should therefore ensure that the general insurance conditions for legal protection insurance used by your insurer do not contain any provisions that are less favorable from the consumer's point of view than the "General Conditions for Legal Protection Insurance" (ARB 2012) published without obligation by the General Association of the German Insurance Industry. . Have the insurer confirm this in writing.
  • The insurers assume the costs of the legal dispute up to the agreed sum insured. The sum should be at least 300,000 euros.
  • Make sure that the objection procedure is agreed to avoid litigation in court in social, tax and administrative law.
  • The clause "waiving the objection of pre-contractual status" should be agreed.
  • You are only entitled to benefits after the waiting times have expired. It is advantageous if there are either no or short waiting times.
  • The insurer can refuse to take over the insurance cover due to a lack of prospects of success. Make sure that the casting vote is part of the contract.

 

You can also get support with your decision at your local consumer center.

This content was created by the joint editorial team in cooperation with our federal association (vzbv) and the consumer advice center Baden-W├╝rttemberg for the network of consumer advice centers in Germany.