Nearly half of German households have legal insurance - should you?
In Germany, people know and love to exercise their rights, and having legal insurance emboldens them to do just that, without the risk of high legal fees. The experts at digital insurance company Feather explain how legal insurance works in Germany, and why it can be a useful kind of insurance to have.
Did you know that 46 percent of households in Germany have legal insurance to ensure they are covered for any legal disputes that could arise? Policyholders take great assurance in being legally insured, as the coverage empowers them to seek justice with legal action, and gives them extra security if a case is brought against them. Because so many German residents are armed with legal insurance, they don’t hesitate to tackle disputes by involving legal professionals.
You may never have considered taking legal action before, but in Germany it is common to seek legal counsel over a dispute with a landlord or employer, or simply a disagreement over a traffic offence. Whether it’s just a consultation with a lawyer that you need, or to bring the case to court, legal insurance provides you with the means to do just that without potentially incurring large financial losses through lawyer’s fees and legal bills.
Being far from your home country with an unfamiliar legal system, language and laws to navigate, legal insurance can give expats that extra confidence and financial support they need to address an injustice in an acceptable and formal manner. This safety net ensures that you have the means to take action when faced with an infringement of your rights, and to defend yourself when you need to.
What does legal insurance cover?
Legal insurance can differ depending on your plan, but you will generally find that your policy will include coverage for:
- Legal consultations regarding insured events
- Lawyer’s fees for the duration of the case
- Court fees, including that of the other party should you not win the case
- Mediation for out of court disputes
- Costs of experts required to weigh in on the dispute
These costs are covered when a dispute arises over an insured event.
What are insured events?
Some examples of insured events include:
- Workplace concerns: For example, unfair dismissal, workplace discrimination, privacy violation or value of severance packages.
- Personal concerns: For example, overcharges on phone contracts, family matters or suing someone for damages.
- Traffic concerns: For example, challenging blame assigned for accidents, hit-and-run cases and unjustified traffic fines.
- Property concerns: For example, arguments over rent increases, deposits, noise complaints or damages.
To prevent people from taking out legal insurance to cover the costs of an ongoing or imminent legal dispute, after you take out your policy a waiting period will apply before you can make a claim on your insurance.
This time can be anywhere between three and six months depending on your policy and your particular dispute. You cannot access the services offered by your legal insurance for disputes that arise prior to signing up or during your waiting period.
A waiting time is standard in the legal insurance industry, so it’s advisable to sign up for legal insurance sooner rather than later to ensure you are covered and eligible to start using your policy when the need arises. The good news is that you can still make use of free telephone consultations with a lawyer during this period.
Deductibles are the amount you have to pay from your own pocket for a claim, before your insurance company steps in to cover the rest of the bill. This deductible only applies for an insured legal matter, so with Feather for example, the initial phone consultations are always free.
The deductible usually starts at around 300 euros, but might be lower if you have held legal insurance in Germany for five years or more. If a case can be solved relatively quickly, your deductible may not apply, and many insurance companies will offer bonuses like reducing your deductible for each year that you don’t make a claim.
The bottom line
As Germans have and are not afraid to use their legal insurance, there is a fair chance that you may at some point end up involved in a legal matter, even if you don’t raise a complaint yourself. In times like these, having legal insurance can help get you the support you need and soften the financial blow.
Considering legal insurance? You can sign up for legal insurance online in five minutes with Feather. Feather offers the whole sign-up, support and claims process in English, plus they will put you in touch with a network of English-speaking lawyers when you need a legal consultation. Feather offers different legal insurance plans depending on your needs, plus you can add family members to your policy too.