Before the event (or “BTE”) insurance is a form of legal expenses insurance that is often included as an “add-on” to common domestic or business insurance packages, such as home, buildings or motor insurance. It can also be purchased as a stand-alone policy but normally it's attached to another type of policy. Many people benefit from BTE insurance without realising that they have it, or that it may be applicable to the claim that they are pursuing.
It is always worth checking your existing insurance policies before contacting a solicitor, as the policies usually cover a range of potential claims. If your cover is subject to a cap, then it is important to let us know as soon as possible so that we can estimate the work that we will be able to undertake within the limits of your insurance.
It is also important to note that legal expenses insurance is designed only to cover the legal fees involved in bringing or defending a claim. Generally in contentious matters the rule is that costs follow the event, which means that if you win, your opponent is likely to be ordered to pay your costs, and vice-versa. BTE insurance covers the risks involved with this system; if you win, then your opponent is likely to pay your costs, and if you lose, the insurance will pay your opponent’s costs. However, the insurance does not cover any damages that you or your opponent may be ordered to pay by a court; these are often covered by separate insurance policies. There is also normally a cap on the extend of the funding offered by the BTE insurer (often around £50,000 to £100,000).