What is Legal Expense Insurance?
Legal Expense Insurance is an insurance product that protects you in case of an unforeseen legal event by covering your legal costs and giving you access to an experienced lawyer. A DAS policy gives you access to justice when you need it.
What do “legal costs” include?
Legal costs include lawyers’ fees, court fees, expert witness fees, report fees, other legal disbursements and adverse costs (the money you may be ordered to pay to the opposing party should you lose your case).
Will my Legal Expense Insurance policy cover “any” legal dispute?
DAS policies are designed to cover a wide variety of common legal issues faced by individuals and businesses. Please carefully review your DAS policy wording to find out which legal disputes are covered by your policy.
Remember, although your policy may not cover a certain legal issue, you can receive general legal information on any legal issue via the DAS Legal Helpline. If you have questions about an issue that is not covered by your policy, a DAS advice lawyer will answer your questions and provide general advice and recommended next steps.
Who do I call to obtain legal assistance?
If you need legal assistance or aswers to any legal question, call the DAS Legal Helpline. The number to call will be located:
- on your DAS Policy Certificate, or;
- within your DAS Policy Wording booklet.
If you cannot find it, then please call our Head Office at 1-888-582-5586 and press 1 to connect to the Legal Helpline.
Does calling the Legal Helpline automatically trigger a claim?
No. Calls to the Legal Helpline are not considered claims.
When you call the Legal Helpline, you will speak with a lawyer who will answer your legal question and/or discuss your situation and provide you with general legal advice, so you feel more confident going forward.
If your legal issue appears to be covered by your policy, the lawyer will then pass along your information to our Claims Department. A Claims Analyst will then contact you for more details, and make the final decision regarding coverage.
If your legal issue is clearly not covered by your policy, such as calling about a family law matter, the lawyer will provide you with general legal advice and potential next steps you could take.
What are the steps to follow to submit a claim?
As a policyholder, you can call the DAS Legal Helpline. It’s the easiest and fastest way to let us know about a potential legal issue that could be covered by your policy.
If the claim is covered by the policy, your claim is assigned to a DAS Claims Analyst and further information is gathered. The Claims Analyst will first attempt to resolve the issue. If DAS cannot resolve the issue, a Panel Lawyer is assigned to the claim.
What happens if my legal costs exceed my policy’s limit of indemnity?
The limit of indemnity indicated in your policy summary coverage page is the maximum amount, in dollars, of legal fees that DAS will cover for any one claim or for the annual policy period. Any legal fees incurred over that limit will not be covered by DAS and must be paid by you. We will inform you if it appears likely that the legal costs for your claim will exceed your limit of indemnity.
How do I get a policy?
We sell our Legal Expense Insurance products through a network of registered insurance brokers. We cannot sell our policies to you directly. If you would like to get a quote or purchase a Legal Expense Insurance policy, you should contact a DAS-affiliated broker in your area using the “Find a Broker” tool.
What if my own lawyer begins work on my dispute, before I have notified DAS?
If you believe you may become involved in a legal dispute, call the DAS Legal Helpline right away. Do not seek advice from any lawyer outside of DAS unless DAS has advised you to do so. We cannot honour any costs incurred prior to the claim being reported to us. In order to avoid prejudice and ensure that your legal costs will be covered, you must act under the advice of DAS panel lawyers from the outset of your case.
What if I am not satisfied with the lawyer appointed to my claim?
Once we have reviewed your file, we will assign it to a panel lawyer with the experience, background, and skills most relevant to your case. If, however, you are not happy with the lawyer assigned to your claim, we will work with you to resolve the issues, which may include changing lawyers, depending on the circumstances.
Will you cover legal issues that started before I purchased a policy?
Legal disputes that existed before the start date of your DAS policy will not be covered.
What are “reasonable prospects"?
“Reasonable prospects” is a concept that is recognized in the Canadian judicial system and used in our policy as a means to determine the validity of a civil claim from a legal perspective so as to avoid frivolous legal actions.
It is not in anyone’s best interest to pursue a case that has little to no chance of success. For civil claims, the lawyer appointed to your file must agree that it is more likely than not that you will be successful in your case.
Reasonable prospects may change throughout a case; for example, there may be no reasonable prospects at the outset of your claim, but further evidence may come to light that will change the probability of success. In this case, we will resume coverage of your claim.
My policy indicates that some disputes may be “negotiated” rather than pursued or defended in court. Why is this?
Going to court is stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. It is often more beneficial for both parties to settle out of court, and the majority of legal disputes are, in fact, settled by negotiation. Our goal is to provide the most appropriate and efficient solution to your legal problem. Often, this means negotiating to settle out of court rather than pursuing a complex action.
Does my policy cover criminal charges? For example, will I be covered if I am charged with assault?
DAS policies only cover criminal charges that are related to a policyholder’s employment and that are not wilfully committed. Therefore, a criminal case will only be covered if you were charged criminally while carrying out your employment duties.
Will I meet with my lawyer face to face, or is everything done over the phone?
When you call the DAS Legal Helpline regarding a potential claim, you will speak with an advice lawyer over the phone. If a claim is opened on your behalf, your initial contact with the lawyer will probably occur over the phone as well. From that point forward, however, you may meet with your lawyer face to face if you so choose.
What does DAS stand for?
Deutscher Automobil Schutz (German Automobile Protection). This name reflects the German roots of Legal Expense Insurance and our parent company.