At Your Company Formations, we know that running a small business is an exciting journey, but it is not without its hurdles. Facing legal challenges can feel overwhelming, especially with limited resources. Research from the Legal Services Board (LSB) paints a concerning picture: around one-third of small businesses in the UK face legal issues each year, and only a quarter seek professional help, often due to cost concerns.

This is where legal expense insurance emerges as a valuable tool. Whether you are facing a trade dispute, employment matter, or regulatory hurdle, it helps provide financial support and access to legal expertise when needed.

Here is why legal expenses insurance should be considered for your business:

  • Peace of mind: Knowing you have financial backing for legal issues can help you sleep soundly at night, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
  • Expert guidance: Legal issues can be intricate and nuanced. With insurance, you gain access to qualified lawyers who can provide tailored advice and representation.
  • Cost-effective solution: Legal fees can quickly drain your resources. Insurance helps manage these costs, ensuring you can access legal support without breaking the bank.
  • Better decision-making: Having professional guidance enables you to make informed decisions and pursue the best course of action for your business.

What is legal expenses insurance?

Legal expenses insurance, often called legal protection insurance, helps small businesses cover their costs when facing complex legal matters. But what exactly does it entail?

Imagine facing a contract dispute, an employment tribunal, or a data breach. The legal fees associated with such challenges can quickly take up all your time, energy, and focus, stalling your business's growth. Legal expenses insurance provides financial support and expert guidance to help you manage these situations effectively.

Policies can be customised to your specific industry and risk profile, ensuring you have the proper protection for your unique needs. Cover typically extends to legal fees, expenses like court costs, and representation for various legal issues, including:

  • Employment disputes: Unfair dismissal, discrimination claims, or employee contracts.
  • Contract disputes: Breach of contract, contract interpretation, or debt recovery.
  • Property damage and liability claims: Accidents, property damage, or personal injury incidents.
  • Regulatory issues: Compliance with health & safety, data protection, or other relevant regulations.
  • Tax investigations and disputes: Representation and advice during tax inquiries or disputes.
  • Peace of mind and cost-effectiveness: By knowing your legal expenses are covered, you can focus on confidently running your business. Additionally, the insurance premiums are often significantly lower than the potential cost of defending yourself without it.

Beyond financial support, legal expenses insurance offers valuable additional benefits:

  • Access to legal expertise: You gain access to a panel of qualified lawyers who can provide expert advice and representation, ensuring you receive the best possible legal support.
  • Dispute resolution assistance: Often, policies offer support in resolving disputes amicably through mediation or arbitration, saving time and potential legal costs.
  • 24/7 legal helpline: Many policies provide access to a 24/7 legal helpline, allowing you to seek immediate guidance and support during any legal concern.

Expert legal advice and support

One of the main benefits of taking out this insurance is that it provides you with a legal advisor who will be able to answer questions and guide you through complex legal situations. As a small business owner, it can offer you invaluable legal advice and support that can be the difference between success and struggling to manage the issue yourself.

Many policies include access to a dedicated legal helpline staffed by qualified professionals who can answer your questions, offer initial advice, and point you in the right direction. This allows you to address legal concerns promptly, preventing minor issues from growing into more significant problems.

Your legal expenses insurance can connect you with legal experts specialising in your specific industry and concerns. This ensures you receive accurate and relevant advice tailored to your unique business needs.

The research conducted by the LSB highlighting the £13.6bn annual loss for SMEs due to unaddressed legal issues paints a stark picture. This figure includes the significant costs associated with unresolved disputes, employee-related matters, and neglecting regulatory compliance.

By proactively seeking legal advice and securing financial protection, you can avoid costly mistakes and manage risks effectively, allowing you to focus on what truly matters - growing your business.

What should you consider?

Choosing the right legal expenses insurance is crucial for ensuring it aligns with your business's specific needs. Here are the key factors to consider:

1: Identifying Your Needs:
  • Industry-Specific Risks: Analyse your industry's typical legal challenges. Do you face frequent contract disputes, employment issues, or regulatory hurdles? Choose a policy with tailored coverage for your industry's prevalent legal risks.
  • Potential Legal Disputes: Consider the types of legal disputes you might encounter. Do you need coverage for contract breaches, employment tribunals, property damage claims, or intellectual property disputes? Opt for a policy that comprehensively covers these potential concerns.
  • Frequency of Legal Support: Assess how often you anticipate needing legal advice or representation. Frequent access might necessitate a 24/7 legal helpline or higher coverage limits.
2: Study The Policy Details:
  • Coverage Exclusions: Be aware of any exclusions in the policy, such as specific types of legal disputes or geographical limitations. Ensure the policy covers your essential needs without unexpected exclusions.
  • Claim Limits and Sub-limits: Understand the maximum amount the insurance will cover for legal fees and any sub-limits for specific categories like litigation costs. Choose a policy with limits that adequately address potential legal expenses.
  • Excesses and Deductibles: Understand the excess (deductible) you will need to pay before the insurance coverage kicks in. Choose an excess amount you are comfortable paying while considering the overall premium cost.
3: Check Additional Features:
  • 24/7 Legal Helpline: Access to a 24/7 legal helpline for immediate advice and guidance can be invaluable, especially during urgent situations. Consider its availability and the qualifications of the legal experts providing support.
  • Online Legal Resources: Some policies offer access to online legal resources, such as document templates and legal information hubs. These can help manage legal risks and avoid potential issues.
  • Reputation of the Insurer: Choose a reputable insurance provider with a strong track record of honouring claims and offering quality legal support.


Legal issues can pose significant threats to your small business's growth, stability, and success. Legal expenses insurance offers you a powerful tool, providing financial protection against the costs associated with legal issues and expert support to help you resolve the situation.

While legal expenses may seem like an additional cost, consider it a tool to help minimise legal risks for sustainable growth and the long-term success of your business.

Recommended further reading:

You may want to keep your home address off the public record when forming your company. Read our post, Do I Need a Registered Address for my Company? To learn about keeping your residential address private.

One of the main hurdles to starting a business is financing. Learn how to finance your business dreams in our post, How To Get Funding For a Business.

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