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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. An ARAG 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?

ARAG policies are designed to cover a wide variety of common legal issues faced by individuals and businesses. Please carefully review your ARAG 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 Legal Helpline. If you have questions about an issue that is not covered by your policy, an ARAG lawyer will answer your questions and provide general assistance and recommended next steps.

Who do I call to obtain legal assistance?

If you need legal assistance or answers to any legal question, call the Legal Helpline. The number to call will be located:

  • on your Policy Insurance Certificate, or;
  • within your 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.

  1. When you call the Legal Helpline, you will speak with a Legal Helpline Lawyer who will answer your legal question and/or discuss your situation and provide you with general legal assistance, so you feel more confident going forward.
  2. 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.
  3. If your legal issue is clearly not covered by your policy, such as calling about a family law matter, the Legal Helpline Lawyer will provide you with general legal assistance and potential next steps you could take.

What are the steps to follow to submit a claim?

  1. After you have spoken to a Legal Helpline Lawyer on the Legal Helpline and if it appears that the legal issue may be covered by your policy, your information is transferred to our Claims Department to begin the claims process.
  2. Once our Claims Analysts receive your information, they will contact you within 48 hours to discuss the issue in greater details and request any supporting documents to make a coverage decision. In addition, you will be provided with a Claim Reference number to allow easy follow-up.

How do I follow up on the status of my claim?

  1. Claims Analysts will contact you every time they receive an update so you do not have to reach out to them for updates on your claim’s status.
  2. If you wish to do so, you can follow up on the status of you claim by contacting the Claims Analyst assigned to your claim and by referring your Claim Reference number provided to you by the Analyst.

What happens if my legal costs exceed my policy’s limit of indemnity?

The limit of indemnity indicated on your Policy Insurance Certificate is the maximum amount, in dollars, of legal fees that ARAG will cover for any one claim or for the annual policy period. Any legal fees incurred over that limit will not be covered by ARAG 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 an ARAG-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 ARAG?

If you believe you may become involved in a legal dispute, call the Legal Helpline right away. Do not seek advice from any lawyer outside of ARAG unless ARAG 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 ARAG 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 claim. 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 ARAG 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?

ARAG policies only cover criminal charges that are related to a policyholder’s employment and that are not willfully 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 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.

It says my policy is underwritten by HDI and ARAG acts as an insurance manager. What does that mean?

In plain language, ARAG is the company with the in-house expertise to distribute Legal Expense Insurance and effectively manage your Legal Expense Insurance claim. HDI is the insurer that pays the legal fees and costs attached your claim, up to the policy limits shown on your Policy Insurance Certificate.

Who are HDI?

As an industrial lines insurer, HDI Global SE (HDI) meets the needs of SMEs, industrial companies and corporate customers with insurance solutions that are specifically tailored to their requirements. In addition to HDI's prominent position in the German and broader European market, the company also has operations in more than 150 countries through foreign branch offices, subsidiary and peer companies, and network partners. The company is thus able to offer its customers local policies for their global operations, which ensure that the established service and insurance protection is extended for all covered risks worldwide.

HDI Global SE is a company in the Industrial Lines Division of the Talanx Group. Approximately 3.700 employees in this division generated gross written premiums of approx. EUR 6.7 billion in the year 2020.

The rating agency Standard & Poor’s has given the Talanx Primary Group a financial strength rating of A+/stable (strong). Talanx AG is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in the SDAX.

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