FAQ Page


Questions about legal protection insurance

Legal expenses insurance is an insurance that covers the costs of legal disputes and litigation. It can cover different types of legal disputes, such as civil, criminal, labour, social or administrative proceedings. Legal expenses insurance can generally cover the following costs: 

– Lawyers’ fees and court costs: the insurance usually covers the costs of lawyers, experts and court fees incurred in connection with the legal dispute. 

– Witness fees: If witnesses are needed in the proceedings, the insurance may also cover their fees and expenses. 

– Expert witness fees: The costs of experts and surveyors who help to clarify the facts may also be covered by the insurance. 

– Costs of the opposing party: If you are defeated in a legal dispute, the insurance can also cover the costs of the opposing party if these are imposed by the court. 

– Mediation and arbitration costs: In some cases, out-of-court settlements can be reached through mediation or conciliation. The costs of this may be covered by the legal expenses insurance. 

It is important to note that legal expenses insurance usually requires an excess. This is an amount that you have to pay yourself before the insurance company will cover the rest of the costs. The amount of the excess can vary depending on the insurance policy. 

There are also certain costs that are not usually covered by legal expenses insurance, such as fines, penalties or claims for damages.

It is difficult to give exact costs for lawyers in Switzerland, as they depend on various factors, such as the complexity of the case, the lawyer’s area of expertise, experience and the region in which the lawyer works. In Switzerland, attorneys generally charge for their services on an hourly basis, although hourly rates can vary widely.  

As a rough guide, hourly rates for lawyers in Switzerland can range from CHF 200 to CHF 500 or even more. Specialized attorneys or very experienced attorneys may charge higher hourly rates. In some cases, a flat fee can also be agreed upon, which is independent of the actual time spent. 

In addition to attorney fees, other costs may be incurred, such as court fees, expert witness fees, or witness fees. It is important to consider these factors when estimating the total cost of litigation. 

It is a good idea to have a detailed consultation with the attorney of your choice before you begin litigation to discuss anticipated costs and possibly enter into a written agreement regarding fees. This will help you plan better and avoid unexpected costs.

A waiting period in legal protection insurance (also known as a waiting period) is a period after the contract has been concluded during which the insurance company does not yet provide benefits for certain legal cases. The waiting period serves to reduce the risk for the insurance company by preventing policyholders from taking out insurance on short notice to cover existing or imminent litigation. 

The length of the waiting period varies depending on the insurance company, the particular insurance product and, in some cases, between legal areas. It can range from a few weeks to several months. Typically, there is no waiting period for criminal law coverage or traffic accidents, while a waiting period is more common in other areas such as employment law, landlord-tenant law or family law. 

It’s important to read the terms and conditions of your legal expenses insurance carefully and consider the grace period to ensure you have the right protection when you need it. Among the insurers included on our comparison, only AXA-ARAG offers a product completely without a waiting period.

Yes, a legal expenses insurance company can reject cases if they do not meet certain criteria or conditions in the insurance contract. The exact conditions may vary from insurance company to insurance company, but there are some common reasons why a legal expense insurance company might reject a case: 

– Waiting period (waiting period): As mentioned above, many legal expenses insurance policies have a waiting period during which no benefits are provided for certain legal cases. If the dispute arises during the waiting period, the insurance company may deny coverage. 

– Pre-contract disputes: If the dispute arose before the insurance policy was issued or its cause predates the start of the policy, the insurance company may deny coverage. 

– Exclusions: The policy terms and conditions may exclude certain types of disputes or situations. Examples of such exclusions include disputes related to construction matters, inheritance matters, or intellectual property. It is important to read the terms of your policy carefully to know which cases are excluded. 

– Lack of likelihood of success: Many legal malpractice insurance companies evaluate a case’s likelihood of success before granting coverage. If the insurance company believes there is little chance of success or the case appears futile, it may refuse to pay the costs. 

– Contradiction to the administration of justice: in some cases, the insurance company may refuse coverage if it believes the litigation is abusive or violates the principles of the administration of justice. 

It is important to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions of your legal expense insurance policy to ensure you have the proper protection when needed. If your insurance company denies a case and you believe this is unjustified, you can contact an insurance ombudsman or attorney to explore your options.

In principle, with legal expenses insurance, you can hire the lawyer of your choice as long as the lawyer has the appropriate qualifications and licenses to handle your case. However, there are some factors you should consider: 

– Policy terms: Check the terms and conditions of your legal expense insurance policy to make sure there are no restrictions on the selection of the attorney. Some insurance companies may have certain requirements regarding the attorney’s qualifications or experience, or may suggest a list of recommended attorneys. 

– Cost: Make sure the cost of the attorney you want to hire is covered by your legal expense insurance. Insurance companies usually have a maximum amount they will reimburse for attorney fees. It is important to discuss this with the attorney of your choice to ensure that the costs are within your insurance coverage. 

– Specialization: it is advisable to choose an attorney who specializes in the area of law that corresponds to your case. A specialist attorney can usually provide you with better advice and representation than an attorney who only has general knowledge of the area. 

– Proximity: It can be helpful to choose an attorney near you for ease of communication and access. However, this is not always a requirement for legal expenses insurance.

The number of instances covered by legal expenses insurance depends on the terms of your individual insurance contract. As a rule, legal expenses insurance covers the costs of all instances of a legal dispute, as long as the case has a sufficient chance of success and the insurance company has jurisdiction over the case. This means that they can cover first-instance proceedings as well as appeal and revision proceedings if the respective requirements are met. 

It is important to note that the insurance company will generally only fund the continuation of the case to higher instances if they believe there is a good chance of success and that it makes economic sense to continue the litigation. The insurance company may also set a coverage limit for the total cost of the litigation that applies to all instances.

In Switzerland, the cost of a court hearing varies depending on the case, the court and the canton. If you lose a court hearing, you may incur various costs: 

– Court fees: These fees depend on the jurisdiction and canton and can vary by case and court. In Switzerland, court fees are usually based on the amount in dispute in the case and the cantonal fee scales. 

– Attorney’s fees: Attorney’s fees can vary depending on the case, the complexity of the case, the attorney’s area of expertise, and the region in which the attorney practices. They generally include fees for representation in court as well as the attorney’s preparatory work. Hourly rates for attorneys can range from CHF 200 to CHF 500 or even higher. 

– Opponent’s costs: If you lose the case, the court may require you to pay the opponent’s legal fees and court costs. However, this varies depending on the court decision and cantonal law. 

– Witness fees, expert fees and other costs: if witnesses or experts are needed in the proceedings, their fees and expenses may also be incurred. Other costs may also be incurred, such as travel expenses, translation costs or costs for the service of documents. 

Since costs vary by case and canton, it is difficult to give an accurate estimate of the total cost of a court case in Switzerland if you lose. It is advisable to talk to a lawyer about the potential costs and risks of litigation before deciding to sue. Legal expenses insurance can help minimize the financial risk in the event of defeat by covering the costs of lawyers, court fees and, if applicable, the costs of the opponent.