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All you need to know about claims

Being involved in a legal dispute can be daunting and stressful. This page has been created to give you everything you need to know, from how to make a claim to downloading a claim form to understanding the process once it has been submitted. We've also added in our most frequently asked questions at the bottom of the page. To skip to a particular section use the menu below.

Making a Claim

Becoming involved in a legal dispute can be stressful and worrying. Heather Wilmot, BTE Claims Manager at ARAG UK, talks through what happens if a claim arises and offers tips and guidance on how to make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible.

Got a quick question?

We've added Live Chat so you can talk directly to our Claims team without needing to pick up the phone. The chat function is designed for simple and quick questions rather than in depth conversations about a claim. If you do have detailed questions please contact us by phone or email.

 
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Legal Expenses Claim Forms

 

If you would like to make a claim, you'll find our claim forms to the right. We always recommend that you read the insurance claims procedure, which is set out in your policy document, before submitting your claim to us.

 

Please note, if you are using Google Chrome you will need to download your form. To do this please right-click on the appropriate form and then select 'Save link as..." from the resulting menu. Once the form is downloaded it can be opened using any standard PDF reader and you will then be able to complete, save and send this back to us.

 
 

ATE Solicitors please click below to login and input your claim into the gATEway system:

Email

To request a claim form to be sent to you or, to send your completed claim form to ARAG, please email us at:

 

Need help? Contact us

If you have any queries about making a claim, our office is open from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.

For our mutual protection and training purposes, calls may be recorded.

Emergency Assistance claims

Emergency Assistance policies have allocated phone numbers. If you need to make a claim the number can be found in your policy document.

 

How does the claim process work?

If you are insured with us and are facing a legal issue, please come to us first! The first thing you need to do is send us details of your claim. On this page you can download a PDF claim form.

Here's a short video explaining how the claim process works, but if you'd prefer to read we've outlined it step-by-step below. Just click on the step you'd like to read more about.

Step 1 - Send us your claim form

If you are insured with us and are facing a legal issue your first step is to send us a claim form. On this page you can download a form, then you will need to complete iy, save it and send it back to us. Please note, if you are using Google Chrome you will need to download your form. To do this please right-click on the appropriate form and then select 'Save link as..." from the resulting menu.

If you are unable to download the claim form or you are having trouble filling it out and returning it to us we can send you a physical version in the post. To request this you can email us at or call us on 0117 917 1698.

Remember to provide sufficient information to us as soon as possible, while your memories are still fresh and clear, when completing the claim form and documenting relevant information. If we do not have sufficient information, we may need to contact you for further details to reach a decision regarding your claim.

Step 2 - Accepting your claim

Once we receive your claim form, we will process it and make a decision whether your claim is accepted under the terms and conditions of your policy. If your claim is accepted, we will then send it to one of our approved independent solicitors to assess further.

However, if your claim isn't accepted, we will explain to you all the reasons why and your available options, such as a reduced rate with one of our solicitors or suggesting you contact our free legal or tax advice line for more information.

Step 3 - Solicitor assessment

Once your claim has been accepted and passed on to one of our approved independent solicitors, they will assess your claim. If your claim doesn't meet the policy criteria, then your cover will be withdrawn. We will discuss all the options available to you if this happens.

On the other hand if your claim continues to meet the policy criteria your solicitor will seek the best possible outcome for your claim.

Step 4 - Your outcome

Your solicitor will always try to seek the best outcome for your claim. It could be that your claim will be taken to mediation, or that it will be settled out of court. In some cases, the claim will proceed through the legal process and end up going to court.

If the claim goes to court, do not worry, we will support you throughout the entire process. If at any point you would like to discuss your claim, you can give us a call on:
0117 917 1698.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any questions for us? Below are the answers to the most common questions we are asked.

What is the claim process like?

The first thing that we need from you is a fully completed claims form and any very relevant information. The claim form can either be downloaded from our website or you can email, call or write to us to request one. The claim form is available as either an editable PDF or a paper copy. There are a number of ways that you can send the claim form to us - by email, post or fax.

We will then look to send a detailed response to you within five working days, either confirming the position on cover, or requesting further information if required. You should not delay in making a claim and to do so could compromise your cover as well as your legal position.

How do the legal and tax advice lines work?

The legal and tax advice-line is provided as an automatic benefit of your ARAG cover. For commercial policyholders, it provides advice related to your business and, for individuals, it provides advice on personal matters. It is available for all ARAG insureds to access 24/7, 365 days per annum. Although you may not immediately get to speak with an Advisor, you will ordinarily be called back within an hour of making the call, or at a mutually agreed timeframe, by a legally qualified expert in the field that your enquiry relates to.

The service can advise on any EU-wide legal matter or UK tax matter, irrespective of whether the subject-matter is covered by the policy held with ARAG.

There is no limit on the amount of times you call the helpline or the amount of time per call, but we do operate a fair use policy for unduly excessive use.

Who will help me with my claim?

i) For Legal Claims. The staff in the Claims Department are here to assess cover, arrange suitable representation for you if cover is available, and ensure that the claim is appropriately supervised thereafter. The legal work itself however will be dealt with by a law firm we appoint on your behalf. At conclusion of your case, if costs cannot be recovered from an unsuccessful opponent, then the Handler allocated to your claim will ensure that your appointed solicitor's costs are paid in accordance with policy terms and conditions.

ii) For Tax and VAT Claims. Whilst the process is broadly the same as for legal claims, we will instead appoint an advisor who specialises in tax or VAT as appropriate. If your usual accountant has in-depth knowledge of your tax records which may assist in an investigation by HMRC, we may agree to their appointment, though this will be arranged via specialist tax consultants that we retain.

What is meant by reasonable prospects of success?

Most cover under a legal expenses insurance policy is subject to a requirement that the claim has a reasonable prospect of success. This applies to whether you are pursuing or defending the claim, and means that the appointed lawyer must believe that your claim is more likely than not to succeed; by more likely than not, we mean better than 50%. If the lawyer believes that your claim has only a 50% chance or less, then further cover will not be available, but any costs incurred by us until the time of that assessment will normally be met by us.

If there is disagreement over the lawyer's assessment, we can look to obtain a further opinion from a barrister; sometimes (depending on the circumstances), it will need to be you that funds that further opinion, but if it supports you, we will normally then reimburse the cost and reinstate cover.

How could mediation help resolve my claim?

Mediation is an alternative way for resolving legal disputes, and despite being increasingly common, many people new to the litigation process will be unfamiliar with what the process means. There are various forms of mediation and sometimes the mediator will be legally qualified and sometimes they won't be. The purpose of the mediation is to try and resolve the dispute in an informal and far less adversarial manner than happens in Court*.

Again, unlike in Court, you will not usually meet your opponent during the mediation, and the role of the mediator (who is neutral) is to try and find some common ground between the parties which can resolve the dispute. If an agreement can be reached between the parties, then this can be incorporated into a legally binding document. Mediation can take a lot of the stress and time out of the dispute resolution process as well as providing an opportunity to walk away with a compromise that gives certainty rather than run the gauntlet with the Court process. Whilst not compulsory to attend mediation, besides the advantages listed, Courts are increasingly penalising parties who refuse to participate in the process.

*by Court, we also include Tribunal.

Why should I use a preferred solicitor?

ARAG has a panel of lawyers covering the UK and indeed, further including the EU. These firms are subject to vetting prior to being added to the panel, and then subject to an ongoing auditing and quality-control process. This ensures that our policyholders receive great service at a more competitive price than is available on the open market – a "win-win" situation.

EU legislation requires us to allow an insured freedom to choose their own solicitor in certain circumstances, but we will otherwise insist on a panel lawyer being appointed. When the right to choose your own solicitor is triggered, we would always urge you to consider exercising this very carefully, since we cannot guarantee the service from that lawyer in the same way we can with a panel firm, and costs may also be greater, and it is not unusual for those additional costs to be the insured's responsibility.

Will I have to go to Court?

It is important to appreciate that making a claim under the policy almost always carries with it, a risk that you will have to go to Court (or tribunal) if the matter cannot be resolved amicably.

Whilst we will always encourage other options, in particular, by making settlement offers or attending mediation where appropriate, success is dependent on both parties being willing to compromise to the point where agreement can be reached. If it cannot be, then attendance at Court (or Tribunal) may be the only option. You should therefore always appreciate this is a possibility prior to making a claim under the policy.

What help is available if my claim is declined?

If your claim is not something covered by the policy, we will still try to help in some way if we can, normally by offering the services of panel lawyer for some limited free advice followed by discounted rates (funded by you) or referral to the legal advice line.

How do I raise a complaint?

You can either write to us at 9 Whiteladies Road, Bristol, BS8 1NN, or email or call our Customer Relations team on 0117 917 1561.

We have a strict complaints process, although the procedure we shall follow can vary depending on which particular underwriter your cover was issued through. For full details regarding complaints, please click here: Making a Complaint

What if I have more than one claim in a year?

There is no specific limit on the number of claims you can make on the policy, and any claim on your legal insurance would not count for the purposes of no claims bonus or similar against the main insurance policy that you may have bought your ARAG cover with. As with use of the legal and tax helpline though, we do reserve the right to cancel the policy or refuse to invite renewal of it if there are an excessive number of claims.