Money Grouse: Let down by legal expenses cover

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The Independent Online
LEGAL expenses insurance can be costly, and may not always pay out when you want it to.

In 1964 Lancelot Huxley bought a piece of land in Powys on which he built a bungalow. The ground to the rear of his plot was open with a fenced field.

Since his purchase the land has been sold and built on. Trees have been planted within 18 feet of his home. He is concerned that his light has been blocked out: 'If I look out of my kitchen window I cannot see sky, just trees.'

For more than six years he has paid American Express a premium - currently pounds 16 a month - for a legal expenses policy.

Mr Huxley's policy is administered by the Legal Protection Group, a subsidiary of Sun Alliance.

He submitted a request for financial support in the event of a civil dispute with his neighbours.

He says: 'The request was turned down. I do not consider it to be fair and reasonable'.

The Legal Protection Group does not discuss individual cases. It would also not discuss the policy wording generally.

American Express would also not comment on individual cases. An Amex spokesman said: 'When you take out the policies there are guidelines. If it is based on reasonable grounds it will be taken up.'

With any legal expenses policy one of the criteria for a claim being accepted is that it must have a reasonable chance of success. The insurance company is judge and jury in considering that.

But when you have exhausted all complaints channels with the insurer, you can complain to the Insurance Ombudsman.

Write to Money Grouse, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. Please do not send SAEs or original documents as we cannot guarantee to deal with every letter personally.

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