Note of caution

SIR My wife and I are counting the cost of omitting to add Legal Protection Insurance to our home insurance policy after recently having to pay compensation and costs to the purchasers of the house we sold to them nearly eight years ago. The dispute with the present owners was over work we had done in 2005 which they claimed was defective.

The summons against us landed on our doormat last May and, despite the fact that the work was completed with a guarantee and installed in good faith, we have still been left picking up a very large bill for legal costs to defend ourselves, plus compensation to the claimants and a proportion of their own legal costs.

We are both left with a sense of shock and injustice at having little option but to settle out of court, particularly since we knew we were innocent and had evidence to prove it.

We had the option of taking it to trial in front of a judge but the legal costs plus another nine months of stress, on top of what we have already had to endure in defending ourselves was too high a price to pay at our age (82). Both my wife and I have recently received treatment for stress-related illnesses, so the thought of having to carry on and go for trial in December was too much to bear, particularly for my wife.

Although we are relieved that the nightmare is almost over, when it is, we will be trying to get back to a normal life; however, we now greatly regret not having paid the few extra pounds for Legal Protection Insurance cover on our house and buildings insurance policy which would have made a huge difference in helping to defend ourselves in this case.

This is a time when many people are struggling financially but for a relatively small extra cost, we would strongly advise ticking the Legal Protection Benefit box when you are renewing your home insurance cover.

Don’t make the mistake, like us, that because you have done everything ‘by the book’ that you will never need it! If what has happened to us happens to you or your loved ones, having “Ticked the box” would go some way to helping them alleviate the stress and worry we have suffered.

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