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There's the "Prepaid Legal", and my company offers a "MetLaw" program as a benefit, and I wonder how useful are they, and if there are more?

I'm looking into a program that will cover my needs for personal defense for whatever matters, and dealing with rental properties/small business. The employee MetLaw program obviously doesn't cover the rental/business needs...

Any insights appreciated!

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Be careful when you say "insurance" -- these things are service plans. They provide you with specific services and discounts in exchange for a pre-determined fee. So you pay $299/year and get a will, telephone advice and similar services.

Insurance, like liability insurance, guarantees compensation for specific losses.

You can sometimes pay attorneys a retainer and get some discounts on services. This is only cost effective if you have enough work.

These plans might make sense, depending on what you need.

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As an individual, I am not aware of any insurance you can buy that will cover legal costs for any event that may occur (whether criminal or civil)... I imagine this is because the risk is too difficult to measure and the moral hazard too great.

I do notice you mention rental property/small business needs. If your concern is truly for costs relating to some legal issue that arises out of your professional operations, then Professional liability insurance may be what you are looking for (oftentimes referred to as errors and omissions, or E&O for short). This insurance is specific to whatever business you engage in, however will typically protect you against legal claims (including defense costs) as a result of your business operations. Note however that what is actually covered will be specific to your policy.

As duffbeer703 mentioned, the purpose of insurance is for covering specific losses, i.e., protecting you from legal claims that may arise during the course of business. If you are looking for a solution that will, e.g., provide you a standard set of legal documents (maybe a lease agreement) then you are not in fact looking for insurance, but instead legal services at a fixed rate. Why would an insurance company pay for services both you and it already know you need?

  • I'm not sure professional liability is relevant to me as a landlord... I am looking for something "like a retainer" but at a cheaper cost... – littleadv Oct 7 '11 at 4:40
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I considered the "Prepaid Legal", but instead tried the LegalZoom business legal plan, and found it to be very good. It doesn't have any "Membership" or "New account" fees, you pay each month for the month, and if you prepay for half a year or a year - they throw in a nice discount (15%).

So far I'm subscribed for less than a month, and had 2 attorney consultations and a document review. Although they didn't tell me anything I didn't know already, seems to be very cost-effective considering most people don't have sufficient legal knowledge or the ability to research.

It is, as @duffbeer703 mentioned, not an insurance, and if a legal matter arises that requires representation, their plan has almost no coverage, only discounts (as opposed to "Prepaid legal" plan that on the paper does have some representation). But to have 2-3 attorney consultations for $30 is definitely a bargain.

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