Legal Problems

Legal Problems

A few years ago in British Columbia, “I” bought about $850 worth of stationery—lined sheets, pencils, staplers, etc.—for my business, and put this purchase on my credit card.

It is common to get a call from the credit card company who wants to validate whether an out-of-province purchase is legitimate. But when my VISA provider called, I was surprised for two reasons:

  • First, I’ve never been to BC and therefore could not have purchased anything there, and
  • Second—and this was by far the most surprising—I don’t have a business!

Identity theft

Identity theft has become a real scourge. Horror stories have been piling up in recent years, from petty theft from a bank account after a debit card is cloned to the purchase of a vehicle or even a residence with falsified identification documents.

In my case, it was simple to prove I wasn’t the person who had made these purchases. I was therefore reimbursed quickly and my card changed. However, it is not always this easy. Some people end up spending thousands of dollars to prove they are not responsible!

Most home insurance policies now offer identify theft coverage. The insurer will therefore reimburse the amounts you have paid to recover your identity, such as the costs of issuing new identity documents and of travelling to have them validated.

Two other types of coverage are increasingly available via home insurance: legal assistance and legal insurance.

Legal assistance

Although “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” it is often difficult to fully comprehend our rights and obligations. Fortunately for us, insurers have experts standing by to help us.

Legal assistance makes it possible for you to seek advice from lawyers (members in good standing of the Quebec Bar) by telephone at no cost. You can get informaiton by telephone on almost any legal issue: a legal document you need to obtain or fill out, a hidden defect in your home, an injury your child suffered while at their friend’s house, etc. The lawyer will be able to answer your questions or get you the right information quickly.

However, sometimes we need more than just a lawyers’s opinion. We need their services. For these cases, there’s…

Legal insurance

Knowing the law is a first major step in asserting our rights. Unfortunately, the second step – defending these rights – can be quite costly. A simple consultation with a lawyer can add up to hundreds of dollars in legal fees! Among its other benefits, legal insurance will cover these bills.

For legal insurance to become effective, normally the amount of the lawsuit must exceed the maximum for small claims court. When this is the case, you’ll get the amount indicated on your insurance policy (usually about $5,000) to help pay lawyer, court and other fees. This will certainly take some weight off your shoulders!

Check with your broker to learn about the various products that insurers offer. These are often inexpensive protections that could end up saving you a lot of money and ensure many good nights’ sleep.

Martin Desrochers

/ Tips & Advice