Uninsured loss recovery: what it means, and why you might need it

It's not just a catchy name: uninsured loss recovery covers you for financial losses after an accident that wasn't your fault.
By Team member, 06/02/20203 minutes read

When you make a car insurance claim, there can be a lot of different things that leave you out of pocket. And not all of them will be covered by your car insurance policy.

That’s where uninsured loss recovery comes in. As well as having a cool, catchy name, uninsured loss recovery covers those other expenses. The ones that aren’t covered by your car insurance.

But it only covers you if the accident wasn’t your fault.

A lot of insurers offer it as an add-on to your main policy.

When you might need uninsured loss recovery

When you have an accident that isn’t your fault, you can claim on the other person’s insurance. And that normally covers all the damage to your car.

(Or, if your insurance is comprehensive, you claim on your own policy and your insurer gets it back from the other person’s insurer.)

But there are other ways you can lose out financially, too. Especially if it’s not clear straight away whose fault it is.

Loss of earnings

If you can’t work because of the car accident, uninsured loss recovery can help you recover some of that money.

Maybe you’re an independent contractor (and don’t get sick pay) and an injury from the accident stops you working for a little while. Or even if you just miss an important meeting because of the crash.


Some comprehensive car insurance policies cover your medical expenses, but a lot of them don’t cover more specialised treatment. Stuff like physiotherapy, for example.

If it’s not covered by the NHS, it might cost you. And if you can’t get the insurance policy to cover it, uninsured loss recovery can help out.

Excess payments

This is where it gets a little bit complicated.

If you have a crash, and it’s the other person’s fault, you can claim on their insurance. (Or you claim on your own insurance and your insurer goes and gets the money back.)

If it’s your fault, you have to claim on your own insurance (we’re assuming your insurance is comprehensive, here). When you claim on your own insurance, you have to pay excess.

But it’s not always clear straight away whose fault it is. And while the investigators are doing their thing, trying to figure out who to blame, the other person’s insurance won’t pay out for you.

So you’ll have to claim on your own insurance if you need a payout for repairs straightaway. And that means paying your excess.

But if it then turns out the other person was at fault, your insurer (usually) won’t be able to get your excess back. They’ll just get back the money they paid out from the other person’s insurer. You’ll have to chase after them yourself.

Uninsured loss recovery can help you get your excess back.

Your stuff

Some comprehensive car insurance policies cover the stuff that’s in your car. But a lot of them don’t.

And even if they do, it’s tricky to claim for them after a crash. That’s because it’s hard to prove a) that the stuff is yours, and b) that it was broken or damaged in the crash.

These policies also have limits on how much you can claim for things getting damaged.

Luckily, most uninsured loss recovery policies will protect your stuff - again, as long as it wasn’t your fault.

That includes equipment for work, which is handy if you don’t have “goods in transit” insurance.


If you’re stuck without your car for a bit after a crash that wasn’t your fault, uninsured loss recovery can cover some of the costs - if that’s not included with your car insurance.

That could mean anything from hire cars to bus tickets. Just make sure you keep all your tickets and receipts. Paper trails are in.

Uninsured loss recovery isn’t the same thing as legal expenses

Uninsured loss recovery is there for accidents that aren’t your fault.

“Legal expenses cover”, which is often thrown in with uninsured loss recovery, is there for accidents that are your fault. And it basically covers the cost of going to court if you get sued.

If you’re the person doing the suing, uninsured loss recovery is your friend.

How do you get uninsured loss recovery?

Drivers are usually offered uninsured loss recovery as an optional add-on when they get a new car insurance policy. Although some providers have started throwing it in automatically.

So, make sure you check your current policy to see if you already have it. If not, you can buy it separately - even if you’ve already had a crash. (The industry gives it the exciting name of “After the Event legal expenses cover”, and you’d usually buy it from a solicitor.)

It’ll add a bit to the overall price of your policy. But, legally speaking, you don't have to get it.

Uninsured loss recovery doesn’t cover price rises

Because you’ve made a claim, you’ll have to tell insurance companies about it for the next few years. And they might use that data to bump up your price a bit.

If they do, uninsured loss recovery won’t cover the difference.

Check the small print

Handy as they can be, uninsured loss recovery policies tend to be chock-full of small print. Plus, it’s usually sub-contracted out to another company to actually do the “loss recovery” bit. You can check which company that is by taking a look at your policy docs.

So make sure you read your policy documents and figure out exactly what you are and aren’t covered for before you go ahead and buy a policy.

Team member

Team member

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