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

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What it is
When you need it
ULR vs. legal expenses
How to get ULR

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.

When it comes to buying car insurance, there is a lot to consider. The price, the level of cover and the excess to name but a few. Especially when you are paying a high price for your policy, it makes sense to know exactly what you’re getting for your money.

In this post we are going to explain the different levels of cover you might get with your insurance policy. Understanding what you’re covered for with each type is important in ensuring that you buy the correct policy for your needs, and you won’t be caught out without the right protection in the event of an accident.

(If you're looking to find out more about our car insurance policies, then good news - they're all fully comprehensive!)

What's the legal minimum insurance cover you must have to drive on public roads?

We all know that car insurance is a legal requirement. The minimum insurance cover you must have in the UK is RTA only, which means the minimum cover required by the Road Traffic Act. Very few insurers provide these policies as there isn't a huge difference between this type of policy and third party cover, so we won't talk about these in this post.

The minimum level of cover widely available by standard UK insurers is third party, but there are two other types of car insurance cover, namely third party fire and theft, and comprehensive.

You've probably heard the term fully comprehensive and wonder why that isn’t listed. In fact, fully comprehensive is the term that people commonly use when describing comprehensive insurance policies. Don't worry - although comprehensive is the accurate term used by insurers, they both mean the same thing.

A bit about the law

The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) law means that in the UK, if you are using your car on roads and in public places, it must be insured. Even if you don’t intend to use your car, unless it is declared off road by making a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), you are legally required to insure it.

Anyone who is caught driving uninsured will automatically face a fine or other consequences such as court proceedings, and will also be forced to insure the vehicle. What’s more, if you are the registered keeper, you have a responsibility to ensure the vehicle meets these requirements, and could still be penalised even if you aren’t driving the uninsured car.

Updated on 2nd June 2020

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