Uninsured loss

Uninsured loss

Uninsured losses are those items of expense which are not covered by your own insurance policy. They usually crop up after a road accident.

If you have third party cover you only have cover for the damage you do when you are at fault. That means everything else is an uninsured loss. If you have comprehensive cover the uninsured losses will be every expense except the vehicle, subject to payment of any policy excess.Expenses add up after a car or motorcycle accident

Many people think that legal cover or legal expenses insurance is designed to help recover these uninsured losses. That is not the case.

Legal expenses insurance may allow you to recover your uninsured losses as part of a compensation claim, but it does not insure the losses themselves. To be more accurate, I have not come across a genuine policy which allows you to recover uninsured losses of a low value, and I will explain why that is.

Recovery of uninsured losses with the support of legal expenses insurance usually depends on a compensation case being commercially “viable.” Most if not all policies include such a clause and please tell me if you know of one which does not. That means the insurer will usually insist on there being a good chance of legal costs being recovered from the other side. To recover your legal costs from the other side the case must involve an injury worth more than £1,000, or financial losses worth more than £5,000 in the absence of an injury.

This question of commercial viability is one of the very good reasons you are advised to contact us first after an accident. If someone else is to blame we can recover all losses from their insurance company. If you have repaired or replaced your vehicle through your own insurance you will have reduced the commercial viability of your case. Your own insurer may recover its outlay from the insurance company of the person to blame, but you will be left with your excess to pay, plus a dent in your insurance record.

If you are sold legal expenses insurance with the promise of recovering uninsured losses you must demand to see the policy. I will happily read the small print for you as I would be surprised if the policy lift up to the sales message.

Author: Mark Thompson

Personal injury and accident specialist solicitor

46 thoughts on “Uninsured loss”

  1. Our car was hit whilst parked. the other party have admitted fault. our car is now a write off due to the market value (£1300) vs the repair bill (circa £3000). for future knowledge, if we had an agreed valuation, which we would probably have set at around £3-4000, would the insurance company for the other party be obliged to pay out that amount instead of market value?

    1. The value you include in your insurance proposal, is only a guide for your own insurer when setting the premium. Your own fully comprehensive insurer will only pay the market value at write-off, not the figure you inclded in your proposal.
      The same goes for the insurer of a third party vehicle.
      Do not be tempted to underestimate the value of a vehicle, as this will give your insurer grounds to avoid paying a claim.
      The only way to get back what you paid, is to take out GAP insurance. It covers the difference between market value and what you paid for the vehicle. It may particularly appeal to those with finance deals on vehicles. There is a sensible explanation here.

  2. Hi Mark
    Looking for advice please. Daughter’s car was hit while she was at work. Her car then got dunted into another car. Got a crime reference number from police (and a linked incident number which I assume is for the car her car got pushed into) as the guy was speeding and maybe been drinking. Waiting to get confirmed but her car is looking likely to be a write off in which case she won’t get a courtesy car. She is going abroad for 3 months work in 2 weeks so doesn’t want to buy another car now but this leaves her without a car for 2 weeks – can she claim for 2 weeks car hire?
    Also, even though she wasn’t in the car and so not injured, she has suffered with her mental health over the past few years – she was all excited about working abroad and this incident has made her really upset/crying/distressed and anxious and set her right back. Can she claim for anything here?
    Can she claim for fuel I’m the tank as she’d filled up and with the cost of petrol at the moment…!
    I’ve read previous posts re increased premiums and claiming back her excess if required so will ask about that (we have motor legal protection)
    How about claiming back the remainder of her policy – she still has another 6 months left before renewal but now probably doesn’t have a car.
    She has been advised she won’t lose her no claims unless a third party claims against her – I’m assuming that coz we have a linked incident defence from police, that they would c,aim from the guy that caused it, rather than my daughter?
    That’s probably all for now unless there is anything else you can advise claiming third party for!
    Thank you

    1. The problem in answering such questons is the law and what happens in reality vary. Practic eis dictated by financial needs and timescales and teh inconvenience of enforcing the law.
      In the circumstances you describe, I think a hire car would be reasonable. The problem is, will your daighter hire a car without a guarantee of repayment? The solution is to ask the insurer of the driver to blame to provide a vehicle, suggesting a credit hire vehicle will be arranged if they do not oblige.
      If you want to recover for the fuel, ensure the valuation of the vehicle excludes fuel.
      The law does not compensate for the upset and inconvenience of such an incident. If there were a diagnosis of a psychological or psychiatric condition, that might be a diferent matter.
      Your daughter should ask her own insurer to confirm the effect of the accident on her renewals over the next five years.
      It is worth talking with your daughter’s insurer. They may suspend the policy and start it again when she returns home and drives again.
      A no claims bonus is not a legal concept. It is an insurance sales mechanism intended to promote customer loyalty. How it operates should be explained in the insurance policy.

  3. Hi, can insurance settle a claim and then ask to recover the cost from you? Aren’t insurances suppose to settle a claim ? That’s why we have insurance right? I did not claim to fix my car as I got rid of it.
    Just wondering if they can do this. I’ve never had an insurance seek full payment from me

    1. You need to tell me more, including the type of insurance policy you had on your vehicle.
      Has the insurer put forward its reasons?

  4. I was involved in a accident last September that has been determined as 50/50 fault. My vehicle is an appreciating modeern classic, and was insured up to a maximum amount as defined in the policy schedule. I disputed this with my insurance comapny and currently have an FoS compliant underway as the schedule value is about £5500 less than a conservative current value. To be clear, I was unknowingly under-insured and I did not undervalue the vehicle in order to influence the premiums. My insurance comapny has since paid out at the schedule value, minus salvage costs and my excess, which was £250. My question is, would the difference between the current market value and the paid out value (i.e. about £5500) constitute an uninsured loss, and if so, would I be able to pursue the 3rd party’s insurance company for 50% of this plus 50% of my excess (i.e. £125), or would the difference in insured vs actual value not be considered an unisured loss. My insurance company seemed to think that it would be claimable, but that I would need to do this independantly. I’m seeking impartial advice before deciding on a course of action. Many thanks in advance.

    1. You can recover your uninsured losses and, in addition, you could recover the outlay of your insurance company. Recovering the outlay of your insurer may reduce your future premiums, so ask the question.
      Insurance companies tend to pay for the car they insure and avoid expensive squabbles with other insurers.
      Think hard about how you are going to prove the value of the car. Obtain the valuation your insurer relied on and then supplement it with information about other similar vehicles.

  5. Sorry for confusion. The driver of the other vehicle is now claiming uninsured losses against me. I guess this means that the initial accident went down as my fault? I’m just not sure what uninsured losses he can claim for? I have pictures to show the damage was cosmetic and both cars were driveable after the incident. He was on holiday and I was on my way to work.

    1. Send the claim to your insurer. The insurance on your vehicle covers your liability, so use the insurer.
      It is tempting to think you can deal with such a claim yourself, but your insurer already knows of the accident, so the damage, in terms of your renewal premium, is already done.

  6. Any advice would be greatly received. I had an accident at the start of August’. The car I was driving I didn’t own at the time but was covered third party through my main policy. I passed all necessary information to insurers and left it with them. I have heard nothing for 4 months so assumed that the accident went down as 50/50. However this morning I have received a letter from an insurance company stating that they have obtained my details from the DVLA and are pursuing an uninsured loss claim. Could you help me understand what all of this means please? I was under the impression that the insurers would have settled this matter! Neither car was a write off and the accident was minimal with no recorded injuries etc. I’m just confused as to why I have received this letter and what would be the next best step for me to take. Thanks.

    1. Your own vehicle insurer is not your representative, so will not conduct a claim on your behalf.
      I am afraid your question is not clear. Who is claiming against who?

  7. hi Mark

    So was in a non fault accident end of June 3rd party admitted liability and his insurance contacted me and are now sorting everything. I notified my own insurance too . Already my insurance have increased my premium clearly this increase will effect my insurance premium for a few years can this increase be claimed as an uninsured loss and how do i word it to the 3rd party insurance.

    Also due to unprecedented times(covid 19) finding a suitable replacement vehicle is proving difficult. The 3rd party have given me market value for my car but since receiving the funds prices seam to have jumped up.im currently in a hire vehicle that the 3rd party supplied what is deemed reasonable time due to the above and current covid pandemic. I am doing everything I can to source a car but due to covid and my injury(from accident) travelling id difficult.

    I was injured in the accident Lower back left shoulder and neck nothing major but uncomfortable and painful due to covid the 3rd party insurer physiotherapy people are not open so my pain and suffering is been prolonged will this count in my injury claim how long does a personal injury claim take.

    Have I made a mistake in allowing the 3rd party to handle things it ha been 5 weeks now . Can I instruct anyone else to act on my behalf at this stage

    Any guidance or help would be great

    Thanks in advance

    1. An accident will increase your insurance premium, regardless of fault. A claim paid by your own insurer will increase your premium even more, so dealing direct with the third party for your vehicle makes sense.
      You could ask your own insurer to set out the premium increase, both now and in the future, and claim it from the third party. You may just find a visit to a comparison website will produce a cheper premium than you were paying in the first place.
      I would explain your difficulty in sourcing a vehicle to the third party insurer. There are insurers and outfits which will source a vehicle for you. If that option appeals, ask if they can help. Remember, you are being paid for the value of the vehicle at the date of the accident, not at the time you bought it.
      You can represent yourself in an injury claim and deal direct with the third party insurer. You may have some form of legal cover with your vehicle insurance. The important point to check is that you will not have to pay a success fee from your compensation. In the wider personal injury market, you will do well to find a solicitor who will not charge you a success fee.

  8. Yeah looks like they acting on my behalf as they said it was necessary for this to be done.
    Have a feeling im going to be with a bill from them, which im not thrilled about

    1. You ought to check. They may come as part of a legal expenses insurance package, but even then check if there is a fee.
      The financial deal with your solicitors must be made clear to you.

  9. So i have claimed on the at fault drivers insurance and still waiting for a report for the damages to my car to be sent.
    The letter for uninsured losses is from a solicitors company on behalf of the at faults drivers insurance.
    I wasnt injured as was not in the car, my car was parked outside and i was in my home.
    Its all abit over my head, with all the legal stuff, and i dont want to pay anything out as this is not my fault. Any more advice on this would be great thanks

    1. I would make sure the solicitors are acting for the at fault driver, as they might be offering to act for you in return for payment from you.

  10. Can someone please advise, never had to do anything like this before.
    Hi im looking for some advice, after a car crashed into my parked car.(just last week, boy racer not concentrating on the road!) It looks like it is all going through the at fault drivers insurance. But ive had a letter and legal document through the post for claiming for losses after the accident. I wasnt in the accident as i was not in the car at the time, i was in my house, so not injured etc… Just waiting for a report on my car etc….now. What should i do?? Do i cancel this claim for losses. I need help?!

    1. It sounds like you have a good claim for the damage to your vehicle and any financial loss which that causes. You should claim direct from the insurere of the negligent driver, not from your own insurer.
      You say you have a letter about claiming losses. Who is this from?

  11. I have recently been told I am liable to pay the costs as was driving my partners car on my fully comp insurance as third party, however did not realise it covers everyone except your partners car!! I am now footing the costs of the written off car in front of me! Technically if my insurance is not paying out anything and I am, is the written off car now mine?? I understand when this happens usually the insurance will pay the value of the car, the owners get the chance to buy it back if it’s still drivable and legal to drive, however I’ve just been told this is how much you have to pay!!! No quotes, no paperwork etc

    1. If the accidnet was your fault, then you are personally liable for the the damage you caused. That is way as drivers, we should be insured.
      If your partner arranged insurance on his vehicle, that insurer should deal with a claim made by a third party, even if that insurance does not cover you. The insurer may then come after you.
      I wonder if this is a relatively low value claim and an insurance claim is being avoided.
      I do not see how the damaged car will ever become yours. You will be compensating the owner by paying the market value of the car, less its scrap value. The car does not become yours, as you are paying compensation to its owner for their financial loss, not buying their car. If it was your car which was written off, you can sometimes do a deal with your own insurer.

  12. Hi Mark
    My nephew car was hit whilst parked. It was a write off. He went through his own insurers as he had a hire car when the third party insurers wouldn’t provide him with one. His insurance company has valued his car at £700. However, he paid insurance monthly so they have taken the remainder of the premium from the settlement leaving him with £100. Is there any way we can claim this from the 3rd party as it seems unfair that through no fault of his own he has no money left to buy a car!
    His insurers have said they will keep the policy live for 3weeks but then will cancel it so he is left with nothing.

    1. Your nephew should check if he paid for legal expenses insurance or legal cover within his insurance policy. Such a service may be able to help.
      The money involved is not great, so if a claim is made to the third party, it is unlikely your nephew can recover his legal costs. That means he will struggle to find someone to represent him. It also means a legal expenses insurer has grounds to decline to help.
      He should make a claim direct to the third party and seek to recover the payments made by his own insurance company, known as their outlay, plus the expenses and losses not already recovered.
      One loss which many people miss, is being involved in an accident increases your insurance premium, even if the accident is not your fault. He should ask his insurer what increase the accident has had on his premium, with and without the claim made on his own policy. Ask for how many years that increase will apply and claim for each year.

  13. Hi,
    I had an accident a few months ago. The other driver was liable. My car was written off. I am now trying to recover the cost of the tow bar which I paid £1200 to have fitted two years ago as an uninsured loss from this other insurance company. They are only offering me £350 due to depreciation. Is this fair considering I will have to pay £1200 to have the same tow bar fitted to a replacement vehicle?
    Thanks for any advice you may be able to offer.

    1. You can only claim the value of the item at the time of the accident, essentially the second hand value of an item. If you actually pay the price for a similar tow bar to be fitted to the replacement vehicle, that can be paid. A possibly cheaper alternative, might be to remove the tow bar from your vehicle and have it fitted to the replacement. That cost can be recovered.

  14. Hi Mark.

    I was recently in a crash where the I am an innocent third party. The other side has admitted fault and I have been dealing with theit insurers. My car has been written off and I want to claim for uninsured losses but I’m not sure if I have a case.

    I have had approx 2 days off work, spent at least 4hrs on the phone speaking to various departments and the hire car I was given is not as economical as my old car. I cover a lot of miles in my commute and estimate that for every 200 miles covered I’m spending and extra 20 pounds on fuel. Are these the sort of things I can claim for?

    1. Everything you identify can be claimed as a loss, with the exception of your time in handling the claim. If handling the claim has meant loss of work, or particular expense, then it should be included, but it is not usually recovered.
      You must present your case in a logical and reasonable manner. For example, you cannot just say one car is more economical than another, you must back it up with data. Make the claim on the basis of the extra cost per mile.
      Put all of your losses together in one calculation, as the insurer will respond positively, if what you present satisfies the test of logical and reasonable.

  15. Why is a excess a uninsured loss if you are not at fault for the claim? Why would this only be able to be claimed through your insurance if you have motor legal protection?

    1. Your own insurance covers only the risks insured. If you have an agreed an excess, your own policy will not cover the excess.
      Motor legal protection, or legal expenses insurance as it is properly called, do not cover your excess. This apparent insurance claims to give you the ability to claim compensation from the party to blame, which would include your excess.
      Legal cover, call it what you will, is often sold giving the impression it insures your uninsured losses. This is not correct. The cover is for the legal costs of recovering those losses if the compensation action goes wrong. I know it is dull, but I suggest you read the policy wording and decide if this is something you want to pay for.
      If you are not to blame, it makes sense to claim all losses from the party to blame. In theory, you will then not have a paid claim on your insurance record, which should keep your premiums down.

  16. Hi Mark,

    I was involved in a non-fault accident on 14th December. The other driver admitted responsibility straight away and my less than 2 year old Audi A1 has been deemed a write off. I’ve been referred to a solicitors by my insurer who will deal with a claim for personal injury and uninsured losses.

    When I bought the car back in December 2016, I paid extra for a service pack (which includes 1 x oil service, 2 x inspection/oil services, 2 x brake fluid changes, 2 x pollen filter changes and 1 x spark plug change) valid until either 17/12/2021 or 50,000 miles as well as Alloy Wheel and Tyre Insurance (valid until December 2019). Obviously I have not been able to benefit from the full terms of either of these and these have not been included within the value of the car as far as I am aware.

    I’m not concerned about getting the entire value of these products back, however I would like the value of the term of the products that I’ve missed out on, i.e. a year for the alloy insurance, and approximately 3 years for the service pack. Is this something that I could claim for as an uninsured loss or do I have to just accept that the money is lost?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. For a written-off vehicle, you are entitled to claim its market value at the time of the accident. Maintenance costs incurred on the written-off vehicle contribute to its market value and cannot be claimed in addition to the vehicle’s market value.
      You make a good point on the insurance policies you bought. I think you should seek the cost which reflects the period of cover you will not be able to use. You should first try to cancel those policies and seek a refund, as you should do with the vehicle insurance.
      One other loss, rarely claimed, is the additional insurance premium you will have to pay, simply because you have been in an accident. It does not matter the accident was not your fault, as simply being involved in an accident is likely to increase your next premium.

  17. Hi Mark

    I was involved in a car accident earlier this year which was my fault. I admitted fault and my insurer settled the claim with the other party and paid out the value of her car.

    Today (some 6m later) I’ve had a letter from the other insurer asking me (personally) to pay 90% of the value of the settlement originally paid to the other party. The costs appear to be over £5,000 for a hire car for around 3 months.

    I’ve read somewhere that any uninsured losses that are claimed have to be ‘reasonable’ and I don’t think this cost for a hire car qualifies as reasonable.

    Is there any standing in law I can challenge this with?

    Thanks in advance for your help

    1. This does not sound right.
      Check with your insurer and ask if the case was settled on a once and for all basis. If so, you cannot be asked for more.
      If the claim was not settled completely, you r insurer should deal with the credit hire claim. That is why you have insurance, to deal with claims by third parties.

  18. Hello Mark.
    I have just successfully claimed against a t/p foreign trucker via the use of a solicitor. The foreign insurer has accepted liability and my car has been deemed a loss. Value agreed. I retain salvage.
    The expected settlement however has not been paid to me in full by the handling solicitor (my solicitor). The cost of generating an independent report for the damage to my vehicle has been with held. My solicitor advising that this inspection fee is not recoverable from the third party insurer. Is this correct?
    I now appear to have been penalised for a necessary action that was brought about by the negligence of another.
    Can you advise please.

  19. hi mark,

    my daughter’ car got hit by a car when she was parked and not even in the car – total loss for which the 3rd party has paid out via my daughter’s insurance company. She is trying to recover un-insured losses by herself. The 3rd party insurers have accepted liability. Should she seek uninsured loss recover from the 3rd party insurer of the other driver?

    1. Yes. You should recover all losses from the insurer of the party to blame, because claiming against your own policy will always increase your premium when the renewal comes around.

  20. I am an HGV driver and my truck and trailer were hit by a foreign driver in a Hire car pulling out of a junction illegally. My HGV was off the road for 6 weeks whilst the right parts were located, but the Third Party insurer is declining to reimburse me for the contracts that were lost as a direct result of the incident. The total value of the lost contracts exceeds £5000, plus travelling to/from repairers, telephone calls etc. The TP insurer is claiming that my last years Report & Accounts does not match the amount claimed, but my business was on the up before the incident and these lost contracts have lost me additional future business from these customers, including some from long standing clients. My legal advisers are saying that the TP insurer is correct, and that in Tort I can only claim my lost Net Profit for the period I was off the road, and not the value of the lost contracts. If the TP vehicle had driven into a Shop, the Shop Insurer would pay Loss of “Gross Profits”, so why is the basis of settlement for a works vehicle based on Net Profit not “Gross Profit?”?

    1. The law which governs compensation is rather like an expenses claim. You are entitled to claim your actual loss, so an employee who lost earnings would claim their net rather than gross pay. You can only recover the profit you would have made, rather than the gross income, from the contracts. In simple terms if your profit from a £1,000 contract would have been £250 then your claim for the loss of such a contract would be £250, not £1,000.

  21. Two weeks ago a car crashed through my wall at 60 mph wrote off two stationery cars and caused substantial damage to property as well. My car was 9 years old with high mileage and I have been given a fair offer on market value, however to replace it will cost several thousand more than the offer, I wondered whether I could take the driver to the small claims court to recover some if this additional cost? I will have to take out a bank loan to buy a new car

    1. You can only claim for the market value of the damaged vehicle I am afraid. You are entitled to the market value at the time of the damage as that is your loss. I appreciate the car cost more to buy than you have received, but that is the extent of your loss. There is no additional claim for the cost of replacement i am afraid.
      The only way to cover replacement cost is to buy gap insurance. Gap insurance insures the gap between purchase cost and market value. I am not recommending it, but it might be an option to consider in the future.

  22. It seems a very common practice for insurance companies to under value cars. A third party took ill at the wheel and collided with my car which was shunted into my daughters car that was parked behind it. Both vehicles have been written off. The first offer for my daughters car was £1960. When challenged we were told maximum due would be £2000. This was subsequently increased to £2325 because I established that the valuation was based on the incorrect specification. Air con, metallic paint and alloy wheels all make a difference!
    My car is a limited edition model only 500 were built for the UK. I have searched the internet and located only 7 vehicles all more than the £5900 I am being offered. I bought the car for £600 more only 7 weeks ago and have spent another £400 on it for service, brake shoes and tyres since then. Of the 7 available only two match the car I purchased because the others have boy racer stripes.

    My uninsured losses as far as I am concerned will be :
    The difference between settlement and replacement cost
    If the replacement is due a service; that cost
    Telephone calls which all seem to be to 0800 numbers but are expensive from mobiles
    I am self employed and have spent hours on the phone so loss of earnings
    None of the replacements are local and journeys to view then collect if necessary. One car is 92 miles away the other 324 miles away. So time and travel expenses.
    A child seat and the manufacturer advises replacement after any kind of impact.

    Do you think I am in a position to recover these losses from the third party insurers

    1. Dealing with your daughters car first I am not surprised you had to negotiate. The value of a car depends on a number of factors including mileage and condition. Insurers rely on the guide price found in the various directories, and they also use valuers. There is usually a difference of opinion as to the condition of the car between valuer and owner, and as you have found you have to squabble. prove your argument by finding examples of very similar vehicles for sale at a higher price. You are still restricted by the overall guidelines, but you aim to be at the top, and an insurer will hope to settle close to the bottom. If an insurer can save £100 on every car it writes off that will produce a very tidy sum.
      Turning then to your car. This sounds like a rare and well loved car. Regardless how strongly you feel about the car your entitlement is to its market value. As you rightly say, its market value is reflected by what it would cost to buy another similar car. The guiding principle is what is reasonable for the vehicle written off as opposed to what you require, and I cannot imagine a Court feeling strongly about “boy racer stripes.” Work recently undertaken cannot be recovered separately, as it goes to the overall value. Just like in the case of your daughter’s car you could instruct your own valuer, but often the cost of the valuer may be more than the difference between you.
      Reasonable expenses are those which are due to the accident, and this can include the expenses involved in finding an alternative vehicle. A Court is unlikely to award compensation to reflect your time, but it would accept telephone calls and travel for inspection an collection of a vehicle. A child seat occupied in an accident should certainly be replaced and I would be surprised if that was not paid. In strict law you should only be entitled to the second hand value of the seat, but if you buy a new one, and I thin that is reasonable, the insurer should pay that replacement cost.
      I have seen some individuals claim for their time spent in dealing with a claim. The mechanism used is to clearly state your reasonable case at the outset, and advise the insurer that you will have to take time off work if the matter cannot be dealt with swiftly, stating your reasonable hourly rate. You can recover earnings loss if you are injured, but in strict law the cost of pursuing your case in law is not recoverable, but it is worth a try.
      Good luck.

  23. my wife was hit by a Hungarian lorry on the wrong side of the road, she was luckerly not badly hurt, however the car is a right of. It loks like the lorry being on the wrong side of the road will cost me about £2200 ( value insurance will pay, and the cost of a similar replacement car) and also my excess (£200)
    Is this some thing we can get back from the lorries company or his insureres ?
    Police Scotland traffic officer told me that had the driver been Britiosh he would have been charged with careless driving. ( I am, and accident was in Scotland)

    1. Have you or the police got the insurance details of the lorry? Have the insurers of the lorry been in touch?
      The fact that a “foreign” vehicle is involved is not the problem it sounds, and if the driver to blame is from a country within the European Union there is a system in place which will help you. The same thing applies if you are driving in a European Union country and are involved in an accident. It is possible to bring your compensation case through a lawyer based in the UK and the case will be put direct to the insurers of the party at fault.

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