Find out about UKEF export insurance

What it covers, eligibility, how to get a quote and how to apply.

This guide is for exporters and brokers who’ve been unable to get export credit insurance from the private sector.

You may be able to get credit insurance instead from UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government’s export credit agency.

What it covers

UKEF can insure you for up to 95% of potential losses, under an export contract.

For example, if the:

  • buyer fails to pay because they become insolvent
  • contract is terminated early before goods are shipped
  • export cannot be completed due to political events, such as new import restrictions or outbreak of war

UKEF export insurance may help when you cannot get insurance from the private sector. For example, if you’re dealing in:

  • exports to a single buyer
  • small value exports - there’s no minimum amount
  • high-risk markets
  • emerging markets

What’s not covered

It does not cover certain losses.  For example, if you lose money due to non-payment because of an unresolved dispute between you and the buyer.

You’ll usually need to resolve any dispute or get a judgment in your favour before a claim can be considered.

You should also get your own cargo or shipping insurance to protect goods in transit, as this would not be covered.


You must meet the following conditions:

  • you’re exporting from the UK and have an established business base here
  • your buyer is based overseas in a country that UKEF covers
  • at least 20% of the value of your export comes from UK goods or services (the value can include your profit margin)
  • you’re unable to get export insurance from the private sector

You can complete a basic eligibility check if you use the ‘get a quote service’.

Type of exports covered

UKEF export insurance covers most types of business and sectors, as long as you have the relevant export licences (if needed).

If you’re exporting in a ‘high carbon’ sector, you may be able to get cover. However, UKEF will need to carry out extra checks.

UKEF cannot insure exports related to fossil fuel, for example oil or gas extraction.

Which buyer countries are covered

UKEF provides cover based on your buyer and what country they’re located in.

Cover is not based on the country the goods or services are being exported to.

To find out if your buyer is covered, you should:

  1. Find your buyer’s country on the list of countries.

  2. Look for the ‘cash or short term cover’ information to check whether you can get UKEF export insurance for this buyer country.

How many buyers you can insure

A policy will cover you for exports to one buyer.

This can be for:

  • a single export contract with that buyer (with one or more shipments)
  • multiple export contracts with the same buyer

You need a separate policy for each buyer you want to insure.

Amounts you can insure

There are no minimum or maximum amounts that can be covered.

You do not have to insure the full value of your export. You can choose to insure only a proportion of the value.

Get a quote

How you get a quote depends on your type of buyer.

If your buyer is in the private sector

You can get an instant quote online for:

  • a single contract policy for up to 24 months
  • multiple contract policy of 12 months

If you need cover for longer than these time periods, fill in this form instead.

If your buyer is a government or public sector body

You can get a quote by filling in this form.

All quotes are non-binding.

Sample policies

You can view sample policies to decide whether UKEF export insurance is suitable for your export.

How to apply

  1. If you’re eligible, you can make a full application. It’s free to apply.

  2. Underwriters will review your application. They’ll carry out an eligibility and price check based on your company finances and buyer risk.

  3. They’ll let you know if UKEF can provide cover. It usually takes about 1 to 2 weeks to hear back.

Help and support

You can get free help from export finance managers or brokers if you:

  • have questions about export insurance or eligibility
  • need support with the application process

Export finance managers

They work for UKEF and are available in every region in the UK.

Find your nearest export finance manager.


They act as an agent between you and UKEF.

They can also help arrange insurance from companies in the private sector, if you’ve not tried that already.

They receive a 15% fee for providing any successful UKEF policies at no extra cost to you. UKEF will pay their fee out of the premium you pay.

Use our approved broker list to find a broker to help you.

Commission for brokers

UKEF pays a commission to brokers of 15% for any successful policies, up to a maximum of £25,000.

This is at no extra cost to the exporter. UKEF pays the commission out of the exporter’s premium.

Commission is for broking services given to the exporter including:

  • advice on the credit insurance market
  • UKEF’s export insurance
  • continuing support during the life of the policy

UKEF pays the commission when it receives payment from the exporter.

Brokers need to be registered with UKEF to be eligible for commissions. You can register with UKEF by contacting

On a multiple contract policy, UKEF will pay commission each time the exporter pays their premium for a new export sale.

UKEF does not pay fees for introductions.

Published 26 April 2013
Last updated 17 April 2024 + show all updates
  1. Moved 'Sample policies' section to sit above 'How to apply' section.

  2. Changing references of export insurance to credit insurance.

  3. Change to 'Get a quote' section.

  4. 'More information' section updated with information about countries with a horizon of risk of less than 24 months.

  5. Updated to reflect support for credit insurance business with a horizon of risk of less than 24 months in the EU, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the USA.

  6. Change to Security of Information Arrangements

  7. First published.