Breaking down or the car not starting when you really need to get somewhere can be very stressful, and if you don’t have breakdown cover it can be even worse. 

In the event that you do find yourself in need of help but don’t have cover, it’s worth a quick call to your insurance company (or checking the small print on your policy document) as some will include breakdown cover as part of the main insurance package. It may also be worth checking with your bank, as some offer breakdown cover when you open an account.

However, if you find yourself suffering car trouble and you didn’t take out breakdown cover, don’t panic as you can still seek help!

What are the options?

Option 1: Use the motorway emergency telephones

If you breakdown on the motorway, walk to an emergency telephone on your side of the carriageway (follow the arrows on the posts at the back of the hard shoulder) – the telephone is free of charge and connects directly to the Highways Agency or the police. Use these in preference to a mobile phone. If you use a mobile phone, first make sure you have identified your location from the marker posts on the side of the hard shoulder and always face the traffic when you speak on the phone. The number when calling from a mobile is 0300 123 5000. The fees charged for this unplanned service aren’t set but you should expect to pay in excess of £100. 

Option 2: Call a local garage

Another option is to call a local garage. In this case you will probably be charged around £40 for the call out alone, although this can vary depending on the time of year, where you are in the country and how far the garage has to travel to reach you. In addition to this, garages often charge a small fee per mile that you are towed. 

Option 3: Take out on-the-spot cover

The third option would be to join up to a breakdown cover provider on the spot. Again, this can be expensive, anything up to an additional £100 on top of the cover itself, but it will mean you are treated as you would be if you’d had breakdown cover initially and you’ll be covered for the next 12 months too. Your car will be repaired at the side of the road if possible or taken away to a local garage. 

For more information on what to do if you breakdown, why not download’s handy tax disc sized guide here?