Breaking down is an unpleasant experience for both driver and passenger - particularly if you're a long way from your destination.

Some motorists decide not to take out breakdown cover - a decision they may regret if their car loses power.

But can you take out cover after you've broken down?

Can you take out breakdown cover after you've broken down?

Almost invariably, insurance policies (car insurance, home insurance, travel insurance etc.) work on the basis that you take out cover before an unwanted event takes place - otherwise they would be open to fraudulent claims.

But with car breakdown insurance, you may be able to take out cover after a breakdown.


Do your passengers have breakdown cover?

Before looking for a vehicle recovery service that is willing to offer immediate breakdown cover, if travelling with others, check that none of your passengers already have a personal breakdown policy that you could be recovered within.

Personal breakdown cover provides UK roadside assistance and recovery for the policyholder in any vehicle they are travelling in.

If no one has a suitable breakdown cover policy in place, then do not worry. It is possible to still arrange for assistance from a vehicle recovery service… 


Instant breakdown cover

Instant cover means you can call a breakdown service provider and set up coverage after a breakdown to enable immediate breakdown cover. However, they will almost certainly charge you a one-off fee on top of the annual membership cost.

This may still be cheaper than calling a local garage, particularly if your car needs to be towed away.

Instant cover means you'll get the help you need straight away and cover for the next 12 months.


Need help immediately?

If you need roadside assistance right now and don’t have a breakdown policy, call Start Rescue on 01206 655000 for our Pay on Use service.

You can also register your breakdown via our app.


Making repairs yourself and staying safe

For less complicated mechanical problems, you may be able to find a solution yourself.

For example, if you find that your car is overheating, you can turn on your heater and blower, which will transfer heat from the engine, until you can find a safe place to stop.

For any repair you should ensure you are parked/stopped in a safe location - eg. changing a punctured tyre on the hard shoulder of a motorway is not considered safe, particularly if the wheel is on the traffic side. You should also take precautions such as using a breakdown warning triangle and wearing a hi-viz vest.

Simpler fixes might also include:

  • a dropped exhaust - you might be able to re-attach it with a coat-hanger or similar rigid metal item to help you make only a short journey to a repairer
  • blown radiator hose - strong self-sealing tape,
  • or a flat battery - jump start your car with jump leads.

Note Start Rescue is not recommending you attempt any fixes that put your vehicle, you or your passengers at risk. Always check your vehicle’s handbook and always consider your welfare, as well as the welfare of your passengers and other road users. If you are in any doubt, always call for assistance.


Arranging breakdown recovery

Issues with time constraints, frustrated passengers, or being stranded far from home or at night, means calling a breakdown vehicle recovery service could be the quickest and least stressful option.


Why choose Start Rescue?

As well as benefitting from vehicle recovery provision from a Which? Recommended Provider for Breakdown Services, Start Rescue customers can also take advantage of other membership benefits such as exclusive rates on car insurance and discounts on car servicing, airport parking and travel insurance.


Compare breakdown cover

Wondering how Start Rescue stacks up compared to other breakdown providers?

Compare Start Rescue’s breakdown recovery provisions with cover provided by Green Flag, The AA and RAC.


Other important driving documentation

Unlike breakdown cover, car insurance and car tax (unless exempt) are compulsory.

You should always ensure that your car tax is valid and that your car insurance is up to date.