You're probably quite accustomed to the sound of your own car while driving. Sure, it probably doesn't sound all that different to other cars of the same type, but there's still a sense of familiarity to the noise. This is why it can be a little disconcerting when something sounds a bit off. A strange noise could be nothing, but it could also be the first hint that your car is heading for trouble. Your suspicions might be confirmed when your car abruptly gives up. If this was to happen at all, it would be best if your car refused to start while still at home. What about when it breaks down when you're out and about? Some assistance at the roadside would be helpful. But what about when you don't actually have roadside assistance?
Signing Up On the Spot
Roadside assistance is not like regular insurance⸺some forms of which feature a no-claim period. When you sign up with a roadside assistance provider, you can utilise their services immediately. So if you were to break down, you could simply contact a provider who would dispatch an assistance vehicle, ideally to perform repairs on the spot. The fees involved would vary, but you would generally need to pay your membership fee and your first set of premiums (for whatever period stipulated by the provider). So while the assistance can be immediate, no different to a longstanding customer of the provider, the upfront fees involved can be cost prohibitive.
If you break down without roadside assistance, you could also jump straight onto your smartphone. Look for a company that offers roadside assistance on demand. This is a one-off service, generally with no ongoing membership fees. A mechanic would be dispatched and, again, would ideally be able to perform the necessary repairs on the spot. The availability of such a service can vary, and it really depends on whether the company has any approved mechanics in the area where you happen to have broken down.
Your Existing Insurance
You could also simply contact your insurance provider. While they might not offer standard roadside assistance, they might be able to offer an alternative by dispatching a towing service to retrieve you and your vehicle before transporting you to an approved mechanic for repairs. Whether this is covered by your premiums will depend on the nature of your policy, and it might be that you will need to pay for this yourself before lodging a claim to be reimbursed.
You might not even think of the benefits of roadside assistance until the moment when you actually need it. Even if you're not a member, you should still be able to receive some much-needed assistance at the roadside.