Time for a financial check? – Cut your broadband, insurance and energy costs

Millions of people pay more than they need to on their household bills. How to get the best deals.

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Many of us feel the pinch at this time of year thanks to Christmas costs and January tax bills, but there are plenty of ways to give your finances a boost.

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A good starting point is to review your outgoings and see if you can make savings by switching to better deals. Here, we look at some of the ways you might be able to cut costs.

Broadband

When did you last change broadband suppliers? If you can’t remember, or it was several years ago, the chances are you’re paying hundreds of pounds every year more than you need to.

According to research by consumer association Which? two in five of customers (40%) who signed up to bundled deals, whereby you get your broadband and telephone from the same provider, and in some cases your TV package as well, have stuck with their supplier for more than 10 years and may be overpaying by huge sums as a result.

For example, Which? found that Sky customers who had not attempted to haggle were paying £1,050 a year on average. In contrast the cheapest combined deal from Sky currently available costs £30 a month or £360 a year, a difference of £690 a year.

Contact your broadband supplier and see if you can negotiate a better deal. You should also compare alternative deals and switch if you if you can save. Mark Pocock, home comms expert at broadband comparison site Broadbandchoices.co.uk said: “The fear of being disconnected has never been more acute, with modern consumers relying on their internet connection for everything from their TV to their heating, but what consumers may not know is that switching can now take hours as opposed to days.”

Energy

More than 40 energy tariffs ended on New Year’s Eve, resulting in an average annual price hike of £183 per year for energy customers. However, it is possible to beat hikes by moving to a different provider.

Victoria Arrington from energyhelpline.com, said: “These 40 price hikes will come as a further blow to consumers’ finances, especially after the excesses of the Christmas period. But customers don’t necessarily need to tighten their belts elsewhere to make their energy affordable – after all, energy is the easiest big bill to switch. On average, people using energyhelpline.com save £226 over the course of a year, some can save hundreds more.”

You don’t have to wait for your current tariff to finish before you switch. Usually suppliers allow you to switch to a new supplier up to 49 days before the tariff end date, with no exit fees.

Insurance

Millions of people continue to pay over the odds for their car and home insurance every year by automatically accepting the renewal quotes offered by their providers.

Simon McCulloch, director at comparison site comparethemarket.com, said: “We estimate that people in the UK are potentially overpaying by more than £2bn a year through auto-renewing motor insurance alone. 62% of people don’t switch their motor insurance provider and that number is even higher for home insurance.”

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When you receive your renewal quote, shop around and see if an alternative provider can offer you a better deal. If they can, go back to your original provider and see if they can undercut the offer you’ve been given. If they can’t do this, switch to the new provider. Always make sure you read the small print of the policy you are buying carefully so you can be certain you have a sufficient level of cover in place.