Shop around for insurance, energy and phones

A little while back, someone said to me, “I’m too old to change my gas supplier”.

Sadly, loyalty does not pay. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found that insurance firms specifically target loyal customers with big premium increases, knowing they are less likely to switch. And according to Citizens Advice, customers who stay loyal to their mobile, broadband or insurance providers are paying as much as £1,000 a year more than those who shop around. Gas and electric suppliers also rely on the fact that many customers don’t search the markets for cheaper deals, even when their prices are going up.

Guardian Money investigated a home insurance renewal letter sent to a couple in their nineties by one of the major insurers, demanding a 20% increase, to £579. When the couple’s son went to their online site and posed as a new customer, the premium was just £108. A woman in her 70s found that Saga was charging her four times the rate available on a comparison site.

In discussions with my own computer customers I have found numerous examples like this, especially with long-standing customers of some of the biggest names.

To quote just a couple of examples, I recently helped a customer of BT and TalkTalk save more than £700 a year on his phone and internet bill without leaving BT, and a lady who had just reached 80 saved £500 on her car insurance after switching from a broker who ‘always treats me like family’ to a household-name insurer.

It’s not difficult to switch, as long as you have a PC, laptop, phone or tablet with internet access. You can find out more information online before you start, including details of comparison sites and the order to visit them in order to save the most. Realistically, if you can save £200 off your energy bill in twenty minutes, you might decide it’s not worth spending another hour to shave off £12 more, but the sites below will show you how.

Useful sites:

The addresses below will take you directly to some of the comparison sites. They’re in no particular order, except that I find the opera singer marginally more annoying than the meerkats.

Be aware that not all comparison sites include all available options.

If you’re nervous or unsure about doing any of this, give us a ring and we’ll be happy to talk to you about how easy it is and, if you feel you need one, arrange a visit to help you through the first time. Once you’ve done it once, it’s even quicker a year or two down the line.

But, please, do something.

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