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Okay. I admit it. This year I let my car insurance policy renew automatically.

It was the first time I’ve let it happen. Normally I put my details into a few price comparison sites and find the cheapest quotes for my needs.

Then I either go with the cheaper quote, or I use it to negotiate a better deal with my current (or another) insurance provider.

This year, though, I had other things on my mind. When the notice of the auto-renewal came through, I had a quick look for alternative quotes – and then got distracted before signing up for a new deal.

It’s not the end of the world. I’m paying about £3 extra per month. My premiums are low anyway – I drive a modest, 10-year-old car with a small engine; I have no points on my licence; and I have 9 years’ worth of no-claims bonuses.

I’m still kicking myself, though. If you don’t look for better deals for all your outgoings, you can quickly end up paying through the nose. I found out the hard way when I didn’t change my gas and electricity supplier for about 8 years. When I did, I found my annual payments had been hundreds of pounds over the odds.

It’s the small increases that do the damage…

I got thinking about auto-renewals when I read this article earlier today. It’s about someone who had a home insurance policy that cost £140.28 for the year. When it came to auto-renewal time, his provider advised him the following year’s premium would be an eye-watering £1621,42 – an increase of over 1,000%!

Of course, he didn’t auto-renew. No-one is going to accept that size of increase – but the fact remains that many of us are willing to auto-renew if the cost only goes up a few pounds per month.

That’s all fine and dandy. But when you add a few pounds to your car insurance, home insurance, broadband and phone service, utilities and so on – it can all add up to a pretty penny!

So, what can you do about it? One simple solution is to put a reminder in your diary or calendar that you’ll see a month before each renewal date. Discipline yourself to get new quotes that day – it only takes a short time to find plenty of options. You’ll thank yourself for it in the long run.

I’ve done it, and I’ve made a resolution not to succumb to ‘auto-renewal laziness’ again. My next job is to make a list of all the online subscriptions and recurring software licences I’ve got. Did I tell you I once spent two years paying for a statistics service that I used only once… I don’t want to make that kind of mistake again!

THP Chartered Accountants

Here at THP Chartered Accountants we can provide your SME with everyday assistance with bookkeeping and accountancyauditing and business management or company restructures and acquisitions.  We offer everything you need to take your start-up or SME forward, with offices in ChelmsfordCheamWansteadSaffron Walden and London City.

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About Ben Locker

Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.

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