We waste millions by not shopping around for home and car insurance

Advice from the experts at MoneySuperMarket

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Millions of people with car and home insurance are wasting millions of pounds every year by sticking with the same insurer at renewal time.

It's an easy option. But it's not always the best one.

Someone who lets their car insurance roll over with the same firm for a couple of years is typically paying £113 more than they would if they shopped around and bought the most competitive deal.

With home insurance, a policy that is automatically renewed with the existing insurer creeps up by £9. Policyholders could knock and average of £59 off what they're paying for home insurance by starting afresh with another insurer.

Clearly, loyalty doesn't pay!

If you've got car or home insurance, you might remember the letters that pop through your letterbox a few weeks before renewal.

They tell you that everything is taken care of, you don't have to do anything, your insurance is all sorted out for another year.

But what they don't point out is how much more you're paying this year. They're relying on the fact that you'll probably be grateful that someone has taken another chore off your to-do list.

This sort of inertia can really hit you in the wallet, though. If 'auto-renewal' happens year on year, loyal customers can end up paying hundreds of pounds more than they need to, especially if it happens on insurance and home insurance, but how can insurers get away with auto-renewing a policy, seemingly without permission?

The truth is, they actually ask for permission when you first buy a policy from them. But the request is tucked away in the small print – and who reads that?

As part of the deal, they also get you to agree that they can take the premiums from your account via direct debit, as and when the time comes.

To cap it all, they make it as hard as they can for you to get out of an auto-renewal arrangement, hiding away the contact numbers instead of providing a quick and easy way to cancel the automatic renewal process.

As a nation, we spend over £1.3 billion more than we need to on car and home insurance because so many insurance providers renew their customers' policies automatically – that's money we can't afford to waste.

So next time your insurance comes up for renewal, take a few moments to run a quotation on a comparison website. There's a good chance you could find a cheaper deal without compromising the quality of cover – in which case, it would make perfect sense to wave goodbye to your current insurer.