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Watching Your Wallet: Experts say to shop around for the best deals on car insurance and cell phone plans

Even if you think you’re paying a low amount with your long-time provider, NerdWallet says there might be better deals out there

(InvestigateTV) – How often do you stop and look carefully at how much you’re paying for things like car insurance or your cell phone?

Taking just a few minutes to check in with the company and re-evaluate your spending could pay off.

“Now is a good time to shop around and see if you can get a better deal on your insurance,” said Anna Jackson, a personal finance expert with the financial website NerdWallet.

She said it’s as simple as picking up the phone – all you have to do is make a list of insurance companies. Jackson suggested hitting all the big ones like Geico, State Farm, Nationwide and Allstate – but also checking into the smaller car insurance groups.

Take the time to call them up and get a quote, she suggested. However, to save you some time, note that many of these companies offer quotes online.
NerdWallet offers this online comparison tool to get started.

“At NerdWallet we did a study and found that good drivers could save up to $400 if they shop around for better rates,” Jackson said.

She said a lot of people just don’t take the time to look for those savings.

“You just assume maybe the company you’ve had insurance with for a long time is still the best one, and maybe they are, but maybe you can get a better deal elsewhere,” Jackson said.

Do you really need all that cell phone data?

Speaking of picking up the phone, all that data you pay for can be expensive.

“You also want to make sure you’re hitting the sweet spot between the amount of data that you need and the amount of you’re actually paying for,” Jackson said.

A lot of people instantly go for an unlimited data plan because they’re nervous about going over and getting extra charges. But if you don’t use all your data, you are wasting money.

Jackson said it’s worth seeing if a smaller or less expensive data plan may save you. All you have to do is log in to your account and take a look at how much data you use.

“What we recommend is you take a look at your last three months’ worth of data and use that as a sort of guidepost for how much you actually need,” Jackson said.

Is the amount you see typical? If so, and you don’t come close to using all your data, it may be time for a smaller data plan. Plus, must companies allow you to set up alerts to let you know if you come close to “going over” your data plan.

In the end, you might not have to switch carriers or car insurance companies, but doing just a little bit of research could pay off.

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