Barter For a Bargain: How to Negotiate Your Bills

When it comes to basic bills, such as premiums or utilities, too many people think that the number they’re quoted can’t be changed. On the contrary, there are a number of bills that can, and should, be haggled. How you go about getting a better cost can be tricky but follow these steps and you my save yourself some coin.

Insurance

For something that gets used everyday, insurance rates are often overlooked as negotiable. This is not the case. You should review the premiums you pay for your car, health, home and life at least yearly. Call your agent and ask the following:

  • Can I bundle my insurance (i.e.: home and car) through your company?
  • Can you offer me as a discount for long-term membership?
  • Instead of monthly payment, will I save more by paying for the entire year?
  • Do you give discounts for features like anti-lock brakes, low-mileage, or no accidents?
  • Can I get a renewal discount?

You should also check with your HR department for additional discounts. Companies will sometimes form a partnership and negotiate rates with carriers on behalf of their employees. It never hurts to ask.

Utilities

Water, electricity, Internet, cable, cell phones – these are also services that most of us everyday. And, the costs associated with their use can easily be negotiated, too. For your cable or cell phone, threatening to switch carriers usually grabs the attention of customer service, so start there and see what happens. For your other utilities, the best method for lowering rates is to simply call and ask.

Hospital Visits

Most people assume that the numbers they see on their hospital bills are non-negotiable. This is not the case. Due to fluctuations in costs for everything from medical supplies to treatments, the range of rates for services can vary. When you call or stop by their offices, ask for assistance first, rather than demanding a discount. Arm yourself with knowledge by looking up average prices and be ready to ask questions.

For these, and all other utilities, the old saying about honey and vinegar holds especially true – the best strategy for lowering your bills through negotiation is to be prepared and to be kind.