As if the new year doesn’t have enough financial complications, your policies are probably all about to get a big bump. Eek! Medical aid, insurance premiums, rent, gym and phone plans are all on the rise… The only thing that doesn’t want to jump is your salary. Here’s how to deal – and fight back on some of those increases.
How Do I Challenge Annual Increases?
In order to keep their books balanced, insurance companies and service providers adjust tariffs annually in relation to their profits and client portfolio. They also adjust in relation to overall increases in the costs of living and operating (e.g. rising petrol prices).
That said, a lot of service providers bank on you simply accepting the increase and carrying on using their product or service. Many companies would rather negotiate a lower increase than lose a customer entirely. That’s where you can get involved.
Make a list of your providers who are increasing their premiums. Particularly when it comes to insurers (car, house etc), make time to call each provider and try to renegotiate. Ask for a detailed response explaining the re-quote and to include all possible necessary documentation. Come prepared with competitor quotes and, if they are cheaper, make your argument that your new policy is expensive and you’re thinking of moving. They’re normally so keen to have you stay on that they’ll try to reach some sort of agreement.
Can I Negotiate a Rent Increase?
‘Yes, yes you can,’ says Dean Nieuwenhuis, an agent with Seeff Property. ‘Every year there is an increase. If a tenant can’t pay they can negotiate and say, “I can’t pay this, but I can pay this” and then it’s up to the owner and they decide.’ In short: it’s worth letting your landlord know where you stand, and the level of increase you can afford, and see if they’re willing to negotiate.
You’ll have a stronger case if you’re a good tenant. Says Nieuwenhuis: ‘If you’re keeping the property in good condition and the owner sees this, they may say, “I’ll give you this five-percent increase you say you can afford” and we continue because you’re taking care of the property and adding value to it.’
But you need to speak to your landlord in advance. ‘Usually this happens two months before the expiry of the contract. So if the contract expires end of December it’s a good idea to start finding out in October,’ adds Nieuwenhuis.
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