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Set, forget, regret: 13 million Aussies paying the lazy tax

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Australians are losing out on thousands of dollars by setting and forgetting their subscriptions and services, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,090 respondents revealed 2 in 3 (67%) Aussies – equivalent to 13.6 million people – have set at least one of their services to auto-renew in the last 12 months.

That's despite more than half (54%) saying they have been slapped with an unexpectedly high bill in the last year.

The services most Aussies are hitting the auto-renewal button on are car insurance (39%), mobile phone plans (36%), and streaming subscriptions (35%).

Gary Ross Hunter, insurance expert at Finder, said it's shocking how many Aussies could be missing out on a better deal.

"Complacency rarely pays off in life, and it's no different with your finances.

"Regularly shopping around and comparing providers at least every 12 months should be second nature – not just when you first get the product.

"Prices can change and differ a lot. Our Finder Awards research found a difference of $1,456 per year between the cheapest and most expensive comprehensive car insurance policy," Hunter said.

One third (33%) of Aussies were vigilant in the last 12 months, comparing their services before renewing.

Baby boomers are the most likely of all generations to compare services before renewing (35%), while gen Z are the least likely to do so (29%).

The research shows 28% of Australians have auto-renewed their home insurance policy in the last year, while 1 in 4 (24%) have done so with their health insurance.

Hunter said now is the time to tackle your expenses.

"Remember, loyalty doesn't pay – the best-value service or policy today might be more expensive when it renews next year.

"You could save hundreds by switching providers.

"It's also a good idea to start a budget if you haven't already. If you don't know where your money is going and how much your essential expenses cost, it's hard to know how much you can save.

"Money management apps like the free Finder app show your income and spending in one place, making it easier to figure out where you can cut down."

Have you auto-renewed any of the following in the last 12 months?
Car insurance39%
Phone plan36%
Streaming services35%
Home insurance28%
Health insurance24%
CTP (Green slip)16%
No, I compared each of these services before renewing in the last 12 months33%
Source: Finder survey of 1,090 Australians, June 2023

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