If I really think about it, I’m pretty sick and tired of a whole lot of my service providers. I wonder if my insurance company is ripping me off. (Probably.)

My bank may be gouging me with service fees. My internet bill sometimes, randomly, shoots through the roof. And, like just about everyone I know, I deeply dislike my phone providers. If it’s time to break up with any one of your service providers, it’s not enough to just be annoyed or frustrated. You need to take a methodical approach to make sure you’re making the right move and that nothing in your life will be disrupted when you switch gears. Here’s a checklist of things to think about when you make a move.

Switching banks

This is the biggest move you’ll make. Before you change, be sure there will be no extra fees for releasing any of your bank accounts or lines of credit. Verify that the new financial institution has a good web site that will allow you to pay your bills and check your balances easily. If you are opening a new savings account, be sure to check the interest rate offered. Also, make sure any automated deposits or expenses are updated and accounted for.

Checklist:

  • all automatic deposits including paycheques and government deposits
  • regular bills (hydro, cable, phone, etc.)
  • automated credit card payments
  • mortgage payments
  • car payments
  • insurance payments
  • automated debt payments (i.e. student loan, line of credit, etc.)
  • investments such as RRSPs, RESPs and TFSAs and their auto payments

Switching phone companies

Ensure your new provider will support your cellphone and everything, including the data plan, suits your needs. When you change, make sure you’re not going to get dinged by any penalties or be forced to change your number. Make sure changing won’t impact your internet or cable service or any bundle discounts.

Checklist:

  • pay the last bill promptly
  • check that your bank lets you pay your bills online
  • make sure the first bills reflect the services you actually subscribed to
  • any deals you’ve been promised are happening

Switching internet providers

This strikes me as a huge one: changing your email address is a major pain. Consider moving to something like Gmail to have a consistent address no matter who offers your service. Again, ensure you’re not going to get dinged for extra charges like installation and be sure you’re getting some sort of great deal for being a new subscriber.

Checklist:

  • make sure any friends or colleagues, even old ones, have your new email address
  • ensure all important email subscriptions get your new address
  • you'll need to change your user name for any web portal or account where you sign with your email
  • make sure the first bills reflect the data plan you actually subscribed to
  • any deals you’ve been promised are happening

Switching cable companies

Everyone’s moving away from traditional cable and into things like Netflix and Apple TV. If you do get rid of cable or switch providers, be sure you’re getting what you truly want and you won’t miss anything.

Checklist:

  • all the TVs in your home will be supported
  • you won’t miss anything big coming up like the Olympics
  • all family members (like kids) won’t miss certain channels and that these folks can actually operate your new system
  • if you bundle your products with one provider, make sure dropping the cable will not affect the other service fees

Switching insurance companies

It’s not that hard to call around and get quotes, but actually switching insurance providers is a lot of work. You often need to have your car assessed, satisfy the provider as to the contents of your home via listing your possessions or taking pictures. You also need to ensure your new provider will cover your unique needs such as an older home, a home office or a vintage car.

Checklist:

  • make sure everyone in the family gets the new proof of insurance
  • keep up to date paperwork in the vehicle
  • your policy covers everything you need it to
  • familiarize yourself with the claim process

Lastly, make detailed notes, be sure you haven’t missed any detail or extra charge, and if it makes sense, don't be afraid to take a chance on trying something new.

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