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Direct Debit insurance 'con'

The average charge each year levied against Britons choosing to pay for home contents insurance via Direct Debit is £31, a new survey shows.Abbey Home Insurance estimates that British households are paying a total of £290 million per year simply for the convenience of paying their home contents insurance premiums by Direct Debit.An estimated 9.3 million people pay for home insurance by Direct Debit and many are not aware that they are often charged for doing so, with 44 per cent of the 215 home contents policies on the market levying a fee for Direct Debit customers.Average APR on charges for payment by Direct Debit is 19.16 per cent per home insurance policy, with the highest rate charged set at 34.9 per cent. This means that, with the average annual premium for contents insurance at £160 a year, customers are paying an average of £31 a year extra for Direct Debit transactions.Prasad Shastri, Abbey head of insurance marketing, said: "Using Direct Debit to buy home insurance is not a service you should be paying for. There is no point using a competitively priced insurer if they then go and add to your annual bill using back-door methods."A recent study by financial website MoneyExpert discovered that car insurance customers pay as much as £182 extra in fees when they opt to pay their premiums monthly by Direct Debit.Consumers are advised to check that they have the appropriate level of home contents cover and are not being charged high additional amounts to pay their premiums by Direct Debit in order to ensure they have the best rate for the level of cover they require.

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