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Arguably one of your most valuable (or at least most used) possessions, it's important to negotiate a phone contract that does exactly what you need it to do. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are negotiating your next deal.

1. Understand your power as the consumer

Let’s look at this for what it is; you are signing up for at least a year (more likely two) long contract from which the phone company is going to be guaranteed steady income. They don’t want you to take your business elsewhere, so make your stand. If you see a better deal with another company, or with a better model of phone, then don’t be afraid to go to the company and negotiate. Tell them you want a better deal because their competitor is offering one, and nine times out of ten they will absolutely be ready to negotiate with you. This also goes if you have been with the company for a substantial amount of time. If you ask for a loyalty discount then most phone companies will be willing to negotiate a certain amount to keep your custom.

2. Always get an upgrade agreement

Whilst this is usually built into most contracts these days, it's worth making sure. Especially if you get your contract directly from a big phone company. However, if you’re going to buy through a third party retailer as opposed to the phone company itself then be careful. Even though sometimes their monthly tariffs look more attractive, they as a rule do not offer an early handset upgrade. This can mean that you actually end up paying more over the length of the contract and are stuck with an older model phone because you cannot change it.

3. Don't buy phone insurance

This may sound counterintuitive, but the reasoning is solid. It's likely that you already have contents insurance for your belongings. It can be much more cost effective to put your phone on this instead of taking out separate phone insurance. If you do have to claim it might push up your premium slightly when you come up for renewal, but if you offset the chances of having to claim, against the price of phone insurance then it’s usually the much better choice. Phone insurance is typically much more expensive, and may still not cover you for things like water damage, or theft whilst you’ve left it unattended. Furthermore, some insurance providers won’t replace your phone if it’s damaged or lost. Some will attempt to repair it or give you a refurbished phone as a replacement. Sometimes they will even provide you with a downgraded handset as a replacement. All this can mean that in reality, you’re paying a large extra monthly cost for no good reason at all.

4. Do your own research

Remember that sales people work on a commission basis. This means that whilst they are knowledgeable and helpful, there is also a real incentive for them to sell you the phone that makes them the most money, not necessarily the phone that is best suited for you. Because of this, make sure you do your research before you go into store. If you are torn between two or three models then use their expertise to help you decide, but don't be drawn into a two year phone contract with a model you did not want to buy in the first place.