Reading through Goggle groups again, I came across a post from a person who wants to switch insurance companies but is afraid that he will get a higher price at renewal. Do insurance companies bait and switch to get you to change to their company?
The short answer is no. Insurance rates are approved, in most states, by the Department of Insurance. The insurance company submits its underwriting criteria and a list of rates. You call the company and they figure out where you fit in. You get that rate. Your rate may go up if they have a rate increase approved by the Department of Insurance or if you are involved in an at fault accident or receive a ticket. But there is no bait and switch.
However, when should you change insurance companies? Financially, it makes the most sense to change your insurance company at renewal. If you change before that, the premium refund is calculated in the insurance companies favor. This is one reason, but not the only reason, some carriers off a 12 month policy – if you change before the 12 months, they come out ahead. Usually, you should change companies at the renewal, but you may want to change coverages at any time – especially if your circumstances dictate it.