by Aidan Kang, CFA
Senior Writer
UPDATED: January 31, 2022

Do you have an insurance policy now and want to change it? Or maybe you’re okay with your coverage now but an agent is offering you a different policy that’s better?

They sound too convincing and you wonder if you should follow their advice.

Beware! The agent might be trying to twist you.

What Is Insurance Twisting?

Insurance twisting is an unscrupulous practice of insurance agents trying hard to convince you to shift to another insurance policy. They are tricking you into buying that policy when you don’t need it, telling you that it’s better when it’s only going to benefit them.

It’s totally fine for an insurance agent to encourage their clients to get coverage from the provider they represent as long as it will truly benefit the clients. However, when the replacement insurance isn’t going to do a better job, agents try to twist the truth. Hence, the term “twisting.”

You see, insurance agents earn the most from commissions, so a lot of them are tempted to use dodgy tactics to get you to sign up. No wonder insurance gets a bad rap.

Insurance twisting is illegal in most states. In New York, for instance, there’s NY Regulation 60, which regulates life insurance or annuity contract replacements.

There’s also the Unfair Trade Practices Act which prohibits any misrepresentation of insurance policies. Other states have made twisting a criminal offense and it can also be prosecuted under general fraud statutes.

What Are the Signs of Twisting?

Knowing the red flags will help you determine when an insurance agent is trying to deceive you into buying the policy they offer.

Some signs to watch out for:

  • They only tell you the benefits of reduced premiums
  • They don’t go into details of what’s going to happen with your previous coverage if you sign up with the new contract
  • They don’t provide clear documentation of the new policy’s benefits
  • They sound pushy and are trying hard to convince you
  • They show signs of irritation when you ask questions
  • They don’t provide clear answers to your questions
  • They’re rushing you to sign up
  • They’re giving you an unreasonably good offer

How to Prevent Insurance Agents from Twisting You?

Aside from knowing the red flags, you can protect yourself against dodgy insurance twisting by doing the following:

1. Choosing a trust insurance agent

Make sure you work with an agent you’re comfortable with, preferably someone your friends or family referred. Insurance information can be overwhelming, so some agents take advantage of that to twist the facts.

2. Educate yourself

Boost your financial literacy by understanding the different types of insurance policies and how things work. Know your options. When you have basic knowledge of insurance, you can ask the agent the right questions, which will help you make an informed decision.

3. Weigh all the pros and cons

A lot of people don’t check the details and only focus on the premiums they have to pay. If it’s something within their budget, most people would sign up immediately.

However, you could be missing out on potential savings and more comprehensive coverage for a cheaper premium.

So, make sure that you strike a balance between the premiums, deductibles, and coverage level. Read the fine prints, make a side-by-side comparison of products, and weigh all the pros and cons.


There’s nothing wrong when you’re offered genuinely better coverage if that will benefit you.

Unfortunately, some insurance agents would trick you into an insurance replacement that may be lower in premiums but won’t do a better job than your existing one. Know how to spot an insurance twisting so that you won’t fall into deceitful tactics.