Yes, you surely can avail the NCB if you change your insurance provider at the time of renewing the policy. All you would need to do is producing a proof of the earned NCB from your current insurance provider. You can produce the original copy of your expiring policy and a certification that you haven’t filed any claim for the (expiring) insurance plan. A renewal notice or a letter stating that you’re entitled to the NCB from your previous insurance provider can be a proof for this.
The 12-month policy will generally start on the date that the last car insurance is up for renewal, with short-term cover used to protect the other cars in the interim. For example, if you have one car that needs to be insured from February and another in June, the February car will be insured first but the policy will actually renew in June when both cars are covered. After the last car has been insured for a full 12 months, the policy will renew each year until you choose another policy.
When the premium is not mandated by the government, it is usually derived from the calculations of an actuary, based on statistical data. The premium can vary depending on many factors that are believed to affect the expected cost of future claims. Those factors can include the car characteristics, the coverage selected (deductible, limit, covered perils), the profile of the driver (age, gender, driving history) and the usage of the car (commute to work or not, predicted annual distance driven).
Another important factor in determining car-insurance premiums involves the annual mileage put on the vehicle, and for what reason. Driving to and from work every day at a specified distance, especially in urban areas where common traffic routes are known, presents different risks than how a retiree who does not work any longer may use their vehicle. Common practice has been that this information was provided solely by the insured person, but some insurance providers have started to collect regular odometer readings to verify the risk.
Several jurisdictions have experimented with a "pay-as-you-drive" insurance plan which utilizes either a tracking device in the vehicle or vehicle diagnostics. This would address issues of uninsured motorists by providing additional options and also charge based on the miles (kilometers) driven, which could theoretically increase the efficiency of the insurance, through streamlined collection.