The insurance rate you're offered is based on several factors that comprise how much of a "risk" you pose to the company -- that is, how likely it is that you'll be making a claim. The more of a risk you pose, the higher your rate will be. Companies use data such as your age, sex, driving record, criminal record, credit rating and where you live to determine your risk. Are you elderly or a teen (groups known for having a lot of fender benders)? You'll pay more. Gotten a lot of speeding tickets? Ditto. Live in the middle of a high-crime district, where car thefts in particular are rampant? Out of luck again. Shop around to see which insurance company offers you the most favorable rate [source: Cars Direct].