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If you are shopping for new car insurance, there are a few things you should know before simply choosing the first auto insurance quote you receive. Though there are many similarities between the products offered by the major insurance carriers, their differences lay with how they rate your policy and what discounts they offer. It is always best to get several car insurance quotes to better weigh your options.

It will also help to know what the major insurance carriers look for when providing you with an auto insurance quote:

1. Geographic location: Each of the major insurance carriers use charts and statistics for every geographic location in the U.S. These charts look at things like average household income, crime rates and even number of claims filed for a particular region. Those people looking for car insurance quotes in an area that has had a large number of claims filed over a period of time may have to pay higher premiums.

2. Driving record: Whenever you get a speeding ticket, a parking fine or some other traffic violation, points get tacked onto your driving record with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The more points you have on your driving record, the higher the premium will be for your car insurance. You can avoid these unnecessary charges by simply obeying the traffic laws set and drive within the speed limit. If you already have points, fear not, going to traffic school or taking a driver's safety course can reduce the number of points on your record giving you better rates on your auto insurance quote.

3. Type of Vehicle: Insurance companies also categorize vehicles by their year, make, model, standard accessories, safety reports and in some cases, whatever personal modifications you have made; such as lights, sounds systems and suspension kits when determining your insurance premium. Someone who drives a brand new sports car is going to pay substantially more than someone driving an older sedan and minivan, for example. Keep this in mind when shopping for a new vehicle. If you simply have to have a sports car, perhaps look at a used model. This may save you a little more money.

4. Gender and Age: Teenage males statistically have more speeding violations and accidents then their female counter parts. And young people, in general, are in more accidents than someone who is middle-aged. For these reasons, insurance companies will charge higher insurance premiums for a younger male driver than for a middle aged woman. At the same time, they will also offer discounts if the young driver has good grades, has completed safety driving courses, or is a member of certain clubs and activities like Boy Scouts.

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