Auto insurance rates reflect numerous factors such as your driving record, vehicle type, location, past accidents and even credit. They also reflect the claims from other customers that your company has been paying. That's why it can be hard to pinpoint the reasons for high rates.

Car insurance rates in general have gone up in recent years because of higher car-repair costs, higher medical bills and more accidents overall (many due to distracted driving). But there can be other reasons your bill seems high. Let's take a look at factors that could be making it hard to get cheap car insurance.

Did you buy a different car?

Your vehicle type is a factor in rates, especially if you buy collision and comprehensive insurance. If the car's value is higher than your previous vehicle, it will cost more to replace if it's totaled -- pushing up your premium. Or if you bought a sports car, rates will often be higher simply because insurers get more claims for sports cars.

Check out our list of the cheapest cars to insure.

Did you have a gap in coverage?

A gap in coverage is seen by insurers as a problem that makes you a higher risk. They'll adjust rates accordingly.

Did you cause an accident?

If you recently caused an accident, your car insurance could go up at renewal time. An at-fault accident could affect your rates for three to five years, depending on your state and insurer. Your best solution is to try to keep a clean driving record going forward. You could also compare auto insurance quotes to see if you can get a lower rate from another insurer.

See more about insurance increases after an accident.

Did you get tickets in the last year?

Moving violations such as speeding tickets, running a red light and reckless driving can cause an insurance increase when you renew your policy.

See more about insurance increases after a speeding ticket.

Did you move?

Moving, whether it's across town or across the country, can change your rates. That's because rates can be affected by the frequency of accidents and crime where you live, also known as your "garaging" address.

Do you have poor credit?

Many insurers use credit as a factor when setting rates. They correlate poor credit to a higher chance that you'll make a claim. The practice is banned in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts.

Did you add someone to your auto insurance policy?

Adding a driver can increase your insurance, especially if that person has a poor driving record or is inexperienced behind the wheel. Conversely, adding someone with a good driving record can lower your rates.

If your rates have been affected by a young driver, check out these stories: