Do Parking Tickets Affect Or Raise Insurance Costs?
There it is: a tiny piece of paper tucked behind your windshield wipers. Woe is you — it’s a parking ticket! Besides being a total pain in the you-know-what, parking violations can be costly. And the hits just keep coming: Depending on how prone you are to getting tickets (and how quickly you pay them off), there may be consequences for your car insurance rates, too.
Do Parking Tickets Affect Your Insurance?
Lots of people assume that they should expect an insurance rate increase if their driving record changes or they accumulate points on their drivers license. The truth is that parking fines don’t really impact your driving record directly, so any changes to your insurance rates are actually caused by other, related issues — like reckless driving or failing to pay your bills. That’s because your insurance provider will take into account how risky a driver you are to determine if a rate raise is necessary.
A parking ticket here or there won’t make a difference, especially if it’s paid on time. However, if you happen to receive two or more parking tickets within three years, you can expect your rates to increase.
On the bright side, parking tickets aren’t typically tracked to your driving record. They are tied to the vehicle, not the driver. That’s pretty good news for you, unless you’re in the habit of loaning your car out. If a friend or family member gets a parking ticket while driving your car, you are technically responsible for paying the ticket, since the vehicle is registered to you.
What Happens if Parking Tickets Are Left Unpaid?
Parking tickets may affect insurance rates if you fail to pay them. Not only can unpaid parking tickets affect your insurance, but it can also lead to a whole slew of other problems, including:
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Cancellation of your car registration
- An increase in the fine due to late fees
Suspension of Driver’s License
In the case that your driving license is suspended owing to unpaid tickets or violations, you’ll need to visit the DMV as soon as possible to get your license reinstated. Your state may also ask you to file an SR-22, which signals to insurance providers that you are a high-risk driver. A suspended license or SR-22 can impact your auto insurance fees and result in a rise in rates.
Cancellation of Car Registration
Depending on the car insurance laws in your state, cancellation of a car’s registration could also impact your auto insurance rates. Many providers will cancel your insurance as a result of a canceled auto registration.
Penalties and Late Fees
Like anything overdue, parking tickets can incur penalties and fees if they’re not paid on time. While this doesn’t necessarily impact anything insurance-wise, it does hurt your wallet — and no one wants that!
Plus, insurance companies often use your credit score to set your rate and premiums. Any unpaid parking tickets sent to a collection agency can impact your credit or insurance scores which, in turn, may lead to an increase in your insurance rate.
If you receive a parking ticket, your best bet is to handle it quickly. Try to pay the ticket on time, but if you can’t, be sure you can cover the late fee. And if you’re worried about covering costs, there are some options. You could always ask friends or family for help, but you should also look into local options: Many cities or municipalities will assist those in financial need or help with payment plans.
And if you think the ticket was mistakenly given, speak to your local government! You’ll want to have a copy of your ticket and any supporting evidence on hand during that conversation.
Tips for Avoid Parking Tickets
One of the reasons parking tickets are so annoying is because they are mostly avoidable, and they’re always more expensive than you’d like. It’s even possible to get a parking ticket in private lots, such as those run by shopping malls, hospitals, or universities, so it’s important to stay vigilant!
Watch for No-Parking Signs
Steer clear of anything marked ‘No-Parking’. Posted notices are required to be clear and legible, so whenever you park, do a quick scan of the area for any and all signs. Be mindful of the fact that there are also some general areas where it’s illegal to park, such as in front of a fire hydrant or fire station; on a freeway; in a crosswalk; or within a certain distance from railroad tracks. Check your state’s laws to confirm.
You should also avoid parking in areas known for non-moving violations. These traffic violations often occur in busy areas where parking may be difficult to find. While non-moving traffic infractions violate laws, they don’t always lead to demerit points on your driving record. That said, they’re still best to avoid!
Pay for Parking
Although it can feel costly in the moment, paying for parking in a lot can end up saving you money — particularly if you’re someone who gets a lot of tickets.
Monitor Parking Time Limits
Most zones and parking meters have time limits. Check how long you can park your car and set a timer on your phone if you’re prone to forgetting.
Monitor Insurance Changes with Marble
When it comes to insurance, you can never be too careful — especially with regards to your rates. Your provider may have their own rules and regulations when it comes to things like parking tickets, which is why it’s so important to read the fine print.
When you’re updating or renewing your car insurance, make sure to check what counts as a violation with your insurer. And if you’re dissatisfied with your coverage, shop around! We recommend you get at least three quotes from different insurers so that you can find the best policy and coverage for your budget.
Looking for an easy way to research car insurance? Sign up for Marble, where you can shop for quotes, monitor your policies, and earn rewards just for having insurance.