Do Parking Tickets Affect Insurance?
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A parking ticket usually doesn’t affect your insurance unless you don’t pay it. Unpaid parking tickets could go to collections or cause a license suspension.
Many factors affect insurance rates, but nonmoving violations like parking tickets are usually not one of them. Tickets that go unpaid, however, could cause consequences that can affect your car insurance costs. Understanding how a parking ticket differs from other traffic violations and how to avoid them can prevent rate increases.
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Parking Tickets vs. Traffic Violations
A parking ticket is considered a nonmoving violation because the car is parked and stationary when receiving the ticket. Other examples of nonmoving violations include equipment violations, such as a burnt-out taillight, and failing to show proof of insurance. Some states also classify tickets for not wearing a seat belt and driving distracted as nonmoving violations.
A traffic violation, like a speeding ticket, is a moving violation because you receive it while the car is in motion. Moving violations are recorded on your driving record and reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Car insurance companies can view traffic violation convictions attached to your driving record.
Parking tickets usually go against the vehicle’s registration, not your driver’s license. Most municipalities don’t report them to the state’s DMV or the insurance company. Although parking tickets may not show on your driving record, they can have repercussions if you fail to pay them.
How Insurance Companies Determine Rates
Insurance companies use a variety of factors to determine car insurance rates, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I):
- Your age
- Your car insurance history
- Credit score (in most states)
- Your driving and claims history
- Your ZIP code
- The year, make, and model of your car
- The coverage amount and type you choose
- Your vehicle usage
Traffic violations on your driving record and accidents on your claims record will usually influence your insurance rates. Minor traffic tickets, like speeding or running a stop sign, have less effect than significant violations, like a DUI or causing an accident and leaving the scene. The amount your insurance rates could increase depends on the insurance company, the state you live in, and the moving violation conviction you receive.
Parking tickets and other nonmoving violations usually don’t affect your insurance premiums in most states. Check with your state’s DMV to get state-specific information on how violations on your driving record affect your cost of auto insurance.
Do Parking Tickets Directly Affect Insurance Rates?
Parking tickets don’t directly affect your insurance rates like speeding and other moving violations do. But parking tickets can affect insurance differently if you don’t take care of them promptly.
If you have unpaid parking tickets, you could end up with a block on your vehicle’s registration renewal. When your registration comes up for renewal, you won’t be able to renew without paying off your fines (and any fees that might come along with it). Driving with an expired registration can lead to a citation, fine, points on your record, or even your car getting impounded.
Pay your parking tickets to avoid the DMV suspending your license. The DMV will report a license suspension to your insurance company, which could choose to cancel or not renew your policy. On top of that, if you get caught driving on a suspended license, you could have a moving violation conviction, which can raise your insurance premium.
Avoiding paying a parking ticket can also affect your credit score. The issuer could send your unpaid debt to collections, increasing the fees you owe and potentially affecting your insurance rates. Only a few states limit credit scoring as rating factors, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC):
How to Avoid Parking Tickets
Although paying your parking tickets on time typically won’t impact your car insurance rates, they cost money and time if you have to go to court. Avoiding parking tickets can keep your budget intact and prevent any adverse effects on your insurance premiums.
The International Parking Institute (IPI) provides these tips for drivers to avoid parking tickets:
- Pay for parking. Whether there’s a parking meter or pay station to use your credit card or smartphone for payment, always pay for parking. Putting on your flashers to run inside and pick up a carryout order can attract parking enforcement, increasing your chances of a ticket.
- Keep quarters in the car. Most cities offer multiple ways to pay for parking, but you might end up in an area with only metered parking. Having quarters in the car can ensure you’ll be ready to pay regardless of the payment method.
- Park in a garage. If you plan on spending more than a few hours in the area, consider parking in a garage instead. While it can be more expensive, it can help prevent parking tickets.
- Use public transport. Many cities are walkable or offer public transportation options, like a bus or train. Taking mass transit can help you avoid a parking ticket and save you gas costs and time finding a parking spot.
- Check for signage and other no-parking signals. Before exiting your car, check for signs you can’t park where you are, such as No Parking signs, fire hydrants, accessible parking signs, and crosswalks.
What to Do If You Receive a Parking Ticket
If you receive a parking ticket, there are a few ways to navigate the process:
- Move your car. You might think that you’re safe after getting a parking ticket. But the right thing to do is to move your car immediately, according to ParkMobile. If you don’t, you could face steeper penalties or fines.
- Review the ticket. Once you’re home or have reached your destination, review the ticket carefully. Examine it for mistakes, like an inaccurate name, vehicle, location, or time. Note the ticket cost and deadline to pay it.
- Understand local laws and regulations. Knowing your local traffic laws can help you get the ticket dismissed. For instance, if there is a handwritten alteration, it could be grounds for dismissal.
- Contest or appeal. If you find a discrepancy or plan to contest or appeal the ticket, gather evidence and pick a court date (if possible). Take photos of missing, faded, or obstructed parking signs if applicable. Be prepared for court by pointing out mistakes and evidence to get your ticket reduced or dismissed.
- Pay the parking ticket. If the ticket appears accurate and the signage is clear, you might not have a case for dismissal. The best action is to pay the ticket before the deadline to avoid additional fees or other measures.
Parking Tickets and Your Insurance: FAQs
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how parking tickets affect car insurance.
How does getting a parking ticket affect your driving record?
A parking ticket usually doesn’t affect your driving record. However, not paying parking tickets could cause the DMV to suspend your license or prevent you from renewing it.
What other factors affect insurance rates?
Besides your driving record, your claims history, age, gender, and credit score are other factors that can affect insurance rates. Your vehicle type, coverage choices, limits, and deductibles will also impact your cost of car insurance.
Can you lose your license for parking tickets?
The consequences of unpaid parking tickets and getting multiple tickets differ by jurisdiction. You could lose your license if you don’t pay your parking tickets or are a repeat offender. You can find state-specific information on the effects of parking tickets by contacting your state’s DMV.
Do parking tickets affect your credit?
Parking tickets can affect your credit if you don’t pay them and the issuer sends them to a debt collector. If you pay your parking tickets on time, they usually won’t go on your credit report or affect your credit score.
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