Do parking tickets affect your insurance rates?

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Parking tickets are a nuisance more than anything, but if you get more than one or forget to pay them on time, the cost of your parking tickets can add up. Do parking tickets affect insurance? It all depends.

If you’re worried about where else (besides your wallet) a parking ticket record can affect, read on to find out.

When parking tickets affect insurance rates

Parking tickets don’t typically affect your car insurance rates directly. A parking ticket is a non-moving violation. Do parking tickets go on your record? No. Forgetting to feed the meter is not attached to your driver’s license or reported to the DMV or your car insurance company.

Even if you tell your insurer about your parking tickets, your insurance company would not use the information to decide if you’re more likely to get into a car accident or file a car insurance claim.

Do parking tickets raise insurance in any way?

The only remote possibility a parking ticket could affect your insurance premiums would be if you don’t pay your parking tickets and they go into collections. Unpaid parking tickets sent to collections may affect your credit score. Some car insurance companies will review your credit score to decide on whether to insure you, as well as to determine the cost of your car insurance.

As mentioned, this would be a small possibility of how parking tickets could raise your car insurance cost. In states such as California, car insurance companies aren’t allowed to use your credit score as one of the factors that determine the cost of your car insurance. Therefore, unpaid parking tickets would have no effect on your vehicle insurance premiums.

How to avoid letting parking tickets increase insurance rates

If you get a parking ticket, handle the issue right away. Time is of the essence. If you try to avoid the situation or ignore the ticket, it will get more expensive and potentially affect whether you can drive or use your car in the future. Consider these ideas:

  • Send a letter in writing immediately if you feel the ticket was a mistake, explaining why you feel the ticket was wrong. Attach a copy of the ticket, contact information and supporting evidence, such as pictures of the broken meter or of the partially covered or damaged “no parking” sign.
  • Talk to the city about a payment plan or other arrangements if you can’t pay it right away. The city may be able to freeze further late fees so you can catch up on your tickets.
  • Ask family to lend you the money to pay off the tickets. You can then pay your family back without worrying about more late fees and collections.
  • Ask your employer for an advance on your paycheck to pay your parking tickets.

How to prevent parking tickets

The best way to prevent parking tickets is by being careful of where you park. Read signs on the side of the street you’re parking on to make sure you’re allowed to park in the area. Some areas have time limits or only allow you to park certain times of the day.

If you’re parking in a metered area, bring plenty of change and make sure you stay on top of how much time you’ve paid to park. A good way to remember is by setting a timer on your smartphone to remind you about your parking. When setting an alarm, give yourself a few extra minutes before your meter is up so you have enough time to make your way back to your car, and/or get more change to add to the meter.

If you park in a spot where the meter is broken, it may be more hassle than it’s worth to prove later that the parking meter wasn’t operating. Unless there are no other parking spots, it’s best to park elsewhere.

Lastly, if you are getting regular parking citations in the area you’re parking when you come home or for your work, try to make alternative arrangements, such as renting a parking space in a garage, asking your employer for parking assistance, or taking public transportation and leaving your car parked safely elsewhere.

Other effects of parking tickets

You don’t have to worry about your parking tickets affecting your insurance rates, but it doesn’t mean you should simply ignore any tickets. Doing so could lead to bigger problems and huge inconveniences, such as:

A boot on your tire

Some municipalities will place a boot on your car’s tire to disable it until the tickets are paid. It’s bad enough to have a bunch of past-due tickets. And then there’s the cost of having someone come out and remove the boot, which can be as high as $159.

Late fees

The late fees on unpaid parking ticket can be outrageous. If you don’t pay your citation on time, you could end up owing double or more. Some areas have legislated limits on how much municipalities can charge in late fees, but it’s best not to risk going past-due on your violations.

Getting towed

If your car gets towed and impounded for a number of parking tickets, prepare to spend some serious money to get it back. NBC 7 in San Diego, California ran an exposé on how much people were charged to get their vehicle released after unpaid parking tickets. They found that some people paid between $2,733 and $5,055 to get their vehicles released. Even worse, the city sold 1,452 of the 4,683 vehicles it towed for unpaid tickets.

Frequently asked questions

Does parking tickets affect your license?

Parking tickets won’t affect your license — as long as you pay them. If you don’t pay your parking violations, the DMV could suspend your license or stop you from renewing it. Depending on how many unpaid parking tickets you have, you may not even be able to renew your vehicle registration.

What other factors affect insurance rates?

Getting a parking ticket isn’t a moving violation and therefore, won’t affect your insurance rates. There are other factors you should worry about more, such as moving violation tickets for speeding or running a red light.

What if the parking ticket I got was wrong?

If you believe the parking ticket you received was incorrect, follow the instructions on the citation to write a letter explaining why you are contesting the parking ticket. Be sure to include your contact information, the citation number and any evidence to support your claim.