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Do Parking Tickets Affect Your Car Insurance?

Do Parking Tickets Affect Your Car Insurance?

We've all returned to our car after a day of shopping, entertainment, or work to find that dreaded slip of paper on our windshield: a parking ticket. While a parking ticket may be a minor inconvenience at the time, you can usually remedy it with prompt payment. However, enough parking tickets can begin to impact your insurance payments negatively.

Does a Parking Ticket Affect Your Insurance?

While a single parking ticket isn't likely to dramatically change your car insurance rates, multiple infractions can begin to increase your premiums. Failing to pay these tickets can also have an effect, primarily on how they impact your credit. Multiple unpaid parking tickets can accumulate and be sent to a collections agency, which can cause your credit score to plummet.

Some states have protections in place so that insurance companies can't use credit rates to change your rates (or limit their ability to factor them in). These states currently include:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Massachusetts

If you don't live in one of these states, you must pay for your parking tickets as quickly as possible. Even if you are a driver in these states, there may be other consequences if you leave your parking tickets unpaid. One common repercussion is a suspension of registration, which can subsequently cause a further increase in your insurance rates. Driving with a suspended registration can lead to more fines and even incarceration.

Can Unpaid Parking Tickets Get My License Revoked?

Can Unpaid Parking Tickets Get My License Revoked?

Some states will revoke your driver's license for unpaid parking tickets, though you usually need to accumulate a significant number before they will do so. The states that suspend licenses due to unpaid parking tickets include:

  • Wisconsin
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • California

Having your license revoked will almost always lead to an increase in insurance rates. Covering an unlicensed driver can be incredibly risky, and your company may drop you altogether. Insurance companies can also drop you or increase your rates for other reasons, like your vehicle's previous title or accident history. You can use tools like a vehicle history report or VIN decoder to get information about your car to see whether anything in its past will affect your insurance rates.

Do Parking Tickets Go On Your Record?

So how long do parking tickets stay on your record? Fortunately, parking tickets will rarely go on your driving record, mainly because they have little to do with your driving behavior. These tickets fall under "nonmoving violations", so insurance companies usually won't be able to access them when searching your driving records. Of course, if you fail to pay for your tickets, then your insurance may be affected. If you accumulate enough tickets to have your vehicle towed or your license suspended, these events may be recorded on your record.

Parking Ticket Frequently Asked Questions

How Much is a Parking Ticket?

The cost of a parking ticket will vary based on the state, county, and area of the city you are illegally parking within. The average cost ranges between $10 to $100, though some areas will charge even more than this. Parking ticket costs will also depend on the type of parking violation. For example, parking in front of a pedestrian ramp can cost a driver up to $165. However, obstructing traffic without a permit can incur a ticket of up to $1,000.

How Do You Find Out if You Have Unpaid Parking Tickets?

You can find out whether you have unpaid parking tickets by contacting your local Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Licensing, or Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Finding unpaid parking tickets is usually done by looking at your driving records, which can be accessed through the DMV website by visiting their driving record request page. You may have to pay a small fee, but once completed, you'll receive a list of all unpaid tickets, traffic court hearings, and even bench warrants.

Do Parking Tickets Give You Points?

Parking tickets will usually do not add points to your record. Points systems tend to relate to moving violations, including failure to stop, reckless driving, and speeding. However, your parking tickets will be cataloged in your driving record; you can also accumulate enough tickets to receive similar consequences that a point system uses. In some cases, these consequences include a suspension of registration or license, hefty fees, and even jail time. Make sure to pay your parking tickets promptly to avoid incurring any penalties (except in those instances where you intend to appeal the ticket).

How Can I Avoid Parking Tickets?

There are several ways to avoid parking tickets, starting with observing signage in the areas you park. Check any street you park on for signs indicating whether it's legal to park there and restrictions on how long your vehicle can legally remain in that area. If there are parking meters, make sure to pay for the amount of time you intend to use a spot. Watch the clock closely to make sure you return before your pass expires, as some traffic attendants will quickly ticket you once your time expires.

Can You Appeal a Parking Ticket?

It's possible to fight a parking ticket if you believe you didn't commit a violation or the ticket was issued due to another type of error. Common reasons to appeal a ticket include the following:

  • The lack of a sign indicating an area is illegal to park in
  • The sign was obscured, either by an object, low visibility, or weather conditions like heavy snow
  • Malfunctioning parking equipment (i.e., a non-working meter)
  • The parking enforcement officer does not put their name on the ticket
  • Your vehicle was stolen
  • You have a valid permit that was not acknowledged

If you intend to appeal a ticket, wait to pay your fine. Your ticket should include a method you can use to dispute the ticket, whether that be to submit your appeal by mail, online, or in person. You should receive a reply within a few days; if you don't, contact the parking authority to check on the status of your appeal.

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