If you cause an accident or commit a moving violation, you can almost guarantee that your car insurance rates will go up. But do parking tickets affect insurance?
Typically, no, parking tickets do not affect insurance. As long as you pay your parking ticket on time and avoid larger violations, you should be in the clear. However, parking tickets can lead to larger complications if ignored.
In this article, we’ll cover how to handle parking tickets so that your insurance doesn’t change. We’ll also explain whether parking tickets can change your credit score and whether they show up on your driving record. If your current rates are too high and you’re looking for a new provider, we’ll recommend the best auto insurance companies that offer low rates, have a straightforward claims process, and give drivers perks like accident forgiveness. You can start getting free quotes from our top-rated providers below.
In this article:
- How Do Parking Tickets Affect Your Car Insurance?
- What’s Included In Your Driving Record?
- What Happens If You Don’t Pay A Parking Ticket?
- How Do Auto Insurance Companies Determine Your Rates?
- Our Top Picks For Car Insurance Providers
How Do Parking Tickets Affect Your Car Insurance?
Typically, parking tickets will not affect your car insurance rates. This is because a parking ticket is considered a non-moving violation.
However, things can get tricky if you don’t handle the ticket correctly. Let’s look at a few scenarios:
You Get A Ticket And Pay The Fine On Time
Say you forget to add time to your parking meter and return to that dreadful slip of paper under your windshield wiper. You take the ticket home, go online, and pay it before the due date. In this case, does a parking ticket affect insurance costs? No, it does not.
You Choose to Dispute A Parking Ticket
In another scenario, you return to find a parking ticket that was clearly a mistake. Perhaps it claims that you didn’t have a neighborhood parking permit, but you have proof this isn’t true. So, you decide to dispute your parking ticket according to the instructions for your town. Some cities will let your dispute your ticket online, while others require a letter of dispute and a court appearance.
Either way, you must dispute the ticket within the provided time frame. If you do not provide enough evidence for your case, you may be asked to come to a hearing. Some states will simply give you the option to either pay the ticket or show up in court on a time designated on the ticket itself.
Again, as long as all these actions are completed within the provided timeframes, parking tickets will not affect your insurance rates.
You Ignore The Ticket
Here’s where things get tricky. If you get a ticket and don’t agree with the charge or simply cannot pay the fine on time, ignoring the deadline can cause trouble. Unpaid parking tickets can increase by double or even triple the original amount the longer you wait.
If you never address the ticket, you could end up with your car booted or towed. If this happens, your unpaid ticket can be reported to your DMV, and there will be a hold placed on your account for upcoming registration renewals.
If you allow unpaid parking tickets to rack up, your debt could be sent to a collections agency, which often affects your credit report. This will raise a red flag for car insurance companies, letting them know you’re not meeting payment obligations and could be financially unstable.
Ignoring a ticket can lead to other actions that can affect your car insurance premiums. If you have too many issues, you may even be considered high-risk and get turned down from an insurance company.
You Get A School Parking Ticket
Private companies and institutions like colleges and apartment complexes may give out their own parking tickets. It’s important to treat these like any other citation. If your campus hires police officers to attend to parking violations, tickets may be dealt with like off-campus citations. Even tickets issued by private security companies can have negative effects. Some schools and universities place parking violations on your academic record, and others may not let you receive your transcript or diploma until the fine is paid.
Your Friend Drives Your Car And Gets A Ticket
Parking tickets follow the car, not the driver. If you let a friend borrow your car for the day and they receive a parking ticket, it still must be paid to avoid complications linked to your vehicle.
What’s Included In Your Driving Record?
Wondering how long parking tickets stay on your record? As it turns out, they don’t appear there in the first place.
Nearly all car insurance companies list your driving record as one of the top factors for determining your premium and deductible. States have individual laws about how much information they can pull from your record, but it’s important to know what is recorded. In general, your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) includes:
- Personal details such as your age, height, eye color, and more
- Your driver’s license status, classifications, endorsements, and expiration date
- Citations and paid fees
- Traffic tickets
- Traffic accidents
- Defensive driving and driver’s education courses
- DUI convictions
Similar to your credit score, different information remains on your driving record for different lengths of time, and these timeframes change based on your state. A DUI conviction typically stays on your record for up to seven years, while minor violations may be removed sooner.
Parking tickets aren’t included in your MVR, but that doesn’t mean unpaid violations will go unnoticed. Ignoring your ticket has a domino effect, leading to potential registration suspension and poor credit marks.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay A Parking Ticket?
Treat a parking ticket like any other necessary bill in your budget. If you fail to pay by the due date, you will either get fined, lose your privileges, or both. If you ignore your parking ticket past the due date – which is typically two weeks to a month after the citation – you will be fined.
Fines range from a set amount of money to a percentage of the ticket itself, depending on your state. The longer you wait to pay, the higher the fine. In most cases, you’ll find specific consequence information on the ticket itself. If you let parking tickets rack up, your DMV will keep a record of unpaid offenses in its system. If you commit so many offenses or go a certain amount of time without paying your tickets, you could end up with a boot on your tire or your car towed to a compound lot.
As we mentioned above, past-due tickets can even head to a collections agency, damaging your credit score and leaving negative marks on your record.
How Do Auto Insurance Companies Determine Your Rates?
Your driving record in just one piece of the puzzle when determining your car insurance estimate. An auto insurance company will take a look at any clues about the risk factors related to you as a driver and your car itself. You can break these down into five main categories:
|Factor||How It Affects Your Car Insurance Rate|
|Driving record||This alerts an auto insurance provider about recent accidents, traffic violations, or major convictions. Factors like a DUI can significantly increase your premiums, but simple violations like a one-time minor speeding ticket are less of a concern.|
|Personal profile||Personal details such as age, gender, marital status, and credit score can increase or decrease your rates. For example, teens without as much driving experience will pay more for coverage.|
|Driving habits||The amount you typically drive your car will affect your rates. Many companies offer usage-based insurance programs to help you cut premium costs.|
|Location||Location plays a large role in your premium, especially since each state sets its own car insurance minimums. The population density of the city you live in and where you park your car are also elements that are considered.|
|Vehicle details||Choosing a safe car that is easy and inexpensive to repair is another major factor. Most insurance providers offer discounts for safety vehicle features such as daytime running lights and anti-lock brakes.|
Our Top Picks For Car Insurance Providers
Driving laws can be complex. When you choose to work with the right insurance provider, your agent should be able to answer all your questions, including, “do parking tickets affect insurance?”
If you’ve gotten a ticket for a moving violation or accident, however, your car insurance will go up. If your current rates are too high and you’re looking for a new provider, we’ve outlined two great options below. Both scored highly in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Satisfaction StudySM and offer specialized coverage such as accident forgiveness insurance, making them strong picks for handling complications like tickets and claims.
We always recommend checking out several companies for the best insurance quotes. Use our free quote tool to compare car insurance companies based on your personalized needs.
USAA: 5.0 Stars
If you’re a military member or immediate family member of someone in the military, you should strongly consider USAA car insurance. The company has some of the most highly rated customer service in the industry. Other USAA highlights include:
- USAA has an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best.
- After five years without an accident, customers can get accident forgiveness at no extra cost. Or, it can be added on at any time for a fee.
- The company offers many discount opportunities.
Learn more in our complete USAA insurance review.
Progressive: 4.5 Stars
Despite its large customer base, Progressive has received a low number of complaints, which is a sign that the company’s claims and quote processes are particularly strong. The company has also received an A+ rating from both AM Best and the BBB, and it offers:
- Extensive coverage options, including GAP insurance
- A variety of discounts and a name-your-own-price tool
- Affordable plans for high-risk drivers
You can read more about this provider in our full Progressive insurance review.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.