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Do parking tickets affect your car insurance?

Here's what you need to know...
  • If you park in a no parking zone or space where you’re not authorized to store your vehicle, parking enforcement officers may cite you and tow your vehicle away
  • Parking tickets will follow the vehicle registration. If you’re cited, you must pay a fixed fine that’s dependent on the zone you parked in and how many times you’ve been cited in the past
  • Citations and convictions can have an impact on your insurance rates. Fortunately, since parking tickets don’t show on your driving abstract or your insurance record, a parking ticket won’t directly impact your rates
  • Getting a parking ticket can still affect your insurance indirectly. If you don’t pay your fine, the DMV won’t renew your registration. With a suspended registration you don’t qualify for auto insurance

You can’t park your car just anywhere. As nice as it’d be to be able to leave your vehicle on just any curb, there are no parking zones and restrictions in place to keep the roads safe and to allow for quick emergency access to buildings.

If you choose to ignore parking laws for your own convenience, you’ll be cited by a parking enforcement officer.

No one wants to walk to their car to find a ticket glaring off of their windshield. If you do, one of the first thoughts that come to mind revolves around how much your mistake is going to cost you. You know you’re going to have to pay a fine, but will this single ticket affect your insurance rates too?

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Here’s what you need to know before you panic:

Do parking tickets show up on your driving record?

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There is a common myth that’s been spread around claiming that parking tickets, like other moving violations, have an impact on . In terms of surcharging your rates for having a parking infraction, this is false.

Parking tickets aren’t classified as moving violations because the vehicle wasn’t being operated when the ticket was issued.

Parking tickets don’t follow the driver but they do follow the vehicle. Since they aren’t issued to a driver, the insurer can’t assign the citation to a person and change that person’s rate class.

In fact, it’s impossible for insurers to even see the tickets because they aren’t added to your driving record. Since they aren’t published on your driver abstract, the insurance company has no way of knowing the tickets were issued.

What types of tickets will have an impact on your insurance rates?

It’s both relieving and surprising to learn that a ticket that you’ve been issued won’t bump up your rates. After you get past the initial shock of learning this, you might wonder just why parking tickets aren’t a factor in determining your rates.

The reason is that parking in an unauthorized area has nothing to do with the likelihood that you’ll file a claim.

Insurance rates are set by looking at your personal driving habits and then reviewing the statistics to see how likely you are to have a loss. The insurance company will only look at moving violations to assign you to a risk group.

Littering tickets, noise ordinance violations, and parking violations aren’t counted. Common moving violations¬†include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to yield
  • Failure to stop
  • Careless driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Failure to wear a seat belt
  • Driving under the influence
  • Using a cell phone
  • Failure to signal

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When will a moving violation become a surcharge?

If you’re cited for a moving violation, it’s time to start worrying about your insurance rates.

The rates won’t go up immediately, but in most cases, the surcharge will be assessed at the next renewal. This is when the conviction will show up on your motor vehicle report. If you take traffic school, the ticket won’t show up to insurance companies much like a parking ticket.

If you’re lucky, your insurance company won’t run your motor vehicle report every time your policy renews. When this happens, you’ll keep paying low rates until the insurer can see the conviction and charge for it. The company can only surcharge your rates for three years from the date of the conviction.

What happens if you don’t pay your parking tickets?

You can’t just tear up a parking ticket and expect it to disappear. If you’re the registered owner of the vehicle, you’re legally obligated to pay for fines like this when they are assessed. Being late on your payment will result in late fees that can quickly add up.

If you decide that you’re not going to pay your ticket at all, it can pose problems for you when it comes time to renew your registration.

All states have passed laws that prevent owners of a vehicle with past due parking tickets from registering the car or renewing the registration. You won’t get a license plate or sticker until you pay up all of the fines.

How can failing to pay your parking tickets affect your insurance?

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You won’t have to pay a 5, 10 or 20 percent surcharge after a parking ticket, but that single infraction can have a more indirect effect on your coverage.

If you don’t pay your fine on time and you are then unable to pay the fine and late fees, the suspension of your registration can have more of an affect than you might think.

First off, you must have an active registration to carry insurance. If you can’t renew your registration and you keep your policy, you’re technically in violation of your contract. The car can’t be legally operated and therefore any first or third-party claims that you submit will be denied after your claim is investigated.

How can your rates go up?

If the carrier cancels your coverage for failing to keep your vehicle registered, your rates can go up when you buy coverage through a new company. Having a lapse of insurance for any reason can make you ineligible for preferred rates or even standard rates.

As you can see, a parking ticket isn’t going to have much of an impact on your monthly budget unless you fail to pay your fine. Knowing this might help you make paying off the ticket a priority.

If you want to find lower rates for insurance in the meantime, use an online rate comparison tool and search for affordable premiums through respected insurance carriers.

In fact, you can use our FREE tool below to find lower rates on your car insurance!

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