From parking in a red zone to letting the meter run out, there are many simple mistakes that can lead to a parking ticket. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to end up with one, you may be wondering, “Will a parking ticket affect my auto insurance rates?”
You can breathe easy because in most cases, the answer to this question is no. Since it’s not a moving violation and doesn’t reflect on your safety as a driver, a parking ticket in itself will typically not affect your insurance rates. However, if you fail to pay your ticket, well... that’s a different story. Here’s what you need to know.
Parking Violations vs. Moving Violations
Parking tickets are considered non-moving violations. In most states, they’re not reported on your driving record. This means that they won’t result in points on your license and your insurance company typically won’t even know about them.
Some common parking violations include:
Marking in a commercial vehicles zone, including taxi, passenger pickup, or loading zones
Parking against the flow of traffic
Parking more than 18 inches from the curb
Exceeding the maximum time limits
Not having the right parking permit in residential areas
Failure to comply with parking signs
Street sweeping or trash pickup
Parking in or too close to crosswalks, intersections, and driveways
On the other hand, moving violations are traffic violations that occur while your vehicle is in motion. In many cases, a moving violation will lead to points on your license and is likely to increase your insurance rates. Common examples of moving violations include:
Running a red light or stop sign
The Perils of Unpaid Parking Tickets
Nobody enjoys paying a parking ticket, and depending on where you live, they can get really expensive. In some bigger cities, like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, parking tickets can run you anywhere from $65 to $250 or higher.
While this is undoubtedly inconvenient, failing to pay your ticket will create much bigger problems. Many municipalities impose late fees on unpaid parking tickets, so the longer you wait, the more you may owe. Even worse, in some states, unpaid parking tickets are reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). When this happens, the DMV may refuse to renew your vehicle registration or even suspend your license — and that’s when you have a real issue.
Since a license suspension is considered a clear indication of risk, this will almost always cause your insurance rates to increase. Driving with a suspended license is also illegal. Once it happens, you’ll have to take a number of steps to get your license reinstated. This typically involves paying fines and, sometimes, purchasing special insurance coverage — all of which is far more expensive and more of a hassle than just paying your parking tickets in the first place.
Unpaid parking tickets can also lead to:
The dreaded boot on your tire
Impounding of the vehicle, which can go to permanent auction if you are unable to pay (Yes, you’ll still have to pay the tickets before registering any vehicle)
Collection agencies may be employed by the state, which will affect your credit score
Moral of the story? If you get a parking ticket, don't ignore it!
A Defensive Driving Course Can Help You Avoid Insurance Increases
If you’ve received moving violations or your license was previously suspended, taking a defensive driving course may help you avoid insurance rate increases. iDriveSafely offers online courses that are quick, easy, and fun. Check it out today!