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Do parking tickets affect your insurance rates? | Bankrate

Parking violations cost Americans an average of $25 to $200, according to a Drexel University Central Business District Public Parking Survey of data from 107 US states. If you don’t pay your tickets on time, late fees could rack up or your vehicle could be towed or impounded. Parking tickets generally don’t affect the amount you pay for auto insurance. however, keep in mind that some unpaid parking tickets may affect your premium.

The amount you must pay for your parking ticket will likely be written in the municipal code of the city, town, village or county where you received the ticket. If you recently received a parking ticket, you may not be sure how to proceed. With that in mind, the editorial team at Bankrate has put together this guide to help you navigate your violation and the costs associated with it.

when parking tickets affect insurance rates

Parking tickets don’t usually directly affect your auto insurance rates. a parking ticket is a non-moving violation. For example, forgetting to feed the meter is not attached to your driver’s license or reported to the state dmv or your auto insurer.

Even if you tell your insurer about your parking tickets, your insurance company won’t 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 increase insurance in any way?

A parking ticket probably won’t increase your auto insurance. however, unpaid parking tickets sent to collections could potentially affect your credit-based insurance score. Some car insurance companies will look at your credit-based insurance score to decide whether to insure you and to determine the cost of your car insurance.

That means unpaid parking tickets could affect your premium. However, in some states like California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Michigan, car insurance companies are not allowed to use your credit score as one of the factors that determine the cost of your car insurance. in that case, unpaid parking tickets would have no effect on your vehicle insurance premiums.

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how to prevent parking tickets from increasing insurance rates

If you get a parking ticket, it’s usually in your best interest to handle the problem right away. If you’re late in paying your fine, you could rack up late fees or even risk having your vehicle impounded by the city.

Instead of avoiding paying your parking ticket, depending on your circumstances, consider these options:

  • Send a written letter to the municipality as soon as possible if you believe the fine was in error, explaining why you believe the fine was not justified under the circumstances. Please attach a copy of the ticket, contact information, and supporting evidence, such as pictures of the broken meter or partially covered or damaged “no parking” sign.
  • Talk to the city or county about a plan to payment or other arrangements if you cannot pay it right away. the city may be able to freeze more late fees so you can catch up on your outstanding fines.
  • ask your family to lend you the money to pay the fines. then you can 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 avoid parking tickets is to be careful where you park. scan nearby signs to make sure you are allowed to park in the area. some areas have time limits or only allow parking during hours of the day or on specific days of the week.

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If you’re parking in a metered area, bring plenty of change and be sure to note how long you’ve paid to park. A good way to remind yourself is to set a timer on your smartphone to remind you of your parking. when setting an alarm, you may want to give yourself a few extra minutes to get back to your car or add more change to the meter.

If you park in a spot with a broken meter, you may have a hard time proving to the local parking officer that the meter was defective. in this case, you may want to consider parking elsewhere if possible.

Finally, if you receive regular parking tickets at home or near work, you might consider making alternative arrangements, such as renting a parking space from a garage, asking your employer for help parking, or taking public transportation and leaving your vehicle safely parked elsewhere.

other effects of parking tickets

While parking tickets generally don’t affect car insurance rates, ignoring them could lead to bigger inconveniences, like:

a boot on your tire

Some municipalities may place a boot on your vehicle’s tire to disable it until fines are paid. In addition to paying the ticket, you are responsible for paying someone to remove the boot, which can cost up to $136 in major metropolitan areas like New York City.

late payment fees

Late fees on unpaid parking tickets can be expensive. If you don’t pay your citation on time, fees can increase significantly to double the original fine or more. Some areas have legislated limits on how much municipalities can charge for late fees, but you may not want to risk racking up late fees for your violations.

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be towed

If your car is towed and impounded for multiple parking tickets, be prepared to spend a lot of money to get it back. NBC 7 in San Diego ran an expose on how much people were charged to release their vehicle after unpaid parking tickets. They found that in 2019, some people paid between $2,733 and $5,055 to unlock their vehicles. Worse yet, the city sold 1,452 of the 4,683 vehicles it towed for unpaid fines.

frequently asked questions

do parking tickets affect your license?

Parking tickets will not affect the status of your driver’s license, as long as you pay them. However, if you do not pay your parking violations, the DMV may suspend your license or prevent 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 is not a traffic violation and therefore may not directly affect your auto insurance rate. Tickets for moving violations, such as speeding or running a red light, are typically much more likely to affect your auto insurance premium. however, many of the best car insurance companies still offer cheap car insurance for drivers with points on their licenses. You may also qualify for discounts that could lower your insurance premium.

what if the parking ticket I received was wrong?

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

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