Do Parking Tickets Go On Your Record And Affect Insurance?

What Is Careless Driving?

Suppose you're on a road trip, and it’s been a long day. You keep the AC on full-blast and chug coffee in your aim to stay awake and make it to the next state before stopping for the night. Your driving partner is asleep beside you.

These conditions on a wide-open night road could still lead you to grow weary and start weaving into the other lane. This risky driving behavior would likely attract the attention of a police officer and would qualify as careless driving.

Your intentions may have been innocent, but the result would have been the same—you would have put yourself and others in the path of potential harm.

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Can not paying a parking ticket cause insurance rates to rise?

Getting a parking ticket will not affect car insurance premiums. Ignoring a parking ticket, however, and refusing to pay that ticket, may affect car insurance premiums in the long run.

If you’re the registered owner of the vehicle that received the parking ticket, then you’re legally obligated to pay the fine attached to the parking ticket.

If you decide to not pay the parking ticket, then it may cause problems when you renew your vehicle registration.

Every state in America has passed laws requiring vehicle owners to pay parking tickets before registering a vehicle. You may not be able to renew or register a vehicle until you pay your past-due parking tickets.

If you choose to drive without registration and get caught, then you could face substantial penalties. This could lead to higher insurance prices in the long run.

In other words, your parking ticket could indirectly cause insurance prices to rise if you fail to pay them and fail to register your vehicle. In most cases, however, parking tickets have no impact on car insurance.

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Are Car Insurance Premiums Affected by Parking Tickets?

By themselves, parking tickets do not have any effect on your car insurance premiums. Since they don’t end up on your driving record, there’s no way for car insurance providers to even know of the ticket’s existence. As long as you pay the associated fine by the deadline, you should have zero concerns that your insurance costs will increase.

That being said, a parking ticket can cause problems with your insurer if you fail to pay on time. Depending on the severity of the fine and how long you go without paying it, the consequences can grow in severity. Penalties can include an increase in the fine itself, your car getting towed by the municipality, or even suspension of your driver’s license.

Furthermore, failure to pay a parking ticket could have a direct impact on your credit score, which is something that insurers absolutely care about. Having a lower credit score often signals to insurance companies that you have a tendency of mismanaging your funds and failing to pay your bills on time. While some insurance companies may make decisions due to credit scores—such as increasing premiums, or refusing coverage—some states have passed legislation which prohibits these policies. Check with your state legislature to see if you are affected by these laws.

Parking Tickets Coverage by Car Insurance

Car insurance is an important part of owning a vehicle. It is essential to know what it covers and what it doesn’t. Most basic car insurance includes bodily injury liability, personal injury protection, property damage liability, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.

Your protection depends on where you live and the types of coverage you buy. But the answer is no, your auto insurance provider does not cover parking tickets. You must cover the cost out of your own pocket.

How to Prevent Parking Tickets

Your best defense against unwanted parking tickets is to be cautious about where you park your vehicle. Look around the area for signs and parking meters. Before parking your car:

  • Make sure the site allows parking
  • Check signs for time limits on parking
  • Find out if the area only allows parking during certain times or days of the week

Metered areas require plenty of change. You might also set an alarm on your smartphone to remind you to feed the meter before time runs out.

Do other moving violations affect my insurance?

Any major or minor moving violation that appears on your driving record can increase your car insurance rate depending on how your state and insurer treat the violation. Most states add a certain number of points to your license every time you break a traffic law, though the number of points added per violation varies by state. For example, Arizona will add 3 points to your license for a speeding violation. If you accumulate 8 or more points in 12 months, the state may either require you to attend traffic school or suspend your license for up to a year.

While insurers don’t directly factor points into your car insurance rate, your rate is likely to increase if you’ve accumulated a significant amount of points simply due to the number of violations on your record.

Let’s look at some common traffic violations and how they can impact your insurance rate:

  • How does texting and driving affect insurance? It depends on the law in your state. Some states forbid insurance companies from considering texting tickets for the purpose of setting rates. In states where it’s not banned, insurers may treat them as minor moving violations, which means your rate could go up.
  • Does a red-light ticket affect insurance rates? If you get one of those infamous red-light camera tickets in the mail, you may or may not see higher insurance rates. As with texting tickets, it depends on how your state treats them. Some states outright ban insurance companies from using red-light camera tickets when determining their rates; others treat them as minor moving violations, which may result in a rate increase.
  • Does failing to stop or yield impact insurance too? If you’re cited for not stopping at a stop sign or yielding to traffic when you’re supposed to, you may or may not see a rate increase. As with red-light and texting tickets, it depends on how your insurer and state treat the violation. However, if you cause an accident because of your failure to stop or yield, then you’ll likely see a rate increase.
  • Do out-of-state tickets affect insurance? Yes, tickets you receive while driving out-of-state can drive up your insurance costs. However, the way the state or your insurer treats the violation could result in minimal or no changes to your rate. No matter what, the best thing to do if you get an out-of-state ticket is to pay the fine. Otherwise, you could be arrested the next time you pass through that state.
  • Will a DUI increase my insurance cost? Yes. A DUI conviction will always increase your insurance premium as it makes you a riskier customer to insure. Some insurers won’t even sell a policy to someone with a DUI. Learn more about DUIs and insurance.

How Much do California Traffic Tickets Affect My Insurance Rates?

We wish we could tell you that traffic tickets hardly affect your rates at all. Unfortunately for us Californians, just one traffic ticket can cause an auto insurance increase. The “Uh-Oh” Calculator on Insurance.com is a helpful tool that tells you how much your California traffic ticket can raise your insurance rates. According to the tool, a reckless driving infraction will raise your rates the most (21.9%). More infraction types and the average percent increase are listed below:

How Tickets Affect Your California Auto Insurance

Infraction TypePercent Increase*
Careless Driving16.08%
Failure to Stop15.38%
Failure to Yield8.8%
Tailgating13.37%
Improper Pass13.65%
Improper Turn14.33%
Reckless Driving21.9%
Speeding 1-14 MPH Over Limit10.62%
Speeding 15-29 MPH Over Limit12.22%
Speeding 30+ MPH Over Limit15.9%

*Based on National Average(The information presented in this chart is based off of data found using The “Uh-Oh” Calculator on Insurance.com.)

For more information about how traffic tickets affect your auto insurance you can read the helpful article below:

Insurance.com: Ticket? Uh-Oh! Auto Insurance Rate Increases for Common Driving Violations

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.
 

When Can Parking Tickets Affect Insurance Rates?

Here are the ways unpaid parking tickets affect car insurance:

How do parking tickets affect insurance?

Failure to pay parking tickets can result in driver’s license suspension, which will mark you as a higher-risk driver in the eyes of insurance companies. That higher-risk status means you’ll pay more for insurance.

Insurance rates are not directly based on the point systems, but car insurance companies do look at the infractions on your record when setting rates.

Unpaid parking tickets and your credit score

If you fail to pay the fine for that ticket, the government that issued it may use a collection agency to try to get the money from you. Collection agencies report unpaid accounts to credit bureaus. An account that is more than 30 days overdue will go on your credit history if the amount is over $100, and that will stay there for seven years.

In all but a handful of states, insurance companies factor in your credit history when setting insurance rates. Better credit scores generally mean lower rates. That’s important to know, because there are circumstances under which unpaid parking tickets could hurt your credit history.

This lasting impact on your credit history could have a long-term effect on your car insurance premiums.

When parking tickets can affect insurance rates

It’s no surprise that auto insurance companies consider your driving record when setting rates. Convictions for traffic violations such as speeding, running red lights and DUIs can all affect your monthly or annual insurance bill.

However, insurers only consider moving violations, or actions that have to do with you driving unsafely. Anything else, like a parking ticket or excessive muffler noise, counts as a nonmoving violation and won’t directly affect your insurance costs.

However, if you let a parking ticket or several parking tickets go unpaid, you may be subject to consequences that could impact your insurance rates.

The good news is public record information is not factored into your credit score. This means that tickets of all kinds, including traffic and parking tickets, can no longer affect your credit score. As a result, your credit-based insurance score can’t be affected by parking tickets.

However, leaving your parking tickets unpaid can affect insurance rates. Your unpaid parking ticket could be sent to a collections agency — and debt sent to collections is factored into your credit score, which could in turn affect your auto insurance rates. However, if you live in the select handful of states where it is illegal to factor credit scores into insurance rates, your parking ticket going to collections should not impact your rates.

Another possible consequence of unpaid parking tickets is having your car registration canceled. Getting your registration suspended might affect your insurance rates on its own. But if you’re caught driving while your registration isn’t active, you’ll almost certainly pay a fine and may even be arrested.

Even worse, in certain states, your driver’s license may be suspended if you do not pay a ticket. This can lead to a significant spike in insurance rates since many states require you to file an SR-22 if your license has been suspended. SR-22 insurance is far more expensive than regular insurance, as an SR-22 signals to your insurer that you’re a high-risk driver more likely to require a claim payout.

There are a few other ways overdue tickets might cost you extra money, though whether these apply to you depends on your state’s laws and the circumstances under which you got the ticket. Additionally, these typically won’t affect your insurance rates.

Other potential expenses resulting from overdue tickets:

The amount of your fine may increase because of late fees. Your car may be booted or impounded. Your car may be sold at auction.

Keep in mind that parking tickets are tied to a car, not the person driving it. If you loan your car to a friend or family member, you’ll be responsible for paying the ticket — “I wasn’t driving” won’t get the ticket removed in this case. It’s up to you to pay the fine and hopefully get reimbursed by the person that parked it illegally.

The Bottom Line

So, while parking tickets may not directly affect your driving record, they could end up coming back to bite you in terms of blocking access to your car or driver’s license—not to mention hurting your credit score—if you don’t deal with them sooner or later. State and city governments tend to have long memories and little sympathy for scofflaws. The expression “the long arm of the law” can certainly apply to parking tickets even if they don’t explicitly show up on your driving record.

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