Parking violations cost Americans an average of $ 25 to $ 200, according to a Drexel University central business district public parking survey that included data from 107 U.S. cities. If you don’t pay for your tickets on time, late fees could accumulate or your car could be impounded. Typically, parking tickets do not affect the amount you pay for auto insurance. However, be aware that some unpaid tickets can affect your premium.
The amount you owe for your parking ticket will likely be listed in the municipal code for the town, county, or town where you received the ticket. If you’ve recently received a parking ticket, you may not be sure how to proceed. With that in mind, Bankrate’s editorial team has put together this guide to help you navigate your violation and the costs associated with it.
When tickets affect insurance rates
Parking tickets generally do not directly affect your auto insurance rates. A parking ticket is an immobility violation. Forgetting to power the meter is not tied to your driver’s license or reported to the DMV or your auto insurance company.
Even if you tell your insurer about your parking tickets, your insurance company will not use the information to decide whether you are more likely to have a car accident or to file an auto insurance claim.
Do parking tickets increase insurance in any way?
A parking ticket is unlikely to increase your insurance. However, unpaid parking tickets sent to collections could potentially affect your credit score. Some auto insurance companies will look at your credit score to decide whether to insure you and to determine the cost of your auto insurance.
This means that unpaid parking tickets could affect your premium. However, in states like California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, auto insurance companies are not allowed to use your credit score as one of the factors determining the cost of your auto insurance. In this case, the unpaid tickets would have no effect on your auto insurance premiums.
How to Avoid Letting Parking Tickets Raise Insurance Rates
If you receive a parking ticket, it’s usually in your best interest to fix the problem right away. If you delay paying for your ticket, you could rack up late fees or even risk the city impounding your car.
Instead of avoiding paying your parking ticket, depending on your situation, consider these options:
- Immediately send a letter in writing if you believe the ticket was in error, explaining why you think the ticket was not justified under the circumstances. Attach a copy of the ticket, contact details and supporting documents, such as photos of the broken meter or the partially covered or damaged âno parkingâ sign.
- Talk to the city about a payment plan or other arrangements if you can’t pay it right away. The city may be able to freeze other late fees so you can catch up on your tickets.
- Ask your family to lend you the money to pay for the tickets. You can then reimburse your family without worrying about late fees and additional collections.
- Ask your employer for an advance on your wages to pay your tickets.
How to avoid 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 at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week.
If you park in a metered area, bring plenty of change and be sure to note the time you paid to park. A good way to remember this is to set a timer on your smartphone to remind you of your parking lot. When you set an alarm, you might 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 an area with a broken parking meter, you may have a hard time proving to the local parking manager that the meter was defective. In this case, you may want to consider parking elsewhere if possible.
Finally, if you regularly receive parking tickets at home or near work, you may want to consider making other arrangements, such as renting a parking space in a garage, requesting parking assistance from your employer, or taking the necessary measures. public transport and leave your car safely parked elsewhere.
Other effects of parking tickets
While parking tickets generally don’t affect insurance rates, ignoring them could lead to more significant inconveniences, such as:
A boot on your tire
Some municipalities may place a boot on your car’s tire to deactivate it until the tickets are paid. In addition to paying for the ticket, you are responsible for paying someone to remove the safe, which can cost up to $ 159 in states like New York.
Late fees on unpaid tickets can be costly. If you don’t pay your quote on time, the fees can be significantly increased to double or more. Some areas have legally imposed limits on how much municipalities can charge in late fees, but you may not want to risk accumulating overdue fees for your violations.
If your car is towed and impounded for a number of parking tickets, be prepared to spend a lot of money to get it back. NBC 7 in San Diego, Calif., Published an article about the amount charged to people to get their vehicles released after unpaid parking tickets. NBC found that in 2019, some people paid between $ 2,733 and $ 5,055 to have their vehicles released. Worse, the city sold 1,452 of the 4,683 vehicles it towed for unpaid tickets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do parking tickets affect your license?
Parking tickets will not affect your permit, as long as you pay for them. If you don’t pay for your parking infractions, the DMV could suspend your license or prevent you from renewing it. Depending on how many unpaid 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 movement violation and, therefore, is unlikely to directly affect your insurance rate. Traffic tickets such as speeding or passing a red light are generally much more likely to affect your car insurance premium. However, many of the best auto insurance companies still offer cheap auto insurance for drivers with points on their licenses. You can also take advantage of discounts that could lower your insurance premium.
What if the parking ticket I received was wrong?
If you believe the ticket you received was incorrect, follow the instructions on the citation to write a letter explaining why you are contesting the ticket. Be sure to include your contact details, reference number and any evidence to support your claim.