Q

Do parking tickets affect your insurance?

A

Parking tickets don’t affect your insurance unless they aren’t paid. Unpaid parking tickets could send you to collections or cause your license to be suspended.

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While there are many things that can impact your car insurance rates, parking tickets aren’t typically one of them. Parking tickets do not go on your driving record and you don’t get any points on your license because of them.

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Insurance companies use moving violations and accidents to set your rates because those things are indicators of the likelihood that you will file a claim in the future, but parking tickets aren’t reflective of your abilities as a driver. This means they aren’t useful when deciding how much you should pay for car insurance.

However, there is one situation where parking tickets can impact your insurance rates — if you don’t pay them and let them pile up.

Key takeaways

  • Parking tickets do not go on your driving record and you don’t get any points on your license because of them.

  • Leaving parking tickets unpaid can send the debt to collections, cause your license to be suspended, or your car registration to be canceled.

  • Parking tickets follow the car, not the driver, so if a friend or family member borrows your car and gets a parking ticket, it is still your responsibility to pay it.

How unpaid parking tickets can affect your car insurance rates

There are a number of potential consequences if you don’t pay your parking tickets, including:

  • Cancellation of your car registration

  • Suspension of your driver’s license

  • Unpaid tickets going to collections

If your car registration is canceled, that could impact your insurance rates, depending on the laws in your state. While most insurance companies aren’t likely to cancel your policy if you forgot to renew your registration, some states allow car insurance companies to cancel your policy if your registration is revoked, which means unpaid parking tickets could be enough to terminate your registration, potentially canceling your insurance coverage.

You will pay much more for insurance if your driver’s license is suspended, whether for unpaid parking tickets or for moving violations. Many states require drivers who’ve had their license suspended to file an SR-22, which is likely to increase your insurance rates. You will also be expected to pay a fee to file the SR-22 and a fee to reinstate your license.

Most states allow insurance companies to use your credit score when setting your insurance rates, which means being sent to collections for unpaid parking tickets will likely increase the cost of your insurance. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the few states that doesn’t consider your credit rate when setting your insurance rates, including California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Michigan, you won’t see an increase in your car insurance costs due to your lower credit score.

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Parking tickets follow the car

It is important to remember that parking tickets follow the car, not the driver. This means that if a friend or family member borrows your car and gets a parking ticket, you will ultimately be held responsible for it. If they don’t pay their ticket, you will be the one with the suspended license or registration.

How to avoid parking tickets

There are many steps you can take to avoid parking tickets, including:

  1. Watch the signs: Street parking is often accompanied by signs explaining how and when you are (and aren’t) allowed to park there. Read the signs carefully to make sure you are following the law. If you aren’t 100% sure whether or not you are allowed to park somewhere, find another space.

  2. Pay attention to the meter: If you are in a metered parking space, make sure you have change to feed the meter or download the app so you can pay for parking. Make note of exactly how long you are able to park there and set the timer on your phone so you aren’t late returning to your car.

  3. Park in a garage: Garage parking can be pricey, but it is better than a parking ticket.

Types of traffic violations

Traffic violations can be broken into three categories: parking violations, moving violations, and non-moving violations. Each one is treated differently by car insurance companies.

Parking violations

Parking violations don’t impact your insurance rates unless you don’t pay the ticket. Some examples of parking violations are double parking your car, parking more than 12 inches from the curb, and letting the parking meter expire.

Moving violations

Moving violations will impact your insurance rates, sometimes significantly. Generally, the more serious the violation, the more you’ll pay for car insurance. The chart below shows average car insurance rates by moving violation.

ViolationAverage annual cost
Hit and Run$3,182
DUI$3,153
Driving with a suspended license$3,117
Racing$3,087
Reckless Driving$3,013
At-fault Accident$2,555
Driving with an open container$2,485
Speeding Ticket$2,277
Passing a school bus$2,233
Improper passing$2,152
Following too closely$2,140
Illegal turn$2,123
Failure to stop at a red light$2,122
Failure to yield$2,122
Failure to show documents$2,075
Driving without Lights$2,074
Driving with expired registration$2,068
Not at-fault Accident$1,784

Non-moving violations

Non-moving violations include parking violations and may or may not impact your insurance rates. Some examples of non-moving violations that won’t impact your insurance are:

  • Broken tail lights

  • Parking violations

  • Expired registration

There are non-moving violations that may impact your insurance, including:

  • Lack of registration

  • Driving without insurance

  • Terminated registration

Frequently asked questions

Do parking tickets affect your credit?

Parking tickets don’t appear on your credit report and they don’t typically affect your credit score unless you don’t pay them. Unpaid parking tickets that get sent to collections could potentially impact your credit.

How many parking tickets can you get?

Each city and state are different, but almost every area has a limit on the number of parking tickets you are allowed, typically somewhere between three and five, before you see some type of consequence. Too many tickets means a boot may be put on your car or your car could be impounded.

Do parking tickets affect anything?

A single parking ticket that is paid promptly doesn’t really affect anything. An unpaid parking ticket or an accumulation of parking tickets can affect your credit rating, your car insurance, and even end with your car being towed or impounded.

Methodology

Policygenius has analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. 

For full coverage policies, the following coverage limits were used:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by the state or insurer.

Rates for overall average rate, rates by ZIP code, and cheapest companies determined using averages for single drivers age 30, 35, and 45. Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles per year.

Rates for driving violations and “poor” credit were determined using average rates for a single male 30-year-old driver with a credit score under 578.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of insurance costs. Your actual quotes may differ.