Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Apr 6, 2022

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Just What's Essential

  • Getting a parking ticket usually doesn’t affect your car insurance rates because it doesn’t reflect on how safely you drive
  • Refusing to pay for your parking tickets will hurt your credit score, which can increase your insurance rates if you live in a state that allows credit checks
  • Accidents, traffic incidents, and other violations you get a ticket for will increase your rates

Parking tickets are one of life’s minor annoyances that you don’t think about until you see one tucked under your windshield wiper. While parking tickets typically cost anywhere between $25 and $200, the real question is, do parking tickets affect insurance?

Usually, parking tickets don’t affect your insurance rates. However, you might see an increase in your monthly bill in specific situations. However, other common types of traffic tickets will increase your rates.

When does a parking ticket affect your insurance? Read below to learn more.

Does a parking ticket affect your insurance?

When an insurance company determines how much to charge you for your insurance, they assess how likely you are to file a claim. The higher that perceived risk is, the more it will cost you for coverage. Typically, parking tickets are not a factor in determining your insurance bill.

The most common reason people get a parking ticket is that they simply didn’t know they were parking illegally. At worst, someone might park somewhere they know they shouldn’t in a moment of inconsideration, thinking that it’s no big deal.

No matter the reason, parking tickets don’t indicate how risky a driver you are. You’ll never have to file a claim for a parking ticket, even one that’s issued erroneously. Your insurance company won’t have to pay a claim filed against you for a parking citation, either.

Parking tickets are annoying, but they go unnoticed by your insurance company.

A parking ticket will become a problem if you decide to forget about it instead of pay it. Unpaid tickets eventually get sent to collections, lowering your credit score until the matter is resolved.

Except in states that have made credit checks illegal, insurance companies use your credit score as one of the determining factors for your insurance rates. If unpaid parking tickets have lowered your credit score, you might see higher insurance prices.

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What happens if you hit an illegally parked car?

To prove that even obvious cases aren’t always clear-cut, who is at fault if you hit an illegally parked car? If you were paying attention, you wouldn’t have hit the car. But you wouldn’t have hit them if they weren’t illegally parked in the first place.

While an accident with a parked car might seem easy to determine who is at fault, both drivers will typically be ruled responsible through negligence.

You probably won’t ever have to worry about this, but you should contact your insurance agent if you are in this situation. Your agent will help determine if you can file a claim against the illegally parked person.

Does a parking ticket affect your driving record?

Your driving record is similar to your insurance — parking tickets don’t affect either. States with point systems don’t designate parking tickets as something they assign points for.

While you won’t run into trouble for parking tickets with the DMV, you will face consequences if you don’t pay them. The DMV has a host of tools at its disposal to enforce parking ticket fines. From late fees, suspension of your license, tire boots, denial of car registrations, and impounding your car, the DMV will make sure you pay your fines.

What do you do if you have a parking ticket?

While it might be tempting to crumple that little slip of paper on your windshield in your fist, the first thing you should do after a parking ticket is to move your vehicle. Avoid the idea that you should get your money’s worth from a spot you’ve already been ticketed in since staying there might result in more fines.

Once your car is in a good spot, take a look at your ticket. It contains all the information you need to handle it, including what you owe, when you need to pay it, and where to send your payment.

A parking ticket doesn’t usually require court time unless you’re a repeat offender.

You should pay for your ticket as soon as you can, even though it’s tempting to ignore it. It’ll cost you more in the long run than it would if you pay it by the due date.

Your ticket will also have a number to call if you think you’ve been wrongfully ticketed. The parking official will let you explain your case and might ask for documentation for proof. In some cases, you might have to appear in court.

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What else affects your insurance?

As long as you pay them, parking tickets don’t affect your insurance. However, there are numerous things that you can do behind the wheel that will increase your rates. The list below is far from complete, but these are the most common incidents to avoid.

  • Accidents. A single at-fault accident can raise your rates by upwards of 50%. Accidents you’re not at fault for generally don’t raise your rates unless you’re unlucky and get in a lot.
  • Speeding. All speeding tickets raise your rates, but the highest increase comes with criminal speeding charges. A typical speeding ticket raises rates by about 25%.
  • Failure to stop. Running stop signs and red lights is a simple — albeit dangerous — mistake that can raise your rates by 23%.
  • DUI. Insurance companies treat DUI charges harshly, with an average increase in rates of 74%. Worst, some companies will completely drop you as a customer, and you’ll have to find high-risk car insurance.
  • Reckless driving. A common charge after engaging in road rage behavior can increase your rates by a staggering 70%.
  • Failure to use a seatbelt. Although it’s a minor offense, it can still raise your rates by 4%.
  • Driving with a suspended license. While this crime doesn’t sound too bad, you should never operate a vehicle if your license is suspended. You can see an increase of 62% if you are ticketed for this.

Most people take driving for granted since it’s such an integral part of their day-to-day lives, but many things can happen that will increase your insurance rates. To avoid these tickets, try to always remain alert, follow all traffic laws, and prevent road-rage behaviors.

If you think you need a refresher on your driving skills, there are plenty of courses you can take. As a bonus, you might earn a driver education car insurance discount.

How to Avoid Parking Ticket Problems

The best way to avoid a parking ticket is to ensure you don’t park illegally or run afoul of any other driving violations. You’ll be able to prevent illegal parking easily if you familiarize yourself with local parking laws in your area.

Unfortunately, many parking tickets happen when you’re in an area you’re not familiar with, like when you go on vacation or take a business trip. Consider the following tips if you’re going to be parking in a new area.

  • Look for signs. Parking signs can be notoriously confusing, but all illegal parking zones should be marked. Look for No Stopping/Standing, Fire Zone, and Anti-Gridlock signs.
  • Don’t park illegally for convenience. Some people give in to the temptation of parking for just a moment, which often leads to tickets. Parking inspectors can pop up at any time and turn your attempt to save a few minutes into a costly mistake.
  • Remember your meter. If you are using a meter, set a timer on your phone to remind you when it will end.
  • Use a garage. If you’re unsure about a parking spot or you plan on leaving your car for an extended period, a parking garage might be safer.

If you follow these guidelines, you probably won’t ever have to worry about a parking ticket. However, accidents happen. If you get a citation, try to pay it as soon as possible.

In Summary: Do parking tickets affect your insurance?

Although parking tickets don’t usually impact your insurance costs, there are many situations that affect your insurance. If you see a sudden increase in your insurance rates because of traffic incidents or parking violations that went to collections, shopping for new insurance could save you money.

However, unpaid parking tickets can cause a headache, and could end up on your driving history, which companies do use to calculate rates. There are plenty of auto insurance companies out there that will specialize in providing an insurance policy for someone who has been labeled as a high-risk driver, or someone who has to deal with a collection agency.

Practice being not only a safe driver, but a timely one as well. Try to pay your ticket on time, and avoid having parking violations sent to collections, and you’ll be able to maintain an affordable rate of coverage.