It’s a sight that no one wants to see. You’re walking back to your car to head to your next destination, and right there, pinned under a windshield wiper, is a long piece of paper. You immediately know what that means: You’ve just received a parking ticket. While your day may be ruined, you can at least take solace in knowing that this ticket will have very little impact on your standing as a driver.
- Insurers mostly care about your safety habits and likeliness that you will file a claim.
- Failing to pay your parking tickets could lead to higher fines and the potential for police intervention.
- Unpaid parking tickets hurt your credit score, which could impact your car insurance costs.
Do Parking Tickets End Up on Your Driving Record?
As a motorist, it’s important that your driving record remain as free of blemishes as possible. As a collection of past and ongoing motoring behavior, potentially including violations, accidents, and other roadside incidents, your driving record serves as a historical retelling of your time behind the wheel. While that may be embarrassing to some, it’s of particular importance to car insurance companies.
Past evidence of both negligence and poor decision making behind the wheel often causes insurers to raise a person’s premiums, since past experiences suggest that driver would be more likely to file an insurance claim. That means drivers with a pristine driving record get to enjoy lower premiums, while individuals with major incidents on their record like at-fault accidents or DUIs/DWIs will see their insurance costs spike, the degree to which depends on the state.
So if you’ve just received a parking ticket, what does that mean for your driving record? Absolutely nothing. While the penalty for certain parking violations will vary at the state and municipal levels, they are nonmoving violations in all instances. As such, a parking ticket does not go on your driving record since it doesn’t reflect poorly on your safety habits as a driver. After all, your vehicle can only cause damage while it’s in motion.
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.
What Consequences Can Result from a Parking Ticket?
While your parking ticket won’t end up on your driving record, that doesn’t mean receiving one is a nonissue. The following are just some ways that a parking ticket could cause you problems.
- Fines. First and foremost when it comes to parking tickets are the fines associated with it. Exactly how much they cost depends on rules set at the municipal, county, and state levels. These fines eventually will come with a due date, though failing to pay on time means you likely will have to pay a larger fine.
- Confiscation or disabling of your vehicle. Though your parking ticket won’t be on your official driving record, local law enforcement will still see that you have an unpaid parking ticket. If an officer finds your car parked on a public road and you have an unpaid parking ticket, then an officer can have your car impounded or disabled with the use of a boot.
- Negative impact on your credit score. Failing to pay your parking ticket on time can hurt your credit score. This sort of thing lets insurers, banks, and other financial institutions know that you’re less trustworthy than others. Depending on the state you live in, your rate and coverage may be impacted by your credit score.
- Driver’s license suspension. This is the big one. If you wait long enough and don’t pay your fines, then the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) could suspend your license altogether. Driving with a suspended license is a dangerous proposition, since you could potentially get pulled over by police and ticketed. Once they find out that your license is suspended, you likely will have your car towed at the very least. Driving with a suspended license is an illegal moving violation and will reflect poorly on your driving record. In many states, those who drive on a suspended license face arrest and possible jail time. Check your local regulations to see how you might be affected.
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.