If you are caught driving 85 mph in a 30 mph zone, your insurance will likely go up. If you get a citation for an illegal U-turn, are picked up for driving under the influence or crash your car into a tree, your insurance goes up. What if you forget to feed your meter?
Insurance Rates Follow Risk
Think of an insurance policy as a bet the insurance company makes about how likely you are to get into an accident. It is wagering that you won't cause more damage than the amount you pay in insurance premiums. Your driving record is the primary factors insurance companies use to figure out how high your premiums must be for them to make the bet.
Anything you do that increases the risk may well increase your premiums. Moving violations are one example, and speeding or texting while driving have a connection to how likely you are to get into an accident in the future. Likewise, if you cause an accident today, the odds go up that you may have an accident tomorrow.
Parking Tickets Don't Make a Risky Driver
Most parking tickets result from failing to feed a meter or from overstaying the time you paid for on the meter. You might also get a parking ticket for having a bumper extend into someone's driveway, leaving your car parked on the street on street cleaning day or leaving your car parked on a public street for too long.
These behaviors are not criminal, although they violate municipal parking rules. The mere fact that you parked badly or too long doesn't make it more likely that you'll have an accident. That's why parking tickets have no direct effect on your insurance premiums. In addition, parking tickets follow the vehicle, not the driver. That means that the insurer can’t assign the citation to a driver and change that person’s rate class.
Read More: How to Know if You Have a Parking Ticket
Is there any way that getting a few parking tickets can up your insurance premiums? Of course there is. If you don't pay the tickets, they don't evaporate. The fine keeps rising as time passes, and, by the time your car registration is due again, a few $20 tickets could total several hundred dollars in fines. You may have your car booted if you have enough outstanding tickets, and you may not be allowed to renew your license or register your car until you pay them. If your registration is suspended or your license isn't renewed, your insurance company can decide to raise your rates.
Parking tickets do not directly affect your insurance. If you get quite a few and don't pay them, you may not be allowed to register your car and your insurance company might stand up and take notice.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.