When you see those flashing lights in your rearview mirror, a pit probably forms in your stomach as you glance at your speedometer. You know that the police officer behind will probably write you a speeding ticket, and you’re wondering if and how that speeding ticket will affect your car insurance rates. Similarly, if you see a parking ticket left on your car, you’re probably asking yourself the same question. When it comes to the subject of tickets and car insurance, there isn’t a straightforward answer. Learn how speeding and parking tickets affect your insurance and how to keep things affordable.
Do Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance?
How does a speeding ticket affect your insurance? How much more you’ll have to pay generally relates to how fast you were going and how much over the speed limit you were driving.
How Much Does Insurance Go Up After a Speeding Ticket?
Every insurance company has its own regulations, but generally, you can expect a 10 to 20% rise in premiums if you were traveling 10 to 20 miles per hour over the limit. If you were going 30 mph or more over the limit, your rates could skyrocket by as much as 40%.
Do Parking Tickets Affect Insurance?
In the eyes of your insurer, a parking ticket isn’t as serious as a speeding ticket. Just one parking ticket probably won’t affect your insurance rate. However, if you rack up a string of parking tickets, that could be a different story.
Fighting a Parking Ticket
Most drivers are not deliberately parking illegally. Parking signs can be confusing! Plus, rules and regulations governing parking hours can change. That said, drivers who park in a clearly marked no-parking zone or who otherwise are in the wrong should just pay the ticket as soon as possible. However, if you did not park illegally or the matter is questionable, you may want to consider filing an appeal right away.
By contesting the ticket, you should receive a date to appear in traffic court. The police officer issuing the ticket must also appear. After making your case and presenting as much evidence as possible, a judge will determine whether the parking ticket is warranted.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay a Parking Ticket?
What you really do not want to do is just ignore a parking ticket. Collection agencies may be notified about your unpaid debt, and that can affect your credit score. Insurance companies usually look at credit scores when determining insurance rates, so if your credit score takes a hit, you could end up with a higher premium.
In addition, your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles may not renew your registration or your license if you have outstanding parking tickets. Fail to pay the fine, and you could end up driving illegally due to a license suspension. If you are stopped or get involved in an accident, you could face arrest for unlicensed driving, and your car insurance may not cover you.
Public vs. Private Parking Citations
Keep in mind that only parking tickets issued by law enforcement affect your driving record. Some private entities, such as shopping malls, may issue parking tickets for infractions, but these do not end up on your driving record. That does not mean you should ignore private parking violations.
Private owners can do more than just prevent you from parking on their property in the future. If the private ticket is not paid, the bill is likely sent to a collection agency, again impacting your credit score.
A bigger issue is that private owners can have a vehicle towed from the lot or may have the car booted. The latter involves attaching a device to a car’s wheel so that the car cannot move. Resolving either issue can cost a lot of money, which is why it’s easiest to pay for your private tickets promptly.
Multiple Parking Violations
Drivers who accumulate multiple parking tickets, usually 10 or more, may find their licenses suspended in some states. Even if it’s only temporary, this suspension isn’t looked upon favorably by insurance companies. A license suspension means you may expect your rates to climb considerably.
However, occasional parking tickets typically won’t cost a driver points on their license. License suspension usually only occurs in the most extreme cases, but this can vary by state.
Avoiding a Speeding Ticket on Your Record
There are some ways to avoid having a speeding ticket on your record as well. In some states, if a speeding ticket is your first offense, you may be able to avoid a ticket by taking a defensive driving class. Drivers are generally only given one opportunity to have a ticket dismissed in this way. Here are some additional ways to avoid getting a speeding ticket on your record:
- Try to get a deferral, if possible.You can plead guilty to the violation, or the court may decide you are guilty. With a deferral, the ticket isn’t added to your driving record for a specific period, generally one year. If you manage to avoid any other tickets during that time, the ticket is usually dismissed. However, if you do get another ticket, both end up on your record. That can cause your insurance premiums to increase.
- Mitigation is an option.If your driving record is good and you have not received a ticket in years, mitigation is an effective Mitigation requires you to plead guilty. However, you can explain to the judge the situation behind the ticket and basically ask for leniency. If the judge is sympathetic, the ticket may come off your record. Even if the ticket remains, the judge may reduce your fine.
- Change your ticket to a non-moving violation. Depending on the jurisdiction, you might contact the clerk of the court. The court clerk usually has the authority to change your ticket to a non-moving violation and permit you to take a defensive driving course or receive a deferral. You will find the contact information for the clerk of the court on your ticket or on the courthouse website.
- Hire a lawyer and fight. In cases of a major infraction, you can consider hiring a traffic court lawyer to help you fight the ticket. Yes, you will have to pay the legal fees, which are not cheap. However, if your attorney can help you avoid the ticket, it won’t affect your driving record and future insurance premiums.
While you can fight your ticket with or without legal representation, if the judge decides against you, you’ll need to pay the complete fine with additional court costs.
Ride with The General®
At The General®, we know that speeding tickets can land you in the high-risk driver category. For more than half a century, we have been providing affordable car insurance for those whose driving records are less than perfect.
Even if you have numerous parking or speeding violations on your record and other insurance companies have turned you down, The General® can help. Get a free quote in less than 2 minutes. You’ll be so impressed with our rates, especially after doing comparison shopping, that you’ll want to buy an insurance policy from us.