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Can Parking Tickets Affect Your Car Insurance?

Nov. 3, 2021
3 mins
A row of cars in a parking lot

This article has been updated from a previous version.

You stop at the side of a street, park, and dodge into a store nearby, only to return to find a parking ticket tucked under the windshield wiper. It’s frustrating, but such is the outcome for parking illegally on a city street, even for a few minutes.

You might think driving away before a municipal law enforcement officer can place the ticket under the windshield wiper or pass it to you will get you off scot-free, but it won’t. That ticket will be mailed to the address for which the vehicle is registered.

Can parking tickets affect your car insurance?

Here’s some good news: in general, parking tickets do not affect your car insurance rate. Nevertheless, unpaid parking tickets can prove costly.

About 2.8 million parking tickets are issued in Toronto each year, yielding an annual revenue of around $100 million for the city. Ignoring parking violations won’t make them disappear. On the contrary, it will end up costing you significantly more the longer you evade the issue. In Toronto, you can dispute any parking violation within 15 days of receiving it.

The fines range from $30 to $450. Also, if you’re parked illegally during rush hour on specific roads or have three unpaid parking tickets, you’re increasing the odds of your vehicle being towed and impounded, leaving you on the hook to pay those fees as well.

What happens if you don’t pay a parking ticket fine?

If you miss the deadline to pay your parking fine in Toronto (15 days), you have 30 days from the date on the ticket to request an extension to pay. But know that failing to pay a parking ticket by its due date has consequences. A late payment fee of $25.50 applies after 30 days, and an additional $25.50 applies after 60 days.

You will eventually have to pay any outstanding parking fines levied on your vehicle, or you won’t be able to renew your licence plate registration sticker.

Pay off any parking violations by the due date to ensure your $30 fine doesn’t swell to three times the amount. And, of course, avoid parking your vehicle in places where you shouldn’t, even for a few minutes.

Speeding tickets are another matter

While parking fines won’t influence your car insurance premium, it’s a different story if you receive a speeding ticket in the mail.

Cities like Toronto and Mississauga have automatic speed enforcement (ASE) cameras installed in specific neighbourhoods to nab drivers who disregard the posted limit. A speeding conviction resulting from a ticket a police officer issues to you can impact your premium, especially if you have more than one; however, it will not affect your insurance if you get a ticket from an ASE camera.

Other traffic offences, such as not wearing a seatbelt, may also affect your insurance. Various infractions can influence your premium, depending on whether they are minor or major traffic convictions.

Examples of traffic violations that can jack up your premium if you’re convicted of them include:

Drivers convicted of a major offence may get a high-risk driver designation and find it challenging to get an affordable insurance rate. The good news is: if this happens to you, it’s still within your power to secure a lower premium than you might think by comparing insurance rates online.

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Liam Lahey

Liam Lahey is a versatile marketer with experience as a staff and freelance writer for many business and technology publications and newspapers. He previously worked as the editor and media spokesperson for RATESDOTCA, handling home, auto, and travel insurance topics.

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