When every person starts driving in Canada, they are responsible for following the relevant road rules of their province, including parking their vehicle in the right spot.
The most common reason why drivers get parking tickets is because they park in an inappropriate area for too long. The parking ticket represents a non/moving violation that may require you to pay a significant fine before a set date. Getting a parking ticket can be stressful and expensive at the same time, especially if its not paid before the due date, it could have an impact on your driving record and could eventually increase your car insurance rate as well.
In this article we will explain how parking tickets can affect your car insurance rates and how to avoid these types of fines finding their way to you.
How Much Is a Parking Ticket?
Parking tickets can be as hefty as any other traffic tickets, these fines can range anywhere from $20 to $450 depending on the type of ticket you receive and the city you receive it in. You can check each city’s website to get a list of what is considered a parking infraction and the associated fees in that area.
Why Drivers Get Parking Tickets in Canada
According to the city of Toronto, almost 1.5 million parking tickets were issued in 2021. The high volume of parking violations is due to several common reasons, some of which include, for example:
- Exceed the parking meter time limit on a specific parking spot.
- Leave your car in a no-parking area.
- Park right next to a fire hydrant.
- Park in an accessible parking area without having a valid permit.
What Happens If I Don’t Pay a Parking Ticket?
You may be thinking that not paying a parking ticket won’t cause you much harm but in reality, if you don’t pay the fine, you will not be able to renew your driver’s license or license plate until you’ve paid in full.
Most parking tickets in Toronto give you 15 days to pay your fine, even if you don’t pay during that time, you will receive a reminder in the mail before your information is provided to the Ministry of Transportation. Some cities are mindful that anyone can miss paying a fine, so they offer incentives, like reducing the fee, to help you pay earlier.
How Do Parking Tickets Affect Car Insurance Rates?
Parking tickets aren’t considered moving violations so that means they don’t affect your insurance rates directly as other tickets do. Some examples of moving violations are speeding, failing to signal, and failing to stop at a red light or stop sign.
Moving violations can have a more direct impact on your driving record and subsequently your auto insurance rates while non-moving violations, such as red light camera tickets and parking tickets, don’t leave a bad record or alert insurers. The reason for this is because non-moving violations don’t represent a risk for the driver or the car.
However, its important to remember that paying these tickets late can affect your credit score negatively and since car insurance companies will review this information before determining your rate its something to keep in mind.
How to Avoid Letting Parking Tickets Increase Your Insurance Rates
We recommend paying your parking tickets as soon as possible. The consequences of paying late or not paying at all can escalate the longer you leave it, you’ll end up having more issues and paying more than the initial ticket. Instead of not paying, consider the following:
- If you think the parking ticket is unfair or was made by mistake you can dispute it, some cities in Ontario give the option to dispute online before a set date. You can also reach out to the city through a letter where you explain why you think the ticket is unwarranted and the circumstances around the claim. Before you send the letter, make sure to attach a copy of the ticket, your contact information and any other supporting evidence like photos or videos of the hidden sign or broken meter.
- If the ticket’s cost is very high and you can’t pay it all at once, you can call the city or visit their website to find out if they have a payment plan option or simply ask for other arrangements, so your ticket doesn’t appear late on their records.
- Instead of letting the parking ticket pass the due date, borrow the money from a family or friend and pay the ticket as soon as you can. Another option is asking for an advance on your paycheck from your employer.
How To Prevent Parking Tickets
When you’re driving around trying to find a parking spot, be careful of where you park and make sure to look for signs that indicate you’re allowed to park in that specific spot or area. In Ontario, some areas have time limits or only allow parking during times of the day or specific days of the week.
When you park in a metered area make sure to bring plenty of change and keep track of how long you paid for parking. A smart way to remember is by setting a timer on your phone to remind you about your parking. When setting an alarm, you may also want to give yourself a few extra minutes to walk back to your car and leave on time or add more change to the meter.
If you notice the parking meter doesn’t work, you should park in a different spot. It’s not easy to prove that the meter is damaged, especially if you are not present when the local parking officer leaves the ticket on your windshield.
Lastly, if you are having difficulties trying to find a free parking spot or you don’t want to keep paying for parking each time, you could consider renting a parking space in a garage, asking your employer for parking assistance, or taking public transportation and leaving your vehicle parked safely elsewhere.