A friend of mine gave me a ride home from brunch a few weeks ago, and when we got in her car, we noticed a big orange envelope on the windshield. If you live in Chicago, you know what this means—ticket!
At first, we thought maybe the meter had run out. After opening the envelope, however, it turned out to be much worse. She hadn’t renewed her Chicago city sticker (an annual must-do for Chicago residents with vehicles) and it had expired more than a month ago. The ticket was $200.
Anyway, it got me thinking about all the little things we have to remember to update or renew annually for our cars to avoid tickets. Forget, and you’re obviously looking at potentially hundreds of dollars down the drain. Here’s a list of what to set reminders for, to ensure this doesn’t happen to you:
- Renew your city stickers, if applicable. In a city like Chicago, these cost $75 a year. No fun, but necessary, considering the ticket is more than two times the price.
- Renew your license plates and registration. You should receive a reminder in the mail from your Secretary of State’s office. If not, check the sticker on the back of your license plate to see when it expires. Make sure you renew it in advance; updated registration cards and stickers can take up to six weeks to get through the mail. It depends where you live, but it will run you $35 to $50.
- Your auto insurance policy. I keep mine on auto-renew. However, if you’d prefer not to, set a reminder in your calendar to review your policy every six months. Make a change if necessary, but don’t go without coverage. Different states have different rules, but some auto insurance is usually mandatory.
I haven’t seen that big orange envelope on my car in a while, and I’m hoping to keep it that way! (Especially since if you don’t pay your tickets in Chicago, you get the dreaded “boot”—see below!)