What Is The Winter Tire Insurance Discount In Ontario?
The winter tire insurance discount is a money-saving opportunity provided by insurance companies to customers for installing winter tires. Savings are up to 5% on your auto insurance premium.
Ontario drivers are well aware of the hazards of winter driving: snow, ice, white-outs, bone-chilling temperatures and bracing winds. For your safety and the safety of others, it is very important to have winter tires on your vehicle. Winter tires are specially designed for winter weather. They have deeper treads, gripping edges and rubber that does not stiffen in the cold the way summer or all season tires do.
It makes sense to have winter tires and it also makes sense to get your winter tire insurance discount. You will be driving safer and you will save.
Drivers are encouraged to speak to their insurance broker about the winter tire insurance discount. It’s a saving that is available, so you may as well get it.
How Does Installing Winter Tires Affect My Insurance Premium?
Installing winter tires will affect your insurance premium by providing you with a discount of up to 5%. At first, this may not seem like a big savings, but, as one of our brokers said: “Even if it’s a little bit, it’s something you don’t have to pay to the insurance company.” Our broker is totally right. Every bit of savings – including the winter tire insurance discount – helps to lower your premium.
Installation Dates Are Important
To qualify for the winter tire insurance discount, some insurance companies require that you have winter tires on your vehicle from November 1 to April 1. Other companies state that your winter tires must be on from November 15. Date requirements vary. Some companies specify installation must be done by November 30 and still others set December 1 as the latest installation date. Insurance brokers are able to tell what your insurance company requires in terms of the installation date and duration of time that the winter tires must be on.
For your safety it is best to get your winter tires on your vehicle earlier than later. Most of us have been in this situation: We get the first snowfall of the season and you immediately think – Got to Get My Snow Tires On!
Then you call the garage and the mechanics are snowed under with customers wanting to install their winter tires. Yup, it’s best to get this done before the snow falls. You are also sure to qualify for the winter tire insurance discount if you get the winter tires on early.
How Many Winter Tires Do I Need To Have Installed On My Vehicle To Get The Winter Tire Insurance Discount?
All four tires on your vehicle need to be winter tires in order to qualify for the winter tire insurance discount. For best safety and performance, you need to have all four wheels equipped with winter tires. A matched set is best and your vehicle’s manual – in booklet form and usually available online – will indicate details of the tires that are appropriate for your vehicle. This includes size, load capacity and speed rating. Mismatched tires can have different tread patterns, tread depths and sizes which can impact your safety, according to Kal Tire. “It might not seem like much, but if the tread depth in your tires is off by more than 2/32”, it can affect the way your vehicle handles and responds. This’ll be accentuated by adverse winter driving conditions.”
Do All-Season Tires Qualify For The Winter Tire Insurance Discount?
No, all-season tires don’t qualify for the snow tire insurance discount. This is because all-season tires don’t provide the same degree of safety in cold and snowy weather driving conditions.
According to Kal Tire, “All-season tires are not designed for areas that receive continual snow and low temperatures. All-season tires provide safe driving for all types of weather; however winter tires are designed for severe winter conditions and provide better traction.
The Ontario government notes that all-season tires can start to lose their grip on the road at 7C.
Winter tires are specifically designed to provide traction and increased safety in winter driving conditions. Features such as tread depth, tread patterns and the tread rubber of winter tires contribute to better safety when driving in harsh snow conditions.
The snow tire insurance discount is an incentive to install tires that are safer for the drivers of vehicles in the winter weather. The goal is to increase safety and reduce the likelihood of getting into an accident while driving in snowy, icy winter weather.
How Much Is The Winter Tire Insurance Discount?
The winter tire insurance discount can save you up 5% on our auto insurance. As an example, if your annual car insurance premium is $2,000, the winter tire discount would reduce your premium to $1,900.
We have provided rounded numbers to provide you with a general understanding of the savings that can be realized. Note also that the maximum saving is 5%. Many insurance companies cap the winter tire insurance discount at 2% or 3%. Also noteworthy is that, some companies require proof of winter tires with a receipt or a photo of installed tires. This can be sent to your broker. Lastly, most companies will automatically renew the winter tire insurance discount so you do not have to re-apply each year.
The table below provides a guide of potential savings with the snow tire insurance discount.
If your insurance premium is:
Your 5% savings (if applicable):
Your new insurance premium:
Where Can I Get The Winter Tire Insurance Discount?
An insurance broker can help you to get your winter tire insurance discount in Ontario. You will need to notify your broker that you have installed winter tires. In some cases you may have to provide proof that you have installed the winter tires. Proof can be provided by sending your broker a photo of your winter tires installed on your vehicle or by providing the broker with a receipt demonstrating that the winter tires have been installed.
Since January 2016 the Ontario government has required insurance companies to offer drivers a winter tire insurance discount. Morison Insurance is pleased to offer this discount because we believe that drivers deserve to save on their insurance premium when they install winter specific tires which improve everyone’s safety on winter roads.
Isn’t it time you got your winter tire insurance discount?
Do I Have To Notify My Insurance Broker Again This Year To Get The Winter Tire Insurance Discount?
You do not need to inform your insurance broker each year about your winter tires to receive your winter tire insurance discount. It will automatically be applied the next year. You can check the discount section of your auto insurance policy documents to see if the winter tire insurance discount has been applied.
If for some reason you choose not to install your winter tires in any given year contact your broker and the discount will be removed.
The winter tire insurance discount continues to be applied to lower your premium. Some companies do have a maximum number of years that the winter tire insurance discount – 6 years, in one case – can be applied, but most companies do not have a maximum number of years for which you can receive the savings.
How Long Do Winter Tires Last?
Some tire sales companies note that a driver can often get two to three winter seasons out of their winter tires before they should be replaced. A factor here is the depth of the treads which is reduced with usage. Traction and handling can be affected if the treads are reduced. We advise that it is always best to speak to a tire expert to get the details on winter tires, your needs, installation, how long your winter tires will last, if new ones are needed and other important details.
How Do I Know If It Is A Winter Tire?
Winter tires feature a logo of a peaked mountain with a snowflake on the rubber. This symbol is visible on the tires to indicate they are suitable for winter driving.
This symbol is visible on winter tires to indicate they are suitable for winter driving.
Please note that studded tires are not permitted in Southern Ontario. Studded tires are permitted on vehicles that are registered in Northern Ontario. The exception to the no-studded tires in Southern Ontario rule is if you are visiting Southern Ontario from northern regions or if you are visiting from outside Ontario.
Winter Tires Shorten Braking Distance
Winter tires reduce the likelihood of auto accidents because they grip the road better with better treads. Handling in snow, ice, frost and slush is improved. The Ontario government also says that braking distances are shortened by as much as 25% if you have winter tires that are in good condition. The Ontario government also suggests checking your tire pressure monthly as cold weather can reduce tire pressure and make it harder to drive safely.
When Should You Put On Your Winter Tires?
You should put on winter tires when the temperature in your area dips to 7C or less. This is because the safety of all-season tires is reduced at these temperatures.
In fact, these temperatures are exactly those when winter tires begin doing their best to improve safety. Winter tires are specially designed with treads and rubber compounds made to work in winter weather. The rubber remains flexible and the treads prevent snow buildup so they provide better traction.
As mentioned, to qualify for the winter tire insurance discount, you will need to check with your insurance broker to find out the installation dates and duration of winter tire usage required by the insurance company. Some companies will provide a winter tire insurance discount if you install your tires by December 1. Other companies require installation by November 1. Speak to an insurance broker to find out more about precisely when you should put on your winter tires to get the winter tire insurance discount.
When Should You Take Off Your Winter Tires?
You should take off your winter tires after the temperature is consistently above 7C.
If you are like most of us, you are ready to say goodbye to winter as soon as the first signs of spring appear. In terms of tires, wait for spring to be firmly here. We can get slushy snow in early spring in Ontario.
An Insurance Broker Can Help
From an insurance point of view, you are required to have your winter tires on until the date specified by your insurance company in order to receive the winter tire insurance discount. Some insurance companies require that you keep your winter tires on until March 31. Others specify April 1. An insurance broker can advise you on the insurance company’s requirements.
The goal is to ensure you have your winter tires on your vehicle until the temperature is consistently above 7C and the threat of frost, ice, snow and other nasty winter weather conditions have passed.
Why Are Winter Tires Important?
Winter tires are important because they improve your winter driving safety. They grip the road better with rubber formulated for winter temperatures, deep treads, and biting edges. Your safety will be greater with winter tires on your vehicle. This includes your safety and the safety of others on the road.
Most People Think Winter Tires Improve Their Safety
A survey done by Leger in 2018 found that 76% of Canadians own winter tires, which is an increase from 2017, notes the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada. Results also show that Canadians under 55 are more likely to own winter tires. In Ontario specifically, 69% of those surveyed own winter tires.
It also interesting to note that the survey showed that 80% of respondents feel that winter tires have saved them from a hazardous driving situation.
In a nutshell, winter tires do the following
- Provide better traction
- Provide improved braking and vehicle handling
- Make drivers feel more confident driving in winter weather conditions
- Improve road safety in general
- Reduce losses, damage, accidents and insurance claims
It’s also important to note that safety is improved when drivers are educated on how to drive safely in winter weather. To help you know more about driving safely in winter, please read the tips below.
Tips To Drive Safely In Snowy, Icy Weather.
Winter driving can be dangerous. A clear, sunny winter day can quickly turn to snowy, blowy and icy road conditions. Even on sunny days black ice can lurk on roads.
Our insurance team wants to help keep you and others safe. Here are some tips to travel safely on the roads this winter.
- Keep a winter “survival kit” in your car. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety suggests having the following items in your vehicle:
- Properly fitting tire chains
- Bag of sand or salt (or kitty litter)
- Tow rope
- Traction mats
- Snow shovel
- Snow brush
- Ice scraper
- Booster cables
- Warning devices such as flares or emergency lights
- Fuel line de-icer (methanol, also called methyl alcohol or methyl hydrate)
- Extra windshield wiper fluid appropriate for sub-freezing temperatures
- Roll of paper towels
- Flashlight and a portable flashing light (and extra batteries)
- Extra clothing, including hat and wind-proof pants, and warm footwear
- First aid kit
- Snack bars or other “emergency” food and water
- Matches and emergency candles – only use with a window opened to prevent build-up of carbon monoxide
- Road maps
- “Call Police” or other help signs or brightly coloured banners
Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle to handle any emergency that includes blankets, a shovel, flashlight, extra windshield wiper fluid etc.
- Check weather conditions often. Be aware of blizzards, heavy snow, freezing rain or drizzle, cold winds, and black ice. Check on your phone or radio for weather updates.
- Make sure your vehicle is tuned up. Prepare for winter by getting a complete checkup. Have your mechanic look at your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, coolant/antifreeze, oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, wipers, ignition system and tires. Have winter tires installed. For more details on the right tires for winter read the winter tire blog on our website. (You can also save money on your insurance if you have winter tires. Let us know if you install winter tires and our insurance brokers will help you to get these savings.)
- Check the tires and tire pressure at least once a month when the tires are cold.
- Make sure wipers are in good condition and have lots of windshield cleaning fluid. Make sure your washer fluid is rated for temperatures as low as -40C.
Tips For Safety When You Are On The Road:
If you must drive in poor winter weather, be careful, take your time and plan ahead.
- Make sure you have enough fuel in the tank before you head out. Try to keep the tank full.
- Have a charged cellphone with you.
- Make sure you are alert and well rested when you are driving.
- Check that your mirrors, windshield and all windows are cleared of snow and frost before you begin your travels. Clean off the entire car to ensure your car is visible by other drivers.
- Wear your seatbelt and be sure all passengers are belted in appropriately. Children need to be seats that are appropriate for them.
- If you need to get off the road, try to stop at a rest area or exit to a safe area. If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as you can. Other drivers frequently strike vehicles parked on the side of the road. Always put you emergency flashers are on to alert other drivers.
- Let another person know when you are travelling, where you are going and when you expect to get there.
- Avoid passing another vehicle, if possible, when weather and road conditions are poor.
- If you are stuck on the road in a storm or in a snow drift, try not to panic.
- Use your cellphone to call for help. Avoid overexerting yourself and over exposing yourself to harsh weather. Shoveling in cold temperatures can be deadly. Stay in your car. Run your motor sparingly. Beware of exhaust fumes and the possibility of carbon monoxide. Ensure the tailpipe is not blocked by snow. Let some air in the car to keep air fresh and clean. Use a candle for heat, instead of the car heater, if possible. Set out a warning light or flares. Exercise your limbs and don’t fall asleep. Keep watch for those coming to help you. Wear a hat to keep you warmer. We lose up to 60% of our body heat through our head.
Tips To Avoid Collisions:
The following are some tips provided by Transport Canada to help you avoid collisions.
- The danger of skidding is greatest when you are taken by surprise. Since not all vehicles respond in the same way to icy, slippery roads, learn how to handle your vehicle in all types of weather. Read the owner’s manual to learn about your vehicle’s braking system and tire traction. You may also consider taking a winter driving course.
- In winter weather, avoid using cruise control.
- A good way to avoid skidding is to drive slowly. Give yourself extra time to drive to your destination and be very careful when you brake, change lanes, make turns and take curves.
How Do Winter Tires Work In Winter Weather?
Winter tires grip the road better in the winter because they are specifically designed to work in winter weather conditions of cold, ice and snow.
Bridgestone outlines specific design features such as tread rubber that keeps to the road better in the winter and deeper treads that reduce the buildup of snow and channel snow and slush to permit better traction on the road.
Yes, winter tires can be expensive, but they provide more safety. If you avoid getting into an accident, the money spent on winter tires is well worth it.
Consumer Reports notes that “more than half of Canadian drivers install winter/snow tires on their cars, and they see a real benefit. There are fewer winter-related accidents, injuries, and deaths when cars are required to be fitted with winter/snow tires, notes Consumer Reports citing a Quebec-based study.
Where To Buy Winter Tires?
You can buy winter tires from automotive garages and tire dealerships, and there are many manufacturers of winter tires. There are usually service centres at car sales dealerships or you may have a favorite garage near your home or where you work. Most garages will quickly order in the tires you require if they do not have them in stock. We encourage you to read the tire, service centre and garage companies’ online reviews before you select a garage and make an appointment. Online reviews are a good guide when you are determining where to take your business.
Searching online for the best winter tires in Canada will bring up lots of results. Some well-known tire manufacturers are Bridgestone, Firestone and Goodyear. Again, reading online reviews can be helpful to steer you in the right direction.
Are You Getting Your Winter Tire Insurance Discount?
To get your winter tire insurance discount, contact Morison Insurance. We can get you the snow tire insurance discount on your auto insurance AND all discounts you qualify for. Our winter tire discounts is just one of dozens of discounts we offer to help lower your insurance costs.
How can i see if I’m already getting the discount? You can check the discount section on your auto insurance policy documents to see if the winter tire insurance discount has been applied.
Our brokers are insurance professionals who will help you make informed choices for your, auto, home, business, life and more. If you have it, we can insure it. We shop more than two dozen of Canada’s best insurance companies to get you several competitive quotes for your insurance with the right coverages based on your lifestyle. You can choose which quote you would like to purchase and we will get you insured.
This blog is written by our Morison Insurance team. It is provided for general information only. Insurance needs differ from person to person, and this article is therefore not a substitute for professional advice about your individual insurance needs which can be obtained by speaking to one of our brokers.