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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
If you must drive in poor winter weather, be careful, take your time and plan ahead.
The following are some tips provided by Transport Canada to help you avoid collisions.
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.
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.
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.
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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.