Winter Tire Insurance Discount: Drive Safe and Save!

What Is The Winter Tire Insurance Discount In Ontario?

The winter tire auto insurance discount is a money-saving opportunity insurance companies provide 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 imperative 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 as summer or all-season tires do. The deeper treads allow the vehicle to brake earlier, making avoiding a possible collision easier.

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 money on your insurance.

Drivers should speak to their insurance broker about the winter tire insurance discount. It's an available saving with no strings attached, so there's no reason to decline it.

How Does Installing Winter Tires Affect My Insurance Premium?

Installing winter tires will affect your insurance premium by giving you a discount of up to 5%. At first, this may not seem like significant 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 correct. Every bit of savings - including the winter tire insurance discount - helps to lower your premium.

It also must be remembered that this saving comes out to 5% of the entire year, not just the winter, allowing for bigger savings than it would seem. After adding up these savings year after year, the long-term savings are quite significant.

When To Change To Winter Tires

There are two factors to consider here, and both must be weighed before you decide when to add on your winter tires. These factors must be weighed to account for your safety and your Ontario winter tire insurance discount.

The first factor to consider is the temperature and how it impacts your driving safety. It is recommended you put on winter tires when the temperature in your area dips to 7 degrees C or less regularly. This is because the safety of all-season tires is reduced at these temperatures. These temperatures are precisely 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 build-up, providing better traction.

The second factor to consider when determining when to change to winter tires is the date and how it relates to your insurance company determining your discount. As mentioned, to qualify for the winter tire insurance discount, you must 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 discount winter tire insurance if you install your tires by December 1. Other companies require installation by November 1. We recommend that you speak to your insurance broker to find out precisely when you should put on your winter tires to get the winter tire insurance discount.

When To Take Off Your Winter Tires

You should take off your winter tires after the temperature is consistently above 7C. This is because winter tires are less effective in warmer weather than all-season tires. However, most insurance providers also have a date that your winter tires must be left on to retain your discount. This date is usually around the beginning of April but does vary outside of that.

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 so that you're not constantly switching back and forth between different tires. Ontario can get slushy snow in early spring.

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 must be winter tires to qualify for the Ontario winter tire insurance discount. For best safety and performance, you need to have all four wheels equipped with winter tires.

However, you shouldn't just slam together the first four winter tires that you see and have them put on your vehicle. Tires seem like something you shouldn't think twice about, but they are much more nuanced and complex than many think. 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. According to Kal Tire, mismatched tires can have different tread patterns, tread depths and sizes, which can impact your safety. "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. Adverse winter driving conditions accentuate this."

Do All-Season Tires Qualify For The Winter Tire Insurance Discount?

Sadly, all-season tires don't qualify for the Ontario winter tire insurance discount. This is because all-season tires don't provide the same safety in cold and snowy driving conditions.

Kal Tire states, "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. This is the point at which winter tires become more effective, as their tighter treads allow for better traction in the cold.

All Season Tires Vs. Winter Tires

Many people don't fully understand the differences between summer and winter tires. They generally know that you should change to winter tires before winter starts and switch back soon after winter's over, but they don't fully understand the specifics.

Despite the fact that all-season tires and winter tires may look the same at a glance, there are a few subtle but significant differences between them. All-season tires are made of a softer rubber and have larger blocks in their trends. This allows for maximum contact with the ground, making them great in warm weather, in both wet and arid conditions. They can perform well in all weather conditions if the weather is warmer than seven degrees Celsius. Winter tires are, in many ways, the opposite of this. Their treads are very thin to get a tighter grip and avoid snow and sludge build-up, and the rubber is designed to get a better grip on the firmer, colder pavement. This helps them keep a grip in colder weather, but they lose effectiveness in warmer weather.

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, indicating they are suitable for winter driving.

Please note that studded tires are not permitted in Southern Ontario. Studded tires are allowed 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 Tire Insurance Discount - Tire Symbol - Morison Insurance

An example of the mountain peak and snowflake that appear on winter tires.

How Much Is The Winter Tire Insurance Discount?

The winter tire insurance discount can save you up to 5% on our auto insurance. For example, if your annual car insurance premium is $2,000, the winter tire discount would lower your premium to $1,900, saving you $100.

We have provided rounded numbers to give you 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 automatically renew the winter tire insurance discount, so you do not have to re-apply yearly.

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:

$1,200

$60

$1,140

$2,000

$100

$1,900

$2,500

$125

$2,375

$3,500

$175

$3,325

$4,000

$200

$3,800

$5,000

$250

$4,750

$7,000

$350

$6,650

 

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 if you want the Ontario winter tire insurance discount. Sometimes, you may have to prove 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 drivers deserve to save on their insurance premiums when installing winter-specific tires, improving everyone's safety on winter roads.

Isn't it time you saved money and 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 about your winter tires each year 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 have a maximum age that the winter tires can be to get you the insurance discount – 6 years, in one case - can be applied. Once you replace the winter tires with new ones, you are eligible for the discount again.

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 on average 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. 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 information.

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 need you to 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 to ensure the safety of your vehicle and everyone in it.

Why Are Winter Tires Important?

Winter tires are essential because they improve your winter driving safety. They grip the road better with rubber formulated for winter temperatures, deep treads, and biting edges. This allows them to brake faster and more effectively than all-season tires, reducing slipping and lowering the chances of a collision. Your safety will be greater with winter tires on your vehicle. This includes your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Do Winter Tires Improve Safety? 

Yes, when driven in the winter. The tighter trends and differing material winter tires have improves their traction. These changes combine to allow winter tires more traction and easier stopping in the cold. 

Canadians, as a whole, are convinced of the benefits. 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.

Notably, 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.

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. When temperatures drop below seven degrees Celsius, they become more effective than all-season tires.

Bridgestone outlines specific design features such as tread rubber that keeps to the road better in the winter and deeper treads that reduce the build-up 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 must be fitted with winter/snow tires, notes Consumer Reports, citing a Quebec-based study.

Do Winter Tires Work In Summer? 

Using winter tires in summer is similar to using all-season tires in winter: you're allowed to do it, and they technically function as tires, but you won't be optimally protected. The rubber that winter tires are made with is designed to work specifically in cold temperatures and has difficulty in heat. This means that they are more prone to blowing out or overinflating. They also tend to increase braking distance, especially at higher speeds significantly.

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 favourite garage near your home or where you work. Most garages will quickly order 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.

How Do I Get 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, your winter tire discount, and any other discounts you qualify for. Our winter tire discount is just one of dozens of discounts we offer to help lower your insurance costs.

How can you see if you're 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 from 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 content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

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