Winter roads do not offer the easiest driving conditions. And with the wrong equipment, it becomes an even bigger challenge. We all know what it is like taking your car out on a snowy day. You skid at every turn, you do not know if your brakes are enough to stop you from rolling. It could be a stressful experience even for the most experienced drivers. Yet, there are a few ways to make it easier for the rest of us. One of the ways is to get snow tires. Because of the additional safety, and to cut back on insurance costs, the province of Ontario mandates all insurance companies to give discounts for snow tires. This has been in effect since January 2016.
You could identify these tires by looking for the symbol of a mountain peak with a snowflake. Unlike regular tires or even all-season tires, winter tires stay supple down to -40 degrees C. All-season tires or mud-and-snow tires, meanwhile, start to firm up like hockey pucks at 7 degrees C. This results in better traction on ice and sleet, and fewer chances of slipping. In other words, not only would snow tires help you save on insurance costs, they make it safer for you to be out there too.
What Is The Discount on Winter Tires?
While the provincial government of Ontario required discounts to be given, they did not mandate the rate. They said it was to encourage competition among insurance companies. As a result, insurance companies on average offer 2-5% discounts. Most companies do not offer this discount on the whole policy either. They would usually just put this discount on a certain portion of the policy. For example, in the case of Aviva Canada, they place the discount on the collision portion. Because this makes up 90% of their car insurance policies, that becomes a significant chunk off of the total amount.
However, it is important to note that this is not the case for everyone. Some insurers will take this cost out from somewhere else. It would be best to ask insurance brokers in detail about these differences, as these will determine how much you save in the end.
How Do You Get a Discount on Winter Tires?
There are a few main requirements for you to get a discount on winter tires. First, the mountain peak and snowflake logo must appear on all four tires. This signifies that they are the right kind of tires. Tires must not be mixed and matched either, as this compromises safety. Second, you must have them on on the dates specified by your insurer. Different companies require you to use your winter tires on different dates. For example, TD’s insurance company says winter tires must be on from December to March. Meanwhile, Aviva Canada stipulates they must be on from November to April.
You do not have to show any paperwork or proof when asking for the discount. The insurer might want to see the receipt from the purchase, but that’s it. Because of this, it could be tempting to ask for a discount but not actually use the tires. If you do this, however, your claim could be rejected if your winter tires are not in use.
Is It Worth It?
Winter tires are expensive. It could start from around $70 to upwards of $200, plus tax, depending on the size you buy. Multiply that by four, and you spend at least $500 on tires you would be using for a few months each year. As a result, many try to use the tires all year. The result is poorer road safety in the summer months when winter tires do not work as well. But you do not have to resort to this to make the cost worth it. On average, considering the price of winter tires and the discount you get, you would have gotten your money’s worth after seven years.
This might not be rewarding enough for some people. However, at the end of the day, winter tires are about safety. They are not just a way to get a discount on your insurance coverage. The amount you would be paying for includes peace of mind and extra security in addition to qualifying for a discount on insurance.
Are Winter Tires Required by Law?
Ontario does not legally mandate the use of winter tires. This is because of the high cost, which might be difficult for many. However, the provincial government’s move to give discounts is a way to encourage residents to avail of this extra precaution. Not only do they create safer roads, but getting them also gives users additional incentives in the form of insurance discounts.
Since 2016, insurance companies in Ontario have been giving discounts on winter tires. This is because the provincial government mandated it, to help lower insurance costs. However, the government did not regulate the discount rates offered. As a result, different insurance companies offer different rates. On average, it ranges from 2-5%. The discount also affects the final price differently depending on where it is placed on different components of the policy.
To avail of the discount, all four of your tires must be marked with the mountain peak and snowflake logo. They must also be in use during your insurer’s designated months. While you do not need to show extra proof that you are using snow tires, it is still best not to lie to your company in the event of an accident.
In the end, while not required, snow tires do a lot for road safety. It is not only for your own safety but for the safety of other motorists and pedestrians too. The insurance discount is just an added bonus that would pay off in terms of peace of mind and added security.