Can I get an insurance discount for using winter tires in Ontario?

Research shows that one of the best ways to increase your safety on the roads during the winter is to install winter tires. Earlier this year, the government of Ontario decreed that insurance companies must pass the savings associated with winter tire use along to customers who use them.

Savings for consumers and safety for all – great idea, right? In theory, yes, but as the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) reports, “the implementation of this new policy … has been anything but straightforward.”

First of all, even though the program was announced this past spring, “the law doesn’t formally come into effect until January 1, 2016 – a good two months after Ontarians face winter driving conditions. In the interim, the majority of policy holders will have renewed their annual insurance and won’t have the opportunity to take advantage of the savings.”

Second, there is substantial variation between insurance companies over what tires consider eligible, and other specifics related to the discount.

The OTLA shares a few key points for Ontarians who want to take advantage of this new program:

  • Find out what type of tires their insurer considers to be “winter tires”

  • Make sure that all four tires on the car meet the requirements;

  • Find out what months the insurer requires the tires to be on the car;

  • Find out if the insurer will pro-rate the discount for the policy period; and

  • Find out what percentage discount the insurer is offering.

For more details, see the OTLA’s blog post, “Tis the Season for Winter Tires and Ontario Insurers are playing Scrooge with the Discounts“.