Ontario’s New Road Safety Measure, and What it Means to Your Insurance Rates
If you put winter tires on your car this winter, your insurance company owes you a discount.
The announcement was made by the Ontario government on October 14, 2015. As of January 1, 2016, all insurance companies operating in Ontario are required to provide a discount to their policyholders using winter tires. The size of the discount varies from insurance company to insurance company, but is usually at least 2%, and is likely to be at least 5% of the cost of a policy.
To qualify, you must purchase and use a full set of four winter tires, and keep them on your car during the months required by your insurance provider. These can be tires you have already purchased. The discount will be applied upon the renewal of your policy. Compliance is being monitored by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).
A winter tire discount on insurance is nothing new in Ontario – many insurance providers have offered it as part of their policies for years. However, this is the first time in Ontario that such a discount will be mandatory.
At its heart, the new regulations are a safety measure to encourage the use of winter tires and reduce the accident rate on Ontario’s roads. According to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, road surfaces such as snow, slush, and ice were involved in 11.4% of the total collisions for 2012, and in regards to visibility snow, freezing rain, and drifting snow were involved in 9% – for comparison, 34% of accidents in that year took place during December through March, suggesting that environmental issues were a contributing factor in at least a third of these accidents, if not more. Although not ideal outside of the winter months, winter tires are very important in accident prevention during cold weather, particularly when there is ice or uncleared snow on the road – not only do they reduce the braking distance by 25%, but a full set of four tires makes the vehicle considerably more stable than it would be with all-weather tires.
To claim your discount, contact your insurance company once you have purchased and installed your winter tires, and ensure that you keep your receipts in case your insurer needs copies.