Are winter tires mandatory in Canada?
Winter tires are not federally mandated, however, two provinces have issued winter tire mandates: British Columbia and Quebec. BC’s mandate is highway-specific rather than province-wide, meaning you only need to install winter tires on your vehicle if you regularly drive on provincial highways outside of the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island.
In contrast, Quebec’s winter tire mandate is province-wide, meaning all drivers in Quebec must equip their cars with winter tires between December 1st and March 15th every year. Outside of these two provinces, there is no legal requirement to install winter tires on your vehicle in any other Canadian province or territory. However, many provincial and local governments recommend it due to their safety and have worked with insurance companies to incentivize drivers by offering winter tire car insurance discounts.
When should I install winter tires on my car?
Winter tires perform best in temperatures below 7°C, so we recommend waiting until temperatures are consistently below 7°C. This marker is your best bet since the all-season tires perform best in temperatures above 7°C.
Therefore, the best time of year to install winter tires on your car will vary by location and can even change from year to year. However, drivers should consider having their winter tires installed in October or November and removed in March or April. Be sure to check the specific dates that your insurance provider requires winter tires to be on your vehicle if you want to qualify for the discount.
When should I remove my car’s winter tires?
Winter tires shouldn’t be removed until winter's end, typically in March or April in Ontario. However, checking with your insurance provider is crucial if you want to take advantage of the winter tire car insurance discount. While an insurance company is unlikely to check in on the status of your winter tires, they could deny your claim or cancel your policy if you’re caught driving without them during the specified dates.
How do I qualify for a winter tire car insurance discount?
Since January 2016, all insurance companies in Ontario have been required to provide a discount to customers who install snow tires on their cars between specific dates. Dates vary but are typically between the months of December and March.
More specifically, Ontario drivers who qualify for a winter tire discount can save up to 5% on their car insurance policies. While the exact discount and time frames vary between insurance providers, most drivers need to meet the following conditions to be eligible for the discount:
- You must purchase a set of four winter tires (ensure they are winter tires by carefully checking that they have the winter tire emblem — a snowflake inside a mountain peak)
- You must install the winter tires on your car before your insurance company’s specified dates
- You must notify your insurance provider that you’ve bought and/or plan to install winter tires (keep a copy of the receipt or invoice)
Please note that most winter tire car insurance discounts are applicable for the entire duration of your auto insurance policy. However, it’s always smart to inquire about the discount upon renewal or when switching to a new insurance provider.
How much can you save on auto insurance with a winter tire discount?
Insurance companies offer discounts up to 5% on car insurance premiums for those who install winter tires on their vehicles. Though a 5% discount may not sound like much, it could save you $75 on a $1,500 auto insurance policy, which over the years, can quickly add up.
Winter tire safety tips
Before purchasing a new set of winter tires for your vehicle, read the tips below to ensure you make the most of your new snow tires:
- Install four winter tires on your vehicle: Installing only two snow tires on the front can cause your vehicle to oversteer. Meanwhile, installing only two on the back will cause your vehicle to understeer. A full set of four tires ensures maximum safety.
- Avoid mixing tires: The winter tires you install on your vehicle should all be the same. Mixing tires with different tread patterns or of different sizes can impact stability and make them less safe to drive.
- Check the wear of each tire before installing: If you’re installing an old pair of winter tires on your car, be sure to check the wear. Winter tires become less effective and even unsafe once the tread has worn to a certain level.
- Inflate your tires properly: Tire pressure drops fast in the winter, so remember to check your tire pressure monthly. Proper tire pressure can not only make your car safer to drive but can also increase the lifespan of your tires.
Other car insurance discounts you may be eligible for
Now that you are aware of the winter tire insurance discounts that are available, we’re going to let you in on a few other car insurance discounts you may be eligible for:
1. Electric vehicle discount
Minimize your environmental impact while saving on car insurance with the electric vehicle auto insurance discount. In Ontario, drivers can save up to 5% on car insurance by driving an eco-friendly vehicle, like a hybrid or electric vehicle.
2. Driving school discount
Young drivers who successfully graduate from an approved driver training program may be eligible for car insurance discounts. Insurance companies recognize that driving schools provide valuable skills that make people safer, more responsible drivers, and they reward them with a discount. To be eligible for a driving school discount, attend an approved driving school in your province, such as the Young Drivers of Canada program.
3. Telematics discount
Another discount drivers may be eligible for is a telematics discount. This discount works as follows: you install a telematics device in your car (or use a similar app that tracks your driving habits), and the safer you drive, the better the discount you will qualify for. The application rates driving habits, such as hard braking, fast accelerating or driving recklessly. This information is not shared with other third party companies and is only for the purposes of providing an extra discount on auto insurance. Many insurance providers in Ontario offer telematics-based discounts or discounts for drivers that use specific driving apps.
4. Bundling insurance policies discount
Bundling multiple insurance policies is another discount that may be applicable to many drivers. Insurance companies reward customers who purchase multiple insurance products from them. For example, if you purchase car insurance and home insurance from the same company, you could save between 15% and 20% on each respective policy. As an added bonus, buying insurance policies from the same insurer is often more convenient than dealing with multiple providers and their unique terms.
5. Retirees discount
Senior drivers can save money on car insurance simply because of their age and job status. As retiring means that you are often using your vehicle less and not during peak traffic hours. More specifically, if you are retired and living in Ontario, you might be able to save up to 15% on your policy each year.
6. Insuring multiple vehicles discount
Insure multiple cars with the same insurance broker and you might be eligible for a discount of up to 15%. The principle behind this discount is the same as the bundling policies discount in that by spending more money with the same insurance provider, you can save money. Therefore, if you are looking to insure more than one car in the same household (e.g. you and your spouse’s vehicles), consider bundling them together and you could save a lot.
Contact BrokerLink to find out if you’re eligible for the car insurance winter tires discount
Still have questions about the winter tire car insurance discount? BrokerLink can answer all your questions about this discount, including how to qualify for it and what discount might be eligible for. Plus, as auto insurance experts, we can let you in on some other money-saving tips so contact us today! We can be reached by phone, email, or in person at one of our many locations across Canada. You can also request a free auto insurance quote using our online quote tool now.
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