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Car Insurance Winter Tire Discount

Winter tires, also known as snow tires, are tires designed for use in ice, snow, and sub-zero temperatures. They have unique features, from the tread pattern to the rubber compound, that allow them to improve driving in the winter.

Outfitting a car with winter tires can make it safer to drive in the winter, which insurance companies in Canada take into account when calculating your car insurance premiums. If you install snow tires on your car over the winter, many insurers will give you a discount on your insurance rates. Keep reading to learn more about car insurance winter tire discounts in Canada.

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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 the end of winter, which is typically March or April in Ontario. However, again, 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.

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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