It’s that time of the year again; time to pull your winter tires out of storage and back onto your cars.
As of January of 2016, the Ontario government mandated that all insurance providers offer a discount for motorists who have snow or winter tires on their vehicles. In terms of promoting safe driving in the winter as well as a benefit for consumers’ pocket books, the discount has been widely successful and many consumers have taken advantage of it.
So as winter approaches and people are looking to place their winter tires back on their cars to brave through those slippery roads, perhaps it is prudent to review the criteria for getting the Winter Tire Discount. The following are criteria as set out by Unica Insurance, but they can generally apply to all the standard insurance markets available.
- You have to have the winter tires on your vehicle continuously between the months of November to March. With the way climate change has altered traditional weather patterns, who’s to say how long winter lasts year after year, but for now insurance companies are using these specific months as the period of time people normally have winter tires on their vehicles.
- The tires have to be specifically designated snow/winter tires. Mud / snow tires, or all season tires do not qualify. Think about it; if they’re All Season tires that means they’re on your vehicle all year round, and not specifically for the winter months only. Likewise, if they’re mud / snow tires, it’s the mud part that concerns insurers because mud is another one of those road conditions that do not specifically apply to just winter seasons. One thing about insurance companies; they’re very specific in what type of risks they are insuring. Winter Tires means winter tires!
- The Winter Tire Symbol: According to Kal Tire (see link), the severe service winter tire designation looks like a peaked mountain with a snowflake in the middle. When you see a tire with the mountain snowflake pictograph on the sidewall, you know it meets specific snow traction performance requirements set by Transport Canada and the Rubber Association of Canada. So if you’re not sure if your winter tires are winter tires, just look for the little mountain peak with the snowflake!
- All four of your winter tires need to be installed on your vehicle for the discount to apply. Not just the front two wheels, or the two rear ones, but all four. Why would you want to drive on icy road conditions with only two winter tires in the front and not in the back? That is a sure-fire way to cause a major car accident.