To Install Winter Tires or Not?

Jan 12, 2021

As January approaches, the winter season and heavy snow are well on their way. With the harsh winter conditions in Canada, the decision whether to install winter tires or to keep existing tires is debated every year. So how are winter tires viewed from the perspective of insurance companies? 

Recent research data shows that although the original intention of installing winter tires was to reduce car accidents, that may not be the case. Some insurance companies even found vehicles with winter tires installed to have more accidents than vehicles without. The reason was attributed to the false sense of security that winter tires give to the drivers, thereby causing the drivers' over-confident driving in extreme winter conditions. Based on their claims data, a few insurance companies have even reduced the 5% winter tire discount to 2%! 

However, most companies did not adjust winter tire discounts. Instead, they believe those car owners who buy and install winter tires are likely to be safer drivers overall, and that this would result in lower claims experience in the long run. 

Since 2016, Ontario auto insurance companies provided winter tire discounts up to 5% generally with the following compulsory requirements:

- 4 winter tires installed from November to April each year

- A provided receipt of winter tires purchase or installation 

- A pictograph of a peaked mountain with a snowflake must be printed on the winter tires 

With the consideration of premium savings for car owners, reduction in accident rates, and more sales opportunities to manufacturers and garages, winter tires discount is undoubtedly favorable to all parties with economic and social benefits!

For every driver behind the wheel, it is important to know that installing winter tires is only the first step to safe driving in winter. It is also important to properly maintain the vehicle and ensure the snow is cleared from the vehicle exterior before driving. Lastly, it is of the utmost importance to drive carefully according to the road conditions.  

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