Can I get a discount on my car insurance if I have winter tires?

Q:

Can I get a discount on my car insurance if I have winter tires?

A:

The short answer is yes, you can get a discount on your car insurance if you install winter tires on your vehicle.

The long answer is: it depends on your insurer.

Winter brings with it beautiful scenery and snow days but it also comes with additional hazards on the roadways. Snowstorms can decrease visibility and make things more dangerous for both pedestrians and drivers.

Snow and ice can reduce your tire's grip on the road and increase the risk that you might lose control and get into an accident. In order to drive safely during winter, you need to take steps to winterize your vehicle.

Read: How to Make an Effective WInter Survival Kit for Your Car

One of the best ways to ensure your vehicle remains stable in winter conditions is to install a set of winter tires. Winter tires have many benefits including deeper treads—but most importantly, the rubber material they are made out of can remain soft and sticky at colder temperatures, increasing the amount of grip you get while it is cold outside. And more grip means your vehicle is more stable and safer to drive when driving in winter conditions.

The way insurance premiums and pricing works is that underwriters and actuaries try to estimate risk. The higher the risk, the more they will need to charge in premiums in order to run a profitable business. Conversely, the lower the risk, the lower your insurance premiums will be.

By installing winter tires, you are reducing your risk levels. Many insurers will recognize this and pass on the savings to you—the consumer—in the form of lower premiums. This also serves as an incentive for customers to install winter tires on their vehicles.

Read: Why You Need Snow Tires this WInter

Of course, programs like this are up to individual insurers to implement but there is a trend catching on. For example, in January of 2016, the government of Ontario in Canada made it mandatory for auto insurance companies operating in that province to offer ~5% discounts to customers who install certified winter tires (with the mountain and snowflake logo). Before that time, just under 50% of insurers offered such a discount.

Whether you actually get a discount or not depends heavily upon your auto insurance company but this is a growing trend. If this is a discount you would like to take advantage of, you should speak with your broker about whether your insurer offers this incentive and maybe switching providers if your current insurer doesn't.

From a purely financial perspective, the amount you save on premiums is unlikely to balance the cost of buying and installing snow tires. That said, it is hard to put a price on the added safety for you and your family this winter. You can think of the potential savings as the icing on the cake!

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View all questions from Jacques Wong.

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About the Author: (Director of Education at PNC Learning)

Jacques grew up around the insurance industry and began actively participating in 2013. Since then, he has gotten a Level 2 license, won Insurance Council of BC awards in 2015 and 2020 for academic excellence in the insurance licensing courses. He educates insurance professionals through PNC Learning and as a Thought Leader at ReFrame Insurance.

In his day job as an insurance broker, he helps businesses with creative risk management solutions and strategic advice when it comes to insurance.

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