October 6, 2018

There seems to be so much hype about the benefits of winter tires.  Are the benefits worth the extra cost?  Ontario Insurance currently offers a small discount for motorists who have installed approved snow or winter tires.  If you buy new tires, the payoff is seven to 10 years away, and typically by then the car may be long gone.  You have to realize that this is really about safety, and not the cost of insurance.   We also want to point out that once you have the winter tire discount on your automobile insurance, each Insurance Company has different requirements for the dates you put them on and take them off – your insurance broker can explain this to you if you are unsure of your Insurance Company’s requirements on this.

They following lists some of the benefits of having winter tire, courtesy of Honda Tire Source.

  1. The right time to change to winter tires is when the ambient temperature reaches 7°C or below. All-seasons tires turn hard and lose their elasticity when temperatures are below 7°C.  This causes reduced traction, resulting in longer stopping distances as well as reduced handling and cornering capability.
  2. Winter tires will help reduce braking distances on cold, wet, ice and snow covered roads.  The braking distance of a winter tire compared to an all-season tire, depending on speed and road conditions can be up to 25% shorter, or two vehicle lengths.
  3. Winter tires contain silica which is a compound that keeps the tire flexible in cold temperatures and ensure excellent grip and braking on the roads.  Silica maintains its properties in low temperatures which help to maintain a firm grip on snow and ice packed roads.
  4. Winter tires contain significantly more sipes than all season tires.  Sipes are small narrow slots molded into the ribs of the tread.  They are designed to increase the traction edges of the tire to improve the grip of the tire on wet pavement.  Sipes are especially helpful on wet, icy or snow covered surfaces.
  5. Winter tires provide higher void ratio which increases the tire’s ability to channel water and snow away from the footprint.  Void ratio is defined as the amount of open space in the tread, calculated as a percentage of the entire tread area.
  6. Winter tires should only be installed in sets of 4 tires.  With only 2 winter tires, your vehicle’s handling, stability, and braking are not fully optimized.

The discount is likely to be about 5 per cent of the cost of a policy. Since the average GTA car costs $1,600 to insure, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, you may save $80 per car per a year with winter tires.

 Make sure you contact our office to talk to broker about your winter tire discount.