Preparing for Winter Driving in Ontario
As announced in the 2015 Budget, one of the auto insurance reforms designed to protect consumers and reduce insurance rates is the mandatory winter tire discount.
Winter Tire Discount
Many drivers in Ontario install winter tires because they provide better traction, braking and handling in frost, snow, slush and under cold and icy conditions.
Starting January 1, 2016, there will be another benefit to drivers: all insurers will be required to offer a discount to those who use winter tires. Individual insurers will determine the amount of the discount they offer and what documentation, if any, they require from drivers to verify their use of winter tires.
How You Can Get the Winter Tire Discount
- Drivers who are renewing their policy before January 1, 2016 and who install tires should shop around for the best possible rates and the coverage that fits their needs. About 45 per cent of insurers already offer some form of a winter tire discount.
- Drivers who install winter tires and whose policy renewal is after January 1, 2016 should call their insurer to inquire about a possible mid-term discount on their auto insurance premiums.
Safe Winter Driving Tips
Drivers can also keep safe this winter with a few helpful tips:
- Install all four winter tires for greater control and stability in winter driving conditions.
- Plan ahead and check road conditions before heading out. Call 511 or visit Ontario.ca/511 for current highway conditions.
- Be prepared and get your vehicle ready with a maintenance check-up. Carry a winter driving survival kit in your vehicle and be sure to clear all snow or ice from windows, mirrors, headlights or rear lights.
- Drive safely, stay alert, avoid distractions, slow down and stay in control. Always drive to current road and weather conditions.
Further Action on Auto Insurance Costs
As announced in the 2015 Budget, the government is also taking additional action to increase consumer protection and to reduce auto insurance costs. Starting June 1, 2016:
- The maximum interest rate that an insurer may charge for monthly auto insurance premium payments will be lowered to 1.3 per cent from three per cent.
- Premium increases for certain minor at-fault accidents will be prohibited.
- Consumers will have the option to purchase enhanced optional accident benefits, should they desire additional coverage.