Ontario Drivers, Don't Let Your Winter Tire Discount Be Held Hostage

By: Justin Leung on January 14, 2016

Along with the new year, a new rule for insurance providers came into effect requiring them to offer discounts on coverage for drivers with winter tires.

Well we’re midway through January and after a slow start, it looks like winter is finally here, but some of you may be wondering just where this discount is and the answer to that lies with your specific insurance company.

The discount rule, meant to encourage safer driving, only specifies that a discount be introduced in 2016. According to the Toronto Star, whether that discount is applied mid-policy or only at renewal is completely up to the insurers, and while some companies are rewarding their customers with lower rates immediately, others making you wait till it’s renewal time, basically just because they can.

Among the companies that will give you the discount mid-policy are Intact, CAA Insurance, Desjardins, and Aviva Canada. Big bank-owned insurers TD Insurance Meloche Monnex and RBC Insurance are among those that will make you wait.

Since we first covered the announcement of this winter tire discount we’ve had a very spirited response from readers who are both happy about the push for winter driving safety as well as those who feel the discount won’t save them anything thanks to the cost of buying the tires and that companies raise premiums anyway.

This news no doubt confirms to many drivers that at least some insurance companies only care about their bottom line. And it’s no surprise to see that the big banks are the ones doing this.

It seems like a giant oversight on the part of the Financial Services Commision of Ontario (FSCO) to require the discount but not specify when companies had to do it or even exactly how much the discount has to be (they only specify a maximum discount of 5%, which most companies are doing).

If your insurance company is telling you you have to wait for the discount, you don’t have to accept that. While companies may try to make it seem as though you have no choice but to stick with them until renewal, you always have the choice to move somewhere else.

Image Courtesy of Adobe Stock