Recently I added a second vehicle to my auto insurance policy. Since I work in the personal injury department, I was very keen to ensure that I selected the policy which would fully protect me (to learn more about this please read our blog “Are optional benefits really optional” here). Throughout the call, I was asked if I had winter tires, which I do, so I was provided with the mandatory winter tire discount. However, I was not informed about the regulations about winter tires and didn’t think to ask. After my call, I learned about such regulations and was shocked to have never known about them, below is everything you need to know so that you can stay informed about winter tires!
Beginning January 1, 2016, Ontario Automobile Insurance Companies were required to offer a discount for vehicles that have winter tires installed on their vehicles. The legislation which outlines this, Automobile Insurance R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 664, s.14.1 (3) 1., merely legislates that contracts issued or renewed on or after this time must include a discount for vehicles equipped with winter tires.
The legislation does not dictate the amount of the discount, a date range for which they must be installed, nor define winter tires to include or exclude all-season tires. The particulars are left for each carrier to mandate.
Therein lies the grey area.
Each company can outline their own regulations around discount amounts and installation requirements etc. unless you specifically inquire into YOUR policy and abide by that policy you are leaving yourself open to having your insurer deny you coverage in the event of an accident.
For example, one insurer requires tires to be installed prior to November 1st, while other companies required by December 1st. This year we experienced early snow. If you were in an accident on November 6th without snow tires when your policy contained a snow tire discount mandating November 1st install date, your policy may be void thereby leaving you uninsured and on the hook for the cost of repairs/damages stemming from the accident.
If you have informed your insurance company that you have winter tires, be sure you know their policy for those tires, including the date they must be installed, the earliest they can be removed etc. Knowledge is key because if an insurer can find a way not to pay- you bet they will!
Call your insurance company and protect yourself! Contact Millars Lawyers today when you Can’t Afford to Lose (519) 657-1LAW or Info@millarslaw.com
By: Shari Lamore