May 28, 2018 by Greg Meckbach
Winter tires reduce the frequency of auto insurance claims, the head of the Canadian Automobile Association’s Ontario auto insurer suggested Wednesday.
“Claims are reduced when people have winter tires on their cars, especially driving in climates like we have in Ontario,” CAA Insurance president Matthew Turak said Wednesday during a press conference at Toronto Union Station.
Ontario motorists do not have to install winter tires, but since Jan. 1, 2016, discounts for winter tires have been mandatory for Ontario auto insurers.
Winter tires have been mandatory in Quebec since 2009.
“As road safety advocates, CAA led the effort seven years ago to have an insurance discount for installing winter tires on your vehicle” in Ontario, said Elliott Silverstein, manager of government relations for CAA South Central Ontario, on Wednesday.
Silverstein and Turak made their comments in passing during a press conference at Union Station in which CAA launched MyPace, a new auto insurance product which is not related to winter tires. MyPace is intended to give discounts to owners of vehicles that are driven fewer than 9,000 km a year.
Asked whether having winter tires reduces claims costs, Turak said winter tires reduce auto insurance claims frequency.
“The treads on the tires do allow you to stop sooner and prevent accidents,” Turak noted.
After a large snowstorm, collision reporting centres “will tell you that the vast majority of vehicles that are in there from significant collisions don’t have winter tires,” Ontario Safety League president and chief executive officer Brian Patterson told Canadian Underwriter earlier.
Despite the mandatory discount in Ontario, the province’s auto insurance regulator – the Financial Services Commission of Ontario – “does not have aggregate comparison claims data on the effect of the mandated winter tire discount on claims costs,” a FSCO spokesperson told Canadian Underwriter earlier.
But there is “an incredible false economy to saying, ‘No I don’t want to put winter tires on my car,’” Patterson told Canadian Underwriter this past November. “Anybody’s who been in a small low-speed collision will soon realize that the deductible damage that you are going to incur yourself is probably more than that set of tires.”