Get winter tires.
The discount can vary from insurance company to insurance company, but RateLab has a great little breakdown that details for you the discount some of the more popular insurance companies offer for having winter tires as well as what they require of you to get the discount!
I know what you're thinking - that's expensive! Well you're right ... they CAN be expensive. This is where the expertise in your trusted garage can help you find one that can fit your budget.
Don't have winter tires yet? Now is the time to get them. Even Consumer Reports says so!
When looking for winter tires, there are a few things you should consider. Here's a list of the most important things to note when looking for and installing winter tires.
1. Temperature! Temperature! Temperature!
If you live anywhere where the temperature stays consistently at or below 7 degrees Celsius, you need winter tires! Lower temperatures decrease the elasticity of the rubber compound found in tires, resulting in reduced traction. Instead of thinking of winter tires as "snow tires", think of them as "cold weather tires".
That magic number is also when you should be changing your tires over to winter tires. Look at the weather trend and make sure temperatures are staying steadily at or below 7 degrees Celsius.
2. Your Regular Driving Conditions
Do you drive on icy or snowy roads, or are the roads mainly dry but cold? Different road conditions may mean you'll need a different tire.
Live where there's lots of snow, ice, and slush? A winter tire with studs may be best for you.
Is it cold where you live with mainly clear roads? Get a winter tire that doesn't require studs.
Do the temperatures fluctuate a lot in your area but stay around the 7 degree mark? Get an all weather tire (NOT an all season tire).
3. Do You Drive Every Day?
The amount of time you spend on the road can help you determine the kind of tire you'll need for the winter. If you aren't driving a lot, you may not be able to justify spending a lot of money on a high quality winter tire and may opt for a more budget friendly brand. If you drive a lot and on a daily basis, getting a high quality winter tire will ensure you're vehicle is going to be able to handle the cold, snow, and ice that comes with the colder temperatures.
4. How Many Winter Tires Do You Need?
For whatever reason, there are people out there that think you only need 2 winter tires. This is a HUGE misconception and can actually lead you to a false sense of stability, leaving the other half of your vehicle without winter tires to do what it wants. When you put winter tires on only the front of your vehicle but not on the back, it increases the grip in the front but with decreased grip in the rear it can cause the vehicle to spin out and completely lose control. When winter tires are only on the rear of the vehicle, the front of the vehicle that steers around corners now has decreased traction and can cause you to go into oncoming traffic or into a snow bank when cornering.
It is ALWAYS best to install 4 winter tires! This is where you will also get the most refund on your insurance rates!
Want more evidence about why getting winter tires is best for cold weather? Check out this video below from Motormouth Canada actually test driving two identical vehicles, one with winter tires and one with all season tires.