A warranty is an insurance policy which guarantees that products such as household appliances and electrical goods will be repaired or replaced if they break down.
Products usually come with a manufacturer’s or retailer’s warranty which lasts for one or two years, covering mechanical or electrical breakdown during this period. You may choose to buy an extended warranty on top of the manufacturer’s or retailer’s warranty.
- While the manufacturer’s or retailer’s warranty is still in place, an extended warranty will offer you extra cover for things like accidental damage.
- After the manufacturer’s or retailer’s warranty has expired, the extended warranty will cover you for mechanical or electrical breakdown and other things like accidental damage.
Extended warranties usually last for two, three or four years after the manufacturer’s or retailer’s warranty has expired. Some extended warranties have no fixed term and can be paid for on a month-to-month basis.
Extended warranties can be bought for a range of items including:
- household appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves and kettles
- electronic appliances including televisions, computers and games consoles
- household furniture such as sofas, beds and wardrobes
Multi-appliance extended warranties are also available to cover a number of products under one policy.
Extended warranty policies vary, but most will cover:
- the cost of repairing your item in the case of mechanical or electrical breakdown
- new-for-old replacement or a compensation payment (a reduction on the cost of a replacement) if the item cannot be repaired
- accidental damage
- regular servicing of the item
Extended warranty policies differ from insurer to insurer. Most policies have exclusions (certain things that are not covered by the policy), for example:
- cosmetic damage such as cracked glass or damage to paintwork
- costs not directly associated with the incident being claimed (for example, if your computer breaks down your extended warranty will cover the cost of fixing the machine but not the cost of replacing any lost data)
- mechanical breakdown during the period covered by the manufacturer’s or retailer’s warranty
- delivery or installation costs, or the replacement of inaccessible or built-in parts
How to buy an extended warranty
- Your retailer will usually offer you an extended warranty at the point of purchase. You can also buy extended warranties directly from insurance companies or from the price comparison website. This website was launched following an investigation by the OFT with the aim of allowing customers to shop around so that they can make an informed choice.
- You may already have extended warranty cover through insurance you have with your bank account, so check with your bank to see what your policy covers. You can then decide what, if any, extra cover you might need.
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