Are extended warranties worth it?
Published 11 October 2015
When making a purchase you may be offered the option of purchasing an extended warranty at a cost. But is it worth it?
When making a larger purchase like a TV or a washing machine, you may be asked if you’d like to apply an extended warranty to your goods. This is a form of insurance that covers the cost of repairs after the retailer’s or the manufacturer’s guarantee has expired. As an extended warranty comes at an additional cost, we’re asking the question – is it worth it?
The first thing you should know is that you’re always covered under the Consumer Rights Act on the purchases that you make, or if you’ve bought the goods before 1st October 2015, you’ll be protected by the Sale of Goods Act 1979. This states that goods should be of satisfactory quality, able to do the job intended and last a reasonable length of time. Through this act, consumers have some rights to refunds or free repairs up to six years after the purchase of an item.
These only apply if the product could reasonably be expected to last six years and has been used properly during this time (in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions). If you try to return an item within this time frame, you’ll have to prove that it was faulty at the time of purchase and that its faults are not down to general wear and tear. If the item is still fairly new it will be hard for the retailer to argue otherwise.
Regardless of this, you should receive added protection from the manufacturer who will guarantee their goods for up to 12 months or even longer. Some retailers will top this guarantee up for 12 months more – meaning that in some cases, the cover can add up to two years in total, at no additional cost.
If you pay for the goods on your credit card, you’ll also receive cover under Section 75 – just as long as the item is valued between £100 and £30,000. If the goods you purchase arrive faulty or not as described, the retailer and card provider are equally liable under Section 75, so you will be able to claim your money back. You can read more about Section 75 here.
If you have contents insurance, this won’t usually cover electrical or mechanical breakdown but should cover theft and, if you choose the optional cover, accidental damage too, so it’s worth having another look at the details of your policy to see what is included. If you find that you are covered for this, you might decide that it’s not worth purchasing an extended warranty just to cover your appliance breaking down. Just remember to check if you’d need to pay an excess when making a claim.
Value for money
If you still wish to purchase an extended warranty, do your research. You don’t have to go with the extended warranty offered to you by the store you’re purchasing from – always shop around. You could instead buy a policy that covers multiple products – these can often cover an unlimited or set amount of appliances and protect you against mechanical, electrical or electronic breakdown.
You can compare warranties through this or other comparison websites – just bear in mind that pay-monthly policies can work out more expensive in the long run, especially, if you’re not planning on keeping the item for very long. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for details on exclusions and what would happen if the item cannot be repaired.