You’re really happy with the new clothes dryer, but the clerk suggests something extra. He’s not trying to upsell at this point because you’ve made your purchase. Instead, he’s offering an extended warranty that claims to protect your appliance after the manufacturer’s coverage expires. It sounds like a great deal, but is it really? Taking a pass on this offer is usually your best bet, but it helps to understand why.
What Are You Actually Getting?
Extended warranties are service contracts that promise to cover repairs for a specified amount of time, but you have to read the fine print. Often, these plans apply to your purchase during the same time frame as the original manufacturer’s warranty, so you’re paying for protection that you already have. It’s also important to understand how an extended warranty works on the retail side. An appliance seller keeps a big percentage of the money you put down on a service contract, so it’s a great revenue stream on big-ticket items.
Is a Manufacturer’s Warranty Enough?
The price is right because it’s free, and a manufacturer’s warranty is usually good for at least 12 months. It covers normal wear and tear, and the protection takes care of major breakdowns too. You aren’t protected if someone backs a car into the washing machine out in the garage, but regular maintenance is usually enough to maintain your original warranty. Making a purchase with your credit card can extend the original manufacturer’s coverage, and most reputable retailers offer a 30-day return policy on major appliances.
Why Is an Extended Warranty a Gamble?
When you spend extra money for an extended warranty, you’re betting that your new appliance will break within a year or two of purchase, but this rarely happens. The original manufacturer’s coverage takes care of routine problems without taking cash out of your pocket. If a service plan costs 20 percent more than the price of your appliance, it’s probably not worth it. The devil always lurks in details, so check an extended warranty to verify exactly what it covers. Determine start and ending dates, and look for hidden exclusion clauses.
How Can You Cover Repairs Yourself?
It pays to purchase established names from manufacturers with solid reputations, but back up your buying options with a little research. Start with a trusted source like Consumer Reports, and ask friends and neighbors about their experiences with different brands. Once you make that new oven feel at home in the kitchen, save the money you didn’t spend on an extended warranty, and invest it in a home fix-it account. When the time comes for appliance repair, you’ll have extra funds to back up your DIY talent.
An extended warranty works if it helps you sleep better at night, but most appliances operate just fine long after your service contract expires. Our U-Fix-It teams are here with all the advice and appliance parts you need to handle everything from dishwashers to washing machines, so just give us a call, or drop by one of our 4 Dallas locations. We know you can do it yourself, and we’re always happy to help.