Household appliance warranties explained
Buying an electronic item or household appliance? You might want to look at a household appliance warranty. We explain how it works.
If you buy an item, such as a washing machine, either on the high street or online, you automatically benefit from the manufacturer’s guarantee.
This typically lasts around 12-months, although some firms offer longer warranties, and if it breaks down in that time the manufacturer must either repair the problem or replace the item.
The big worry is what happens if it breaks down after this guarantee has expired.
This is why people buy extended warranties, because they promise to fix any problems that appear in, say, the next two, three or four years.
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Do I need a warranty?
The people who usually benefit most from extended warranties are the shops that profit from selling them.
This is because there's a good chance that you will never even claim on your manufacturer's warranty.
Larger appliances, such as a decent washing machine, are unlikely to go wrong in the first year or so.
And, given the relative affordability of many smaller electronic items and rate at which technology advances, it often makes more sense to simply buy a modern replacement once yours bites the dust.
Before buying any kind of warranty, ask yourself the following questions:
What kind of guarantee am I getting from the manufacturer?
Is the appliance likely to break down? Modern domestic appliances are increasingly reliable.
How expensive is the item to repair or replace? If the cost is pretty low, you can probably take the chance of going without cover.
Does my household contents policy cover me for accidental damage, fire or theft of the appliance?
What is a household appliance warranty?
A handful of specialist companies offer household appliance warranties that don’t just cover a single purchase, but a range of different items throughout your house.
As well as offering much wider cover than extended warranties, household appliance cover is often cheaper to buy.
Many household appliance warranties will cover older items, perhaps up to eight years old, too.
This is hugely valuable because older pieces of equipment are much more likely to develop faults.
Read more: How to calculate your home contents value
Can I compare different types of warranty?
Most policies also allow you to stop your premium at any time, at which point cover instantly ceases.
By comparison, most extended warranties sold on the high street lock you into a two or three-year payment term, with no get-out clause.
You might even be able to add an accidental damage clause to your household appliance warranty, something standard extended warranties won’t offer you.
A typical household appliance policy might cover three items, such as a washing machine, dishwasher and TV, for a set payment of around £10 a month.
This might be enough for you. Or you might prefer to buy multi-appliance cover, allowing you to protect, say, nine kitchen appliances with a single monthly payment.
Or you can buy a warranty for a specific item, such as a computer, for example.