Household appliance warranties explained

If your washing machine, dishwasher or fridge develops a fault, a repair or replacement could be costly. We explain why it’s worth considering a home appliance warranty.

A tradesperson fixing a broken washing machine

Usually when you  buy a new domestic appliance, you'll benefit from the manufacturer's guarantee for a period of time. 

So, for example, your washing machine warranty should normally be for at least 12 months. 

That means that any problems which develop during this initial period should be dealt with by the company which made your appliance.

This could be through a repair carried out by a qualified engineer or by replacing the appliance outright.


What is an extended warranty?

Once the manufacturer’s guarantee period has expired, it’s up to you to bear the cost of dealing with any faults.

And this is where an extended warranty or home appliance insurance can come in.

By purchasing an additional household appliance warranty, you could effectively insure yourself against the cost of dealing with a broken-down washing machine or dishwasher, for example.

Extended warranties are normally provided by the appliance’s manufacturer in return for a one-off fee.

For example, if you’ve bought a Hotpoint washing machine, you’ll probably be asked if you want to buy an extended washing machine warranty from Hotpoint.

As well as the price, make sure you check the terms and conditions of any extended warranty you are thinking of buying.

In some cases, you may have to pay for any new parts that are needed.

Or the warranty may cover the cost of parts and repairs but require you to pay a call-out fee.

You should also check what the policy is regarding replacing a machine that can’t be repaired economically.

The best warranties should provide this kind of guarantee as standard.

Most home appliance policies allow you to stop paying your premiums at any time, at which point your cover no longer applies.

Extended warranties on the other hand, can sometimes 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 generally won’t offer you.

A typical household appliance policy might cover three items.

For example a washing machine, a dishwasher and a TV, for a set payment of around £10 a month.

This might be sufficient for your needs – or you might prefer to buy multi-appliance cover.

Having this sort of cover should allow you to protect, say, nine domestic appliances with a single monthly payment.


Are extended warranties on appliances worth it?

Before you shell out on an extended warranty, it’s important to understand your consumer rights. 

You’re legally covered by UK law on household appliances under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If your appliance fails within the first six months, you can take it back to the retailer. They can repair or replace it, but if that fails you should be entitled to a full refund. 

You might even be able to return it within the first six years, but you would need to prove that the fault was there from the outset and not the result of wear and tear.

It’s also important to check the level of service you would get under the extended warranty and question how much that is worth paying for. 

For example:

  • How quickly would faulty appliances be repaired -  would you be willing to wait four weeks?
  • Would replacements be on a ‘new for old’ basis?
  • Do you need to use certain authorised repairers?
  • Are there any exclusions or loopholes in the small print?
  • Is it a fixed or monthly fee? Over time monthly fees can rack up
  • Also think about how likely the appliance is to break down
  • Should you buy extended warranties on appliances?

Once you have put your extended warranty under the proverbial microscope you’ll have a much better idea about whether it offers good value for money.

Many people will decide to chance it. If it breaks down it may be quicker (and potentially cheaper over the long term) to arrange your own repairs.

Or, if you decide that you really do value the peace of mind provided by a warranty it could be worth shopping around to see if you could get a better deal from a specialist insurer.


What is a household appliance warranty?

As an alternative to an extended warranty, home appliance insurance is a specialist type of home insurance which should provide cover for numerous different appliances.

Essentially, home appliance insurance is like an extended warranty but it can be used for a wider range of white goods as well as just single items.

This is why it’s also known as a household appliance warranty, multi-appliance insurance or white goods insurance.

If you want multiple appliances covered against breaking down, this type of home insurance could be more economical than buying a series of extended warranties.

And in some cases, home appliance insurance can be used for older items which are no longer covered by an extended warranty.

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Do I need an appliance warranty?

Appliances are least likely to break down early in their life.

So the typical 12-month warranty that comes free with your dishwasher or fridge is unlikely to be of much use.

If you’re worried about the impact of an appliance breaking down later in its life, it’s worth considering an extended warranty or some form of home appliance insurance.

Think about the consequences of one of your white goods breaking down.

For example, you might be able to live easily without a microwave for a few days, but the same might not be true of a washing machine.

Particularly if you have a busy household that relies on several loads of washing every week.

Before buying any kind of warranty or appliance insurance, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What guarantee am I already getting from the manufacturer without having to pay extra?
  • Is the appliance likely to break down? Modern domestic appliances are increasingly reliable.
  • How expensive is the item to repair or replace? 
  • How would I cope if the item broke down? For example, some people might find it easier to cope without a microwave or even a dishwasher for a few days. The same might not be said for a fridge or washing machine.
  • What protection do I get under my contents insurance for accidental damage, fire or theft of the appliance?

And remember, monthly maintenance checks of your appliances could help spot problems early and prevent permanent damage.


How do warranties work on household appliances?

If you’re buying an extended warranty or home appliance insurance, your policy should have a number of features.

These should include:

How you pay

This can either be a one-off upfront fee, which is more common with extended warranties, or a recurring monthly payment. This is the approach more usually taken by providers of home appliance insurance.

What is covered

Ideally, your appliance insurance or warranty should cover the cost of calling out or hiring a tradesperson or engineer.

These policies should also cover the expense of the repair work itself and any parts that are required.

If your appliances have stopped working because of a house-wide electrical failure, you could also be protected by home emergency cover

How many claims you can make

How many claims you can make under the policy, or what the total maximum value of claims can be.

How old your appliances can be

Extended warranties typically run for two or three years once a manufacturer’s initial 12-month guarantee has expired.

Home appliance insurance can often be used for older washing machines, dishwashers and so on, but there is likely to be some age limit.


How long are warranties on household appliances?

The length of, say, your washing machine warranty or other domestic appliances, can be broken down as follows:  

The initial guarantee

The initial manufacturer’s guarantee when you buy an appliance usually lasts for the first year you own a new item.

In some cases, you’ll have to register your purchase to qualify for the guarantee, but it is normally free of charge.

Some manufacturers provide an initial guarantee of more than a year.

An extended warranty

This normally applies once the initial manufacturer’s guarantee period has expired for an additional two, three or four years.

Exactly how long will depend on the appliance and the provider or manufacturer.

Home appliance insurance 

This type of home insurance cover can protect a range of appliances and domestic items, and often for a longer time period than an extended warranty.

However, it might be difficult to get cover for an appliance such as a washing machine that is more than eight years old, for example.


Household appliance warranties FAQs

What is the standard warranty on appliances?

The normal manufacturer’s warranty runs for at least 12 months, although you may need to register with the manufacturer to qualify for it.

For additional cover you’ll have to pay extra.

How do warranties work on appliances?

A warranty should typically cover the cost of an engineer visiting your home to diagnose and repair any problems.

It may also include the price of any parts needed.

In some cases, you may qualify for a replacement appliance if yours can’t be fixed economically.

How long are warranties on household appliances?

The standard manufacturer’s warranty usually runs for the first one or two years after you have bought an appliance.

An extended warranty could provide cover for two, three or four more years.

Home appliance insurance could offer protection for even longer, in some cases until an appliance is eight years old or even more.

Remember, always check the details of your policy to check exactly what it covers.