Warranties work by offering valuable coverage for your products, services and systems. A product or system like a toaster or an HVAC system can be protected by a warranty. How it works is that when there is a problem with the item under warranty, the issuer of the warranty pays for it to be fixed – either by sending a service technician or by having you return the item for repair or they can even replace it. There are all kinds of warranties available for any number of items. You can even purchase a home warranty to get general coverage for almost all the appliances and systems in your home. Each warranty is unique but understanding the basics will help you better evaluate the coverage available with yours.
What is a Warranty?
A warranty is a written guarantee stating that the manufacturer or issuer of the warranty will make covered repairs or replacements in the event of a malfunction or other problem. Warranties indicate that the product or service is free from defects, in line with proper specifications, and fit for use. If this is not the case, the purchaser is entitled to assistance or compensation to remedy the issue.
There are many different types of warranties. However, there are two that you’re most likely to encounter.
A product warranty often comes with new electronics, appliances, or other big-ticket items. The product warranty ensures that the item will work as expected for a set period of time. If it fails within that period, the purchaser is usually entitled to a repair or replacement. Product warranties are usually made by the manufacturer but you can also buy extended warranties that continue your warranty coverage past the time set by the manufacturer. These could be offered by the manufacturer or by a third party vendor.
A home warranty is a service agreement that promises to cover necessary repairs or replacements for specified items in your home. Home warranties are always issued by an independent agency, not the manufacturer. If your dishwasher is still under a product warranty from the manufacturer, you wouldn’t need a home warranty to cover the appliance as well. However, a home warranty is a valuable investment for appliances and systems that are not covered under any other protections.
What is Generally Covered under a Warranty?
Warranties typically cover the product under normal use for a specified period of time. Warranties rarely cover damage that occurred from improper use of the item. For example, if your fridge fails because of flooding in your home, the fridge warranty will not cover this damage to the appliance. While a warranty will cover the item in question if it fails as a result of manufacturer error, it’s unlikely that the warranty will cover other items damaged as a result. Though your warranty may cover fridge repairs as a result of a faulty part, it probably won’t cover the spoiled food that resulted from the malfunction.
What is the Difference between a Warranty and a Guarantee?
Legally speaking, there is little to no difference between a warranty and a guarantee. Both are promises to repair or replace a product under set terms and conditions. Customers often view warranties and guarantees differently, however. Guarantees are generally associated with a promise to replace the item, while warranties are thought of as a promise to make repairs. When reading the fine print, however, you’ll often find that there’s no difference between the actual coverage provided by the two.
How are Warranties Difference from Service Contracts?
Warranties are typically included with the product in question. The exception to this is a home warranty, which is purchased separately. Service contracts are purchased with a product for an additional fee. It’s important to compare the coverage of the service contract with the warranty if one is in place. Some service contracts are simply redundant when you have a warranty. Consider the expense of the service contract carefully to determine if it’s more affordable than the repairs might be.
How Long Do Warranties Last?
Each warranty comes with its own terms and conditions. There’s no predetermined length for product warranties. Check the fine print for your warranty to determine how long it will last.
If you’re purchasing a home warranty, the coverage will typically last for a year. You must renew this type of warranty annually for ongoing coverage.
Warranties offer valuable coverage for your home, products, and services when they’re purchased wisely. Examine your warranty carefully to make sure you have the protection you need for the valuable items in your life.