Today, consumers spend over $50B annually on protection plans for their products. Accident protection plans in particular have grown in popularity. These are now widely available to shoppers buying anything from rugs and furniture to electronics and kitchen appliances.
With all of these options available, however, getting the right value out of a product protection plan can be a challenge. Depending on the retailers, insurance companies, or technology platforms behind your protection plan, you can expect significant variance in coverage, conditions, pricing, and claims processes.
In this post, we’ll help you navigate the options and highlight 4 key questions you should be asking when purchasing your next accident protection plan.
What is covered by the accident protection?
The most important consideration when you’re purchasing a protection plan is the coverage itself. While accident protection will give you additional coverage over the manufacturer warranty or standard extended warranty, not all accident protection plans are created equal.
Plans can vary in duration, the specific parts of the product that are covered, and the types of accidents that are covered. Some plans will provide a summary of the coverage points so you can quickly understand the offer. However, at a high level, the plans will often sound very similar to one another despite their differences.
A smart way to evaluate your protection plans is to think about what coverage you need that may not be included. For example, if you’re purchasing an accident protection plan for your new ebike, are the wheels covered? Or if you’re purchasing the latest tech gadget, are you covered if you accidentally drop it?
Before you purchase a plan, make sure you are getting the coverage you’ll need for your product.
Is there any “fine print” to consider?
One of the top reasons product protection claims are denied is because the claim is filed too long after the incident occurred. This claims-filing window and other rules like it are often directly written into your plan terms & conditions. They can impact the value you get out of your protection plan. Common “fine print” items that shoppers run into with accident protection are:
Deductibles: Deductibles require you to pay a certain amount on your repairs before the rest of the costs will be covered by your product protection plan. These tend to exist for programs covering particularly expensive items.
Additional fees: Some programs will charge customers additional fees along the claims-filing process. For example, requiring customers to pay for shipping fees along with their replacement or charging service fees for on-site repairs.
Claims-filing windows: As we highlighted earlier, accident protection programs will often have a claims-filing window in place. This will automatically deny any claims that are filed more than a certain amount of time after the incident occurs. The best programs will clearly communicate these windows, or better yet, not have one in place at all.
How much does the plan cost?
As with any product purchase, cost is an important factor. If you’re offered accident protection for free, you should always take it. On the other side, if the protection plan costs half the price of the product itself, you should probably look for a less expensive plan.
Accident protection pricing will vary based on how comprehensive the coverage is. Typically, you can expect protection plans to cost around 10-20% of the product cost.
What will the claims process look like for me?
The claims process is one of the most important elements of an accident protection offering. It’s also often the easiest to overlook. After all, at the time of purchase, the specific process you need to go through in the event of a claim 3 years in the future is not likely to be top of mind. That said, the nuances of the claims process can make the difference between a great product protection experience and feeling frustrated that you’ve wasted time and money.
A great claims process comes down to the following:
- Easy access and clear communication: Great product protection providers will make it easy for you to file a claim digitally, or get in contact with their team directly to walk you through the process.
- No delays or additional work: Some providers will require you to jump through hoops to get your claim approved. A claims process that requires you to ship back products before your claim gets approved is an example of additional work that adds weeks in delays before the process is complete.
- Flexible claims resolutions: The best resolution to your claim is the one that is most convenient for you. If you want a replacement for your product, getting a check mailed to you is nice, but you may have to wait weeks until the money is in your account and your replacement is on the way.
As you consider adding accident protection to your next purchase, answer these four questions upfront to help you ensure you’re getting the best value out of your plan.
From coverage through to the claims process, Mulberry accident protection is built to deliver a delightful customer experience without any confusing fine print or additional fees. Mulberry protection plans can be purchased through select retail partners including Houzz, Breville, and Pier 1.