You're probably familiar with the standard benefits that credit card companies offer; after all, isn't that how you decide which card to go with? From cash-back bonuses to travel perks, there are many ancillary benefits you'll get by using credit cards.
Were you aware that some credit card companies also offer product protection? While limited in scope of coverage depending on the provider, you can get varying levels of warranty coverage on purchases made with a qualifying card. Is it worth choosing a credit card based on the product protection it offers? Based on our research, probably not. But it's at least helpful to understand what credit card warranties cover, and more importantly what they don't. We took a look at extended warranties offered by a few major credit card companies and how the coverage compares to product protection offered by Mulberry.
If you don't like to take chances on restricted coverage and limitations, you're better off going with comprehensive extended warranty coverage like MulberryCare. Through the Mulberry extension, you can get protection plans for nearly everything you buy online that offer better coverage for a nominal fee.
What credit card companies offer extended warranty coverage?
If you’re wondering if you have a credit card with product protection, chances are pretty good that you do. Most of the major credit card companies in the United States offer some form of product protection; the real question is whether or not the coverage terms live up to your expectations. Credit card companies generally offer a short-term extension of the manufacturer's warranty, if the product you purchased meets the strict requirements. Here’s a breakdown of some of the top credit card companies and the warranty coverage they offer:
With AMEX’s extended warranty, you’ll get coverage for a year beyond the protection you already have from the manufacturer’s warranty. However, there are some stipulations and limits on what can be covered:
- Your AMEX extended warranty only applies to your purchase if the manufacturer’s warranty is shorter than 5 years.
- The coverage is limited to what the manufacturer's warranty would cover, so it doesn't include accidental damage or other exclusions. AMEX refers to this as an 'Extended Warranty Covered Event.'
- The claims process is extensive:
- You'll file a claim online or via phone and submit a 'Notice of Claim' (you have to answer all relevant claim intake questions in order to meet the conditions for filing a claim)
- If your 'Notice of Claim' is accepted, you'll also need to fill out claims forms and submit written communication describing your 'Covered Event'
- You must submit 'Proof of Loss' that includes the original itemized store receipt, a copy of the Original Manufacturer's Warranty, and purchase service contract agreements, photographs and/or a completed repair estimate form
- If your 'Proof of Loss' is satisfactory and AMEX determines that your claim is payable, you'll be paid within 30 days
- Your coverage limit will either be the cost of the item, up to $10,000 per purchase, or up to $50,000 per year, whichever you hit first.
- The policies vary depending on which AMEX card you have; did you know there are 50+ different AMEX cards? Good luck finding the right policy!
AMEX’s extended warranty also excludes certain purchases from coverage. These include, but are not limited to: anything purchased second-hand, one-of-a-kind items, animals, plants, artwork, computer programs, operating software, motorized devices, purchases with a limited lifespan...read that last one again. Chances are pretty good you'll still need extended warranty coverage if you expect the damage to be covered.
Capital One also offers an extended warranty plan for some cardholders. The terms of the warranty vary depending on the card you have, but like AMEX all extended warranties are limited to extending the length of the manufacturer's warranty. For example, Capital One Visa Signature cardholders can get a year of additional coverage on a product that has a manufacturer's warranty less than three years (and more than one year). Here are some things to look out for:
- Making a claim on an extended warranty may require a store receipt, a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty and a copy of any repair orders you’ve made. Re: save all paperwork.
- Warranties don’t apply for items above a certain price tag.
- Not all eligible purchases are automatically covered; you may have to register or apply in order to activate the extended warranty coverage.
- The standard warranty coverage can be 'doubled up to one year;' if the manufacturer's warranty is only 3 months, you'll only receive 3 additional months of standard coverage from Capital One (not a full year).
Like AMEX, Capital One has exclusions on what’s covered. Anything pre-owned, such as antiques or items purchased from estate sales, do not qualify for coverage. Medical equipment, computer software and vehicles such as motorcycles, boats, and cars are also not covered (among other specific items).
MasterCard also offers an extended warranty plan to its cardholders. The length of MasterCard’s extended warranty will double the original manufacturer's warranty up to 24 months; similar to Capital One, but MasterCard will provide up to 2 years of extended coverage instead of one year. Some things you'll want to note in the fine print:
- The original manufacturer’s warranty for your product must be less than 2 years, or the product will not qualify for coverage at all.
- If your claim is approved, they cannot guarantee that the replacement will match the exact color, material, brand, size or model of your original item.
- The Policyholder (MasterCard) can choose to cancel these benefits at any time.
What purchases are excluded from MasterCard’s extended warranty? Antique items, plants, pets, floor models, land, vehicles, computer software, second-hand items, groceries, media, mechanical failures caused by lack of maintenance, losses caused by power surge damage, amongst many other exclusions.
Did we mention that MulberryCare covers mechanical and electrical damage caused by power surges, and food loss replacement up to $500?
How does credit card warranty coverage compare to Mulberry?
The short answer: it doesn't. Though it sounds like a great benefit for using your credit card, the credit card extended warranty programs have so many restrictions, limitations and exclusions that you'll likely have a difficult time finding an incident that will qualify.
What makes Mulberry protect protection different? Our goal is to provide you with quality coverage at an affordable rate so when your most important items are damaged, you'll be covered. You'll never pay any deductibles or service fees, you can file claims quickly online, and you'll receive fast repairs or replacements.
Why is MulberryCare superior to credit card warranties?
- There is coverage for normal wear and tear. Most credit card companies exclude coverage for normal wear and tear; Mulberry includes normal wear and tear as part of the coverage for many product categories. Damage such as seam separation on your sofa, your coffee table becoming discolored from continuous sun exposure, or your tablet's USBC port wearing out would be included in Mulberry’s coverage, while with most credit card warranties you’d be on your own.
- There are no hidden charges. Mulberry terms are clear and upfront. With credit card warranties (and any other warranties), it’s important to read the fine print. Usually, the warranty coverage contains significant caveats that are easy to overlook. For example, even if your claim is approved, credit card companies typically don’t cover the cost of shipping your product back for repair. If you’ve ever had to pay to ship a piece of furniture or an appliance, the cost is so high that you probably didn't bother. Mulberry offers fast replacement and free shipping - straightforward coverage without all the fine print, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.
- Longer-term coverage. MulberryCare plans cover you and your products for the long term to ensure you get the maximum value and life out of your investments. If credit card company warranties offer accidental damage coverage, it's only available for select cardholders for 3-6 months. With MulberryCare, you can choose plan options from 1-10 years depending on the product you want to cover - many even include accidental damage protection!
While there are benefits to any warranty coverage, there isn't a company out there that offers protection plans like Mulberry. The extended manufacturer's warranty programs offered by credit card companies are so limited, it's not likely they'll cover your real-life accidental damages. Between lack of coverage for normal wear and tear, product exclusions and hidden clauses in fine print, there are better extended warranty options out there to meet your needs. If you're worried about the longevity of your products, you'll need comprehensive extended warranty coverage like MulberryCare.