If you’re looking at buying a house, car, washer and dryer, or computer, chances are you’ve seen and heard about several types of warranty options for your purchase. What does a warranty look like in each of these categories, and what do the different warranty types cover? Here are answers to some of the most common warranty questions.
What Is a Warranty?
A warranty is an agreement with a buyer that their purchase will meet certain standards.
A warranty provides protection for buyers to make sure that they don’t spend money on something faulty that breaks down due to manufacturer error.
A company that issues a warranty provides a contract that lists what the item should be able to do. It guarantees buyers that if the purchase doesn’t meet those expectations, the company will help with the cost of repairs or replacements for any defective parts or systems.
The contract includes terms and conditions for what the warranty will cover, as well as exclusions, which are the circumstances in which the seller won’t cover the cost. Warranty contracts can vary a lot depending on the category of the warranty, the length of the contract, and the company issuing the warranty. It’s important to read the fine print—the full warranty contract details—to understand what is covered.
A warranty will look different depending on whether it’s for a house, car, or product purchase. Here are some of the basics in the most common warranty program categories.
A product warranty is a promise that a purchased product will function as advertised or that the manufacturer will help to replace, or repair the item.
Product warranties can cover a large number of product categories, including:
- Mattress warranty
- Furniture warranty
- Rug warranty
- Appliance warranty
- Bag or luggage warranty
- Jewelry warranty
- Electronics warranty
- Apparel warranty
A product warranty will cover repair and replacement of specific aspects of the product depending on the category and warranty terms. A basic product warranty provides a guarantee that the basic components of the product are free from defects discovered during the contract time.
More comprehensive product warranties can provide additional coverage, such as regular wear and tear, accident damage, and extending the length of manufacturer coverage. Product warranties can last for up to 10 years depending on the item type, company, and terms of agreement.
A new car warranty, often referred to as a factory warranty, is issued by the car manufacturer to reduce the costs of replacements or repairs of covered parts. Some factory warranties may also cover cars that are certified pre-owned.
This type of warranty covers car parts that break down during the contract length, but does not cover regular maintenance or replace the need for car insurance.
Car parts and systems that are often covered by a basic car warranty include:
- Car electronics
- A/C system
A standard car warranty is often included in your car cost, and it is typical for it to last for a length of a set number of years or mileage amount, whichever comes first. A car warranty often lasts for a minimum of three years or 36,000 miles.
A new home warranty, often referred to as a home service contract or residential service contract, is an additional purchase option for a homebuyer. It reduces the cost to the buyer if a home system or included appliance breaks down or malfunctions.
If a problem arises during the contract length, the home warranty company will pay some of the balance to repair or replace the covered system.
Home warranties often cover systems and appliances such as:
- Electrical systems
- Heating and A/C
Details of what is in a home warranty can vary a lot between companies and contract types. A typical home warranty lasts for 1 year after purchase and can be renewed.
What Are the Different Types of Warranties?
A manufacturer warranty, also known as a limited warranty or basic warranty, is the minimum warranty coverage that comes with most products. This type of warranty is free and included in the purchase price of a product.
A standard product warranty will often say that the product is free from defects in materials and workmanship. This means that the product was made of proper materials and constructed correctly. If you use the product after purchase and find that it has a fault in the materials or construction, the manufacturer warranty would be likely to cover it.
The length of the manufacturer warranty depends on the category and the company. For example, a standard manufacturer warranty on a television is 90 days, while a refrigerator warranty most often lasts for 1 year.
Credit card warranty
Many credit card companies offer warranty programs for products bought with the credit card. This often meets the same terms as a manufacturer’s warranty, but extends it an additional period of time. Like a manufacturer warranty, a credit card warranty will only cover product defects from mistakes in the manufacturing process.
Some credit card companies also offer 1 year chargebacks as a product guarantee. This promises the buyer reimbursement for any defective product bought on the card if you make a claim within a year of purchase. This also requires the claim meets other conditions, such as where the seller is located and the cost of the product.
Not all credit cards offer these programs, and the terms and conditions for them can vary greatly. Look at the details on your specific credit card offering to see what coverage they offer.
An extended warranty, also called an extended service plan or extended warranty insurance, is an optional type of warranty that customers can choose to add.
An extended warranty is different from a manufacturer warranty. It offers additional coverage on the product. It always extends the time frame of coverage, but will often cover different product parts and damages than the manufacturer warranty.
Some extended warranties maintain the same coverage as the standard warranty with an extended time frame. This means that you will be covered if the product has a malfunction or defect past the expiration date of the manufacturer warranty. Other extended warranties go beyond those terms to offer additional protection on damages that can occur from using the product.
Accidental damage coverage
Accidental damage coverage, also known as a product protection plan or extended protection insurance, is a specific type of extended warranty coverage. Programs that include accident damage specify that if the product is damaged during regular use, the company will help cover repairs or replacement according to the contract terms.
If you choose to get an extended warranty plan that includes accidental damage coverage, your plan will start immediately with your purchase, even while your manufacturer warranty is ongoing. You can have immediate coverage on a wide range of things that can happen to your product from the moment you buy it.
Additional damages covered in this warranty program include accidents that damage the product. Spills, cracks, stains, tears, and breaks are often covered with extended warranties that cover accidental damage. That additional coverage means that if something happens to the product, you can still get it replaced or repaired even when you’re at fault.
Most extended warranty and accidental damage plans come with an additional cost. However, Mulberry offers free 12-month protection plans to provide extended coverage for a wide range of products.
Why You Should Always Look for Warranties
There are many options to compare when shopping, and it’s difficult to tell which products will last and which are bound to break. Look for companies that offer warranties to see which ones stand behind their products.
When companies offer additional warranty coverage options such as an extended warranty or product protection plan, they are committing to cover more parts of the product for a longer period of time.
Companies that are making and selling cheap products don’t want to pay for repairs. If you find a company that offers extended warranty coverage, it’s a sign that they’re confident that they make quality products that can be used for a long time.