How do extended warranties work?

An extended warranty could pay for repairs if your household appliances break. But what do they cover and are they worth it? Here is what you need to know.

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What is an extended warranty?

It is a type of insurance policy that covers the repair costs of your appliances, after the manufacturer's guarantee has expired.

For example, if your fridge breaks down, an extended warranty could cover the cost of repairing or replacing it.

How long do they last?

Policies usually last between one and five years, although most providers will not cover appliances once they are more than 8 years old.

What appliances do they cover?

Most extended warranties can cover:

  • Washing machines

  • Tumble dryers

  • Fridges

  • Freezers

  • Dishwashers

  • Electric ovens

  • Hobs

  • Microwaves

You can insure more than one appliance on most policies, and some insurers offer a discount for multi appliance cover. For example, you could get 5% off the price of your cover for every appliance you add.

What claims do they cover?

Most extended warranties cover:

  • Mechanical breakdown, e.g. the drum on your washing machine breaks

  • Parts, labour and call-out fees

  • Accidental damage

The cover offered by an appliance warranty depends on your policy, so check the terms of cover before you buy.

Here is more about how you can claim on an extended warranty

Are there any exclusions?

Yes, but these exclusions vary depending on your policy. The most common exclusions are:

  • Call-out costs if no fault is found with your appliance

  • Cosmetic damage, like chipped paintwork, or wear and tear

  • Problems that existed before you took out cover

  • Replacing fuses, batteries or bulbs

  • Breakdown if the appliance is still under manufacturer's or retailer's warranty

  • Delivery or installation costs

You also will not be covered if you:

  • Leave your home empty for more than 30 days

  • Use an unauthorised repairer

  • Deliberately damage your appliance

  • Fail to follow the manufacturer's instructions, e.g. overloading the washing machine

  • Claim for business use, e.g. if you run a laundry

You should always check the small print before you take out a policy. Make sure you have the cover you need and understand what you can claim for.

Where can you buy cover?

You can get an extended warranty from:

  • The shop you buy your appliance from

  • Direct with an insurer, by calling them or visiting their website

  • By using a comparison tool

The best way to get an extended warranty is compare deals and shop around, so that you can find the right cover at the cheapest price.

Do you need it?

You may not need to pay for an extended warranty if your appliances are already protected elsewhere.

They may still be under their manufacturer's warranty, or covered by your home insurance. If an appliance breaks down within 6 months of you buying it, you may also be protected by the Consumer Rights Act.

Are you already covered?

Check to see if you are already covered by any of the below before you buy an extended warranty.

  • Manufacturer's or retailer's warranty: You do not need separate cover if your appliance is still under its original warranty. Manufacturer and retailer guarantees usually last between 1 and 5 years, so check your purchase receipt to see if you have cover.

  • Home insurance: Your home contents insurance will likely provide some cover for your appliances, like fire damage and theft. However, you may not have accidental damage cover or breakdown repair unless you have paid for it as an optional extra. Check your home insurance policy to find out.

  • Packaged bank account: Some bank accounts come with bonuses and rewards, including free 12 month extended warranties. Although most packaged accounts come with a monthly fee, this could be a cheaper way of getting cover for your appliances.

  • Consumer Rights Act 2015: If an appliance develops a fault within 6 months of purchase, you are entitled to a full refund from the retailer you bought it from. Here is more about your refund rights.

  • Section 75: If your appliance cost between £100 and £30,000 and you paid with a credit card, your card provider must refund you if it is faulty. Here is how Section 75 protects your credit card spending.

Here is how to decide if you need extended warranty cover