Are Extended Warranties Worth It On Household Appliances?
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No matter what appliance you buy, the retailer is likely to offer you an extended warranty. Should you shell out the extra money to buy it on your new range, washer, dryer, or refrigerator?
Are Extended Warranties Necessary?
Whether these warranties are worth their costs is a controversial topic in the appliance industry. Most appliances come with a manufacturer’s warranty that covers parts and usually labor for a few months, a year, or longer. Buying an extended warranty, which starts immediately, can duplicate the protection you have with the manufacturer’s warranty. Only once the manufacturer’s warranty has expired does the extended warranty you are paying for take over.
Consumer Reports, the popular testing lab for consumer products, is very critical of extended warranties for adding to the cost of products without delivering value. While you may buy a product that is a lemon, most appliances do not break down during the warranty period. Many warranties have loopholes and exclusions built in that can leave you stranded when need repair. CR surveys suggest that you may have to wait longer for warranty repair and may be more dissatisfied with your repair than if you paid out-of-pocket.
Extended Warranties Can Reduce Your Out-of-Pocket Costs
Representatives from repair facilities may have a different opinion about the value of extended warranties. Having a warranty guarantees:
- That you will be able to access service from a factory-authorized service company
- That you will not have to pay for a service call
- That you may be spared paying out of pocket for most repairs
- That you can put off having to replace a costly washer, refrigerator, or stove at an inopportune time
- That you may be able to have the appliance inspected annually at no charge
Warranties are particularly important for today’s technologically-advanced appliances which often have computer boards controlling their operations. Whether the electronics malfunction or parts break down, the affected parts can cost $200-300. The newer energy-efficient machines have sensors and other parts with a high rate of repair. Even top-of-the-line Sub-Zero and Wolf products are sensitive enough to require regular service calls to keep them running right.
Appliance Cost May Dictate Whether You Buy A Warranty
Any time you buy a washer and dryer or kitchen appliance and an extended warranty is an option, you take a gamble when you do not buy the optional protection. You might be willing to take a chance on a $50 microwave that you would likely discard if it broke, but do you want to take the chance on a $2,500 refrigerator? For an expensive washer, dryer, range, refrigerator, or other big ticket item, buying the warranty upfront or by folding its cost into the amount financed is a smart investment.
Some repair professionals suggest that if an appliance costs more than $500, you should opt for the warranty. If you have questions about whether to buy a warranty on your next appliance, call us for a recommendation.
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