Appliance Warranties

by Jon Nunan

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Appliances are designed to make our lives easier. Dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves and other kitchen accessories not only help us do our chores and prepare food faster, but they take some of the tedium out of our day and allow us more free time. Unfortunately appliances, like any other piece of machinery, can break down. When that happens, your malfunctioning appliance can actually increase your stress. This is an even bigger problem when this malfunction happens soon after you buy your machine. To avoid the added stress of dealing with a brand new fridge or stove that goes on the fritz, an appliance warranty is an excellent tool to have in your corner.

Appliance Warranty Types
When purchasing an appliance, ask the dealer if the appliance is covered by a factory warranty or issued by the dealer. Some dealers and retail chains purchase appliances from the manufacturers without factory warranty to lower their costs. There are several drawbacks to this. First, if the dealer or chain goes out of business, you will likely be left without any warranty at all. When service is needed, the dealer will arrange for someone to service the unit at no cost to you. However, if you're unhappy with whom they've chosen, you're stuck with them. On the other hand, if the warranty is covered by the factory, you should be able to call any of their authorized appliance service agents to get the repairs done.

Read Your Appliance Warranties Thoroughly
If you purchase a product for commercial/store use or for a townhouse, boarding house or apartment building with a common kitchen or laundry room, be sure to read the warranty restrictions. Most domestic appliance warranties are for single family use only. If the dealer assures you otherwise, get it in writing.

Keep in mind that most warranties will only cover repairs to the unit that you purchased and do not usually allow for replacement of a product should it fail to function.

Home Warranty vs. Appliance Warranty
Just like having a warranty on your vehicle, appliance warranties are there to cover you when a problem occurs due to a defect. Also like a car warranty, some things may not be covered after a set amount of time.

Some homeowners find it beneficial to supplement their appliance warranties with a home warranty. Unlike homeowner's insurance which generally covers things like fire or lightning damage, a home warranty is meant to cover repair and replacement costs for appliances and major home systems (like plumbing, wiring, etc.). Generally, a home warranty is purchased as a contract for one year with either annual, monthly or quarterly payments. Though you might have to pay a small deductible when a problem arises, with a home warranty, you'll have little worry about large, unexpected bills caused by appliance or home system failure. The average cost of a home warranty is around $13,000 nationally paid over time. When combined with your factory or dealer appliance warranty, a home warranty should ensure that, one way or another, if something breaks down, you'll be able to handle it.

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.