You have every right to be concerned about buying a warranty. The many horror stories are true. Most of the time you are buying nothing more than paper.
However, sometimes warranties are a smart purchase because a few appliances will almost always break within 5 years.
In this article, you will learn how to buy a warranty. You will also know the most commonly repaired appliances and those most costly to fix. We have 25 techs in 8-12 homes daily, so we have a better understanding of repair than most.
But first, you need a bit of perspective.
My 30 Years of Selling and Not Selling Warranties
Thirty-one years ago, we did not sell warranties. There was no point. An average Maytag washer lasted 17-19 years, so why would I sell a 5-year warranty? We did not want to build Yale on paper.
However, with a shift to higher energy efficiency standards and globalization of parts, appliances began to break more often.
So we started selling them through a third-party insurance company. They sell us the warranty and back it when the product breaks. This is a great idea but has very poor execution because insurance companies are not so quick to pay.
We back our own warranty as of 10 years ago. You call with a problem. We fix it without approval from a third party.
When to Never Buy an Appliance Warranty
You most likely read the reviews online. Someone buys a warranty and cannot have the product fixed. Think about it: The product was bought online from New York and shipped to California with a warranty covered by a provider in Texas. This will never end well.
Moral of the story, NEVER buy a warranty from a company without a service department even from the same town. You are better off just taking your chances. Without actual service technicians, the product will never be fixed.
What Products Do Not Need Warranties
The most reliable appliances are disposers. We sold 1,000 with 1 repair (actually my disposer).
Microwaves and Hoods
Microwaves are reliable because there is not much to break. Yes, even the drawers are reliable -provided they are installed correctly.
Hoods move air….which is not hard to do. You can pass on an extended warranty.
Dishwashers, in general, are very reliable and not expensive to fix.
I am on the fence on this one, but they are generally reliable.
Products to Consider a Warranty For
Washers have a very low repair rate. However, they are very expensive to repair. In fact, after spending $1,000 just on parts fixing a couple, we typically replace washers with direct drive problems.
These products have fewer parts and features yet more service calls. Most of the time, they are minor.
The most reliable refrigerator with a dispenser requires service 19% of the time within the first year. That is a staggering number. Refrigerators have had to conform to tough energy standards. The downside has become their reliability.
Also, most French door refrigerators with dispensers are sending a frozen cube through a warmer refrigerator. Over time, it will leak.
Separate icemakers almost always require service within 5 years. We send an email yearly to clean your ice maker as scaling will cause the product to malfunction among other issues.
When was the last time you cleaned your icemaker? Don’t feel bad. I cannot remember either.
First, do not buy one. If you are buying your appliances from a company without service, you are indeed throwing your money away. At best, you will experience a ton of hassle and inconvenience.
If you want a piece of mind, buy warranties on every appliance. Many contractors do that and subcontract us to fix any issues.
However, the most prudent products would be washers, pro ranges, and any type of refrigerator or ice-making appliance.
Lastly, here are my last tips you should know.
- Never buy a third-party warranty. These companies are quite simply call centers without an actual ability to repair. Typically, they will subcontract to a third party at a low rate who is not invested in your ultimate satisfaction. If you are still tempted, research the company on the Better Business Bureau.
- Do not buy an extended warranty from a company without a service department. Wishing for a product to work is not the same as fixing the product when it does fail.
- Always read the fine print. What does it cover? We pay up to $250 for food loss on a refrigerator for example.
- For self-servicing dealers offering their own warranties, check their financial stability. You want them around in 4 years. We escrow all warranty money for the life of the warranty itself as insurance against disaster.
- Read reviews from independent sites as an indicator of expectations. Stay away from the buying sites. The best ones are Google Reviews and the Better Business Bureau. This is a great piece of advice for any purchase of almost any product and/or service.
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My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.
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