Appliances now fail at higher rates than ever. Buying a warranty for appliances now does not mean coverage. In most cases, warranties are an awful purchase unless the service agent backs them with actual service.
This is a very difficult, often conflicting article to read.
Most consumer publications, along with us, will say to never buy an extended warranty and take your chances.
At a Glance
However, appliances do not last like in the past. A French door refrigerator will require service 28% of the time just in the first year. Certain gas ranges are over 30%, so there is a need for proper coverage.
These numbers do not include many known unreliable brands dropped by us over the past 5 years. The number will be much higher for the industry.
We have outsourced warranties to third parties like most dealers currently until 2009. We now self-insure and have logged over 30,000 service calls last year, so we can inform you about the subject professionally.
This article will help you decide when you should consider a warranty, when it's not necessary and when you should run from the offer.
Our History on Extended Warranties
Back when I started in 1986, the Maytag washer lasted 17-19 years with 1 or 2 service calls.
Appliances pre-2000 also had limited warranties of 2-3 years after the first full year, so we did not even sell extended warranties. There was not a real need for you to buy one.
Now the average appliance lasts 6-9 years, according to the America Servicers Association and most of the limited warranties are gone.
Before 1994, we did not have a service department.
Now service is the largest part of the company employing 80 people alone and logging 30,761 service calls in 2017.Short on time? Get our free Appliance Buying Guide
What Changed in Appliances?
Many of the reliable products have changed to be more efficient with better features. However, these improvements have affected reliability, particularly in refrigerators and ranges.
They also have become more labor intensive and expensive to actually repair.
With more expensive, and more temperamental products, you may want to consider a warranty as an investment against repair rates in the future.
That would be assuming good repair, which this industry sorely lacks.
When Should You Not Consider a Warranty?
Following are the statistically most reliable products based on 30,761 service calls logged just in 2017 by our service department.
Hoods, microwaves, grills, disposers do not require a warranty in my opinion, because they require service in the first year less than 5% of the time.
What Appliances Should You Buy a Warranty?
The statistically most unreliable products are gas ranges and refrigerators. Both have changed the most drastically with gas ranges being more powerful and now having ignition system problems.
Refrigerators have changed the most. They are far more efficient due to new Federal energy standards.
Also, the new French doors have more issues especially with the icemaker dispenser in the refrigerator. It can leak
Who Should You Buy A Warranty From?
This article is about understanding warranties. There are statistical arguments either way. However, there is one absolute.
Do not buy an extended warranty from any company without a service department. Seriously.
Most extended warranty providers are really just call centers. They sell extended warranties like a commodity to dealers (like us pre-2009) and bid out the repair to the cheapest independent service company.
Unfortunately, that repair company will not perform an expensive compressor repair or install a direct drive motor in your washer for that low rate.
Often, you are left with an unfixed or badly fixed machine. That's the reality.
Google any third party provider and read other peoples experiences online.
Pretty grim, isn’t it?
Warranties sold this way are simply not worth the money.
So, only consider a warranty on the more expensive products. Most importantly, at least understand what the service experience will be like after the sale before buying additional coverage. Lastly, I would ask a ton of questions before the sale. Look at online reviews.
Do not fall into a trap of buying an extended warranty when the provider cannot resolve any problems in a reasonable amount of time.
Our Current Stance on Warranties
Over the years, we have stopped representing unreliable brands. In 2017, our shift in laundry to Whirlpool/Maytag has decreased our warranty repair from 20% to 5% in the first year.
Although we have never pushed extended warranties, there are certain times where, statistically, you need protection after the first year.
At the same time, everyone hates buying a product they never use. In this case, an unredeemed warranty.
We can now offer extended warranties with a 50% credit if unused. We can do that because we have our own service department and market only the statistically reliable brands.
Mathematically, you should consider an extended warranty on the highest risk appliances just like buying regular insurance.
However, unlike most insurance companies, you have to research the ability of any warranty provider to actually repair your appliances.
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