What is an extended warranty and is it worth it?
Household appliances like ovens, dishwashers and washing machines can be expensive to replace or repair. You can get specialist appliance insurance to cover you if something goes wrong, but it’s actually not usually worth shelling out for it. This guide explains what it covers and whether you should get it.
What is appliance insurance?
Appliance insurance, also known as white goods cover or an extended warranty, covers you if something goes wrong with your appliance, such as mechanical failure or accidental damage.
If you take out a policy, it generally means you'll get that appliance repaired or replaced at the insurer's expense. For bigger appliances, an engineer will usually come round to fix or replace your broken down appliance. For smaller items, you may be asked to send or take it to a specialist to have it assessed. Then your insurance will pay for it to be repaired or replaced, depending on which one is more cost effective for the insurer.
You can choose to buy a single item policy, or you can bundle multiple appliances into one – which usually works out cheaper than buying lots of individual policies.
The positive is it can give you peace of mind once your initial guarantee from the retailer or manufacturer has run out, but for many buying these separate policies won’t be worth it.
- Fridges, fridge/freezers and freezers
- Washing machines
- Tumble dryers
- Coffee machines
- Slow cookers
- Air Fryer
- Vacuum cleaners
- DVD/Blu-ray players
Should I get appliance insurance?
As we said above, most won't find paying for appliance insurance worth it. However, there are some situations where you definitely shouldn't take it out:
- You don't need appliance insurance for appliances less than six months old. Here the Consumer Rights Act states that goods you buy should be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time. If a new appliance breaks down within six months of buying it, you should be able to get a repair or replacement as it's easy to argue that six months, especially for appliances costing £100s, isn't reasonable. More info in Consumer Rights.
- You don't need appliance insurance if your appliance is under warranty. When you buy a new appliance, you’ll generally have a guarantee, or warranty, from the retailer or manufacturer which will cover your appliance if it breaks down. Appliance insurance won't cover any items that are still under warranty or guarantee elsewhere.
Warranties on household appliances usually last for at least a year and can be even longer – for example, John Lewis offers a two-year guarantee on large appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, fridges and ovens, and five years on TVs. Plus, some manufacturers, including Samsung, Hotpoint and Haier, cover you for up to five years if you register certain appliances with them online.
- You don't need appliance insurance if the appliance is covered under your home or contents insurance (though watch for the excess). Contents insurance generally won’t cover breakdown of your appliances, but will cover things like theft, fire or water damage. Accidental damage may also be included, or you might have paid to have this added to your policy – it’s worth checking your T&Cs.
Be aware though that the excess on home insurance policies can be high, typically around £150 – so if you have a cheap appliance that wouldn’t cost that much to fix or replace, your home insurance won’t be much help. Plus making repeated claims could push your premiums up in future years, so consider if it's worth it, especially for cheaper appliances.
- You may not need appliance insurance if you bought the appliance on a credit card. If your appliance cost between £100 and £30,000 and was bought on a credit card or with instalment credit, a powerful protection called Section 75 applies. This states that if something goes wrong, your card provider is jointly liable with the retailer for putting things right.
This means you might be able to get help from the credit provider if something goes wrong. For more information, see our Section 75 guide.
Still want to buy appliance insurance? How to find the cheapest deals
If you still want appliance insurance, you can usually buy it online. These comparison sites can help you compare different policies, both on price and cover:
Always carefully check the policy cover meets your needs, and make sure you know what is and isn't covered.
How to complain about your insurance provider
The insurance industry doesn't have the best customer-service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others.
Common problems include claims either not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in small print.
It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but, if not, then you can use free complaints tool Resolver. The tool helps you manage your complaint, and if the company doesn't play ball, it also helps you escalate your complaint to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.
Appliance insurance FAQs
Don’t automatically buy direct from the retailer or manufacturer. These policies can be pushed onto you when you’re buying a new appliance, but it’s worth looking around to see if you can get cover cheaper elsewhere first.
Cosmetic damage and faults from normal wear and tear may not be covered. For example, a scratch on a hob, or the door of an oven, probably wouldn’t be included in the policy.
You won’t usually be able to get cover for appliances that are over a certain age. This is generally eight or 10 years, So if yours are older than this, appliance insurance definitely isn’t for you.
Some policies also charge higher excesses on appliances that are over five or six years old, so you need to factor that into the total cost if your appliances are around that age.
You might need proof of purchase to make a claim, so ensure you’ve kept any receipts.
Be aware of excesses and claim limits. Some policies will have excesses of around £50-£100 every time you make a claim, and some also have maximum claim limits in place, which we’ve seen as low as £500.
High excesses mean claiming for cheaper appliances and repairs may not be worth it, while claim limits could see you having to pay out the difference if you own more expensive items.
Installation of replacement items might not be covered. Some policies will make you pay installation costs of any new appliances you need, so it’s worth factoring that into your decision about buying appliance insurance too.
You may not be able to claim when you first buy the policy. Some policies won’t let you claim, or will charge even heftier excesses, in the first 28-90 days of taking out your policy.
So if you take out a policy because you think your appliance is about to conk out, you may not be covered if it does it straightaway (as an aside, don’t think you can take out an insurance policy on the day your appliance breaks – this is fraud).
If you’ve weighed up your options and decided that you’d still like to buy appliance insurance, you can typically get appliance insurance from around £5 per month per appliance – though the cheapest policies often come with larger excesses which you’d need to factor into the cost if you end up making a claim.
The premium you pay can depend on various factors, including how much your appliances are worth, how old they are, and your claim history.
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