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How do I get the Best Warranty Coverage?

By Keith Koons
Updated May 17, 2024
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Determining the best warranty coverage on any one particular item can easily become a very frustrating process. For expensive items like automobiles and boats, a consumer has the option of opting in for an extended warranty directly from the manufacturer for a relatively low monthly payment. The exact same warranty could be offered by a third party for a fraction of the cost, however, and it is entirely possible that neither of them offer truly sound protection. In order to find the best warranty coverage, a consumer must be willing to research the manufacturer, the company selling the item, the purchase method, and all third-party offers.

It is a fairly well-known fact that many credit card companies offer free extended warranties or any item purchased through them, but very few consumers bother to read the fine print in order to understand this offer. Often the warranty coverage is not automatic, and buyers are required to send in a copy of the original warranty to be eligible for the extension. Some companies also have many different types of exclusions within their free extended warranty coverage, so it is often a viable choice for individuals to call them directly with an inquiry before making the purchase.

Another issue when it comes to finding the best warranty coverage is realizing the difference between store warranties and manufacturer warranties. A store warranty offers to exchange or refund the full purchase amount of the item if the consumer is not happy with the purchase, while a manufacturer warranty offers to repair or replace the item if it is found to be defective within a certain time limit. By shopping at locations that offer the most comprehensive store warranties, it provides a much greater advantage to the consumer. Likewise, there are often many products that are almost identical in terms of quality, so if the price is comparable, it only makes sense to purchase the one with the greatest manufacturer warranty.

The final method to finding the best warranty coverage has to do with companies that offer third-party warranty extensions, and in many cases, these types of offers are little more than a scam. Although the purchase price of this type of warranty may often be far lass than what manufacturers would charge for an extended warranty program, it is essential to carefully read the fine print to discover exactly what types of services it covers. For example, many of these contracts will not offer protection against accidental damage, shipping costs, part replacement, or labor, so they should be compared to the original warranty to determine their true worth. Replacement value should also be taken into consideration when choosing an extended warranty, because often the cost of the warranty is not too much less than what it would require to replace the item outright.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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