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It's always the big tug at your mind and your purse strings. You buy an appliance and the dreaded question at check out is: "Would you like to purchase the extended warranty?" (There is typically a bonus to the sales associate who gets you to sign up for the extended warranty.)
Here are some thoughts to consider about those extended warranties. And much of this applies to those Home Warranty programs, too.
Buying an extended warranty that covers five years generally adds 10% to 20% to the cost of the item, says Tim Meenan, the executive director of the Service Contract Industry Council. Plus, you need to remember which appliance you purchased the extended warranty on and keep the paperwork handy in case you need it.
“The vast majority of major home appliances don’t break,” says Celia Lehrman, deputy home editor for Consumer Reports, which continues to be critical of extended warranties. In its annual survey, only 17% of gas ranges needed repairs, with a median repair cost of $187. Refrigerators with bottom freezers needed repairs 21% of the time, with a median repair cost of $216; 31% of side-by-side refrigerators needed repairs, with a median repair cost of $194. Even if you have a glitch, it may be diagnosed without summoning a technician by reporting a code or using a smartphone app.
Many Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards double a manufacturer’s warranty of up to 12 months, and cover repairs or replacement up to $10,000 for products purchased with their cards, says Matt Schulz, ofCreditCards.com. Hold on to your credit card statement as well as the original receipt.
The technicians may or may not be those of your choosing. Sears uses its own technicians, but most other warranty programs contract with local repair people. “Whenever I look at highly rated repair businesses, none of them participate in these programs,” says Kevin Brasler, executive editor ofCheckbook.org, which rates service providers.
The ability to change your mind varies by provider. Sears gives you up to 15 days after you buy an item to add its extended warranty. SquareTrade gives you up to 90 days after buying appliances through Costco.com. If you do get an extended warranty and change your mind, you usually have 30 to 45 days to cancel and get your money back.
Paying for repairs as you go may be less expensive. My own personal experience with a homeowner warranty program was that, after paying over $500 for their program, I needed a service call on my ice maker. Their technician showed up, didn't do much, and then I was told that I owed him the full fee because it was $95 and the home warranty program has a $100 deductible fee for each service call. I have come to realize that rather than spend money on an extended warranty, I set aside cash in an emergency fund to cover repairs. If I never have problems, I'll have savings to pay for the next generation of appliances.
Whether you live in Nyack, Palisades, Suffern, Tomkins Cove, or anywhere in-between, it's good to consider the alternatives when asked about extended warranties or Home Warranty programs.
I am a Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker and work full time helping people to achieve their dreams of home ownership or their dreams of selling their home or both. I love working with buyers and s....