In Recognition of Extended Warranties

The first of the week was warm, almost too warm here at Our Little House, but then the rains came and so did the cooler temps.

Yesterday, I went to get into the tub to take a hot bath, something that relaxes me and also warms me when I get chilled.

Only this one was not hot, it wasn’t even warm.

Really, there’s almost nothing worse than sitting in the buff in a tub filling with cold water.

On Tuesday night, the lights flickered during a storm and Dale later realized – when he went to take a hot shower – that the hot water heater breaker had tripped.

He reset the breaker and it heated up for his shower, so we thought it must have been due to the storm.

Apparently, it’s because the hot water tank wasn’t heating properly.

Panicked, I called Dale at work yesterday, thinking I was going to have to give up my new air conditioning for a new hot water tank.

“I’m sure we bought the extended warranty on that thing,” he said. “Have we had it like two years or something?”

I couldn’t even remember where we had bought it, probably because it was during Dale’s extended period of un and underemployment and I’m trying to block that time out of my mind.

Dale did remember, I called the store and we had purchased the extended 5-year full warranty.

Whew. A serviceman is scheduled to come out this afternoon.

I know some financial experts advise against purchasing warranties, but they have come in handy for us.

Early in our marriage, we bought a refrigerator from the now defunct Montgomery Ward. Just over a year later, we went on a weekend camping trip with friends and came home to a hot refrigerator, defrosted meat, melted ice cream and spoiled food.

It was going to take everything these 20-something newlyweds made to replace all of the ruined food and either purchase an expensive part or a new fridge.

We only had a 12- month warranty and hadn’t purchased the extended plan, but the store manager took pity on us and agreed that a high end refrigerator should have lasted more than 14 months and the store paid for the costly repairs.

We lucked out that time, but decided to never leave appliances and electronics to luck again. Montgomery Ward also had our loyalty until they went out of business and that refrigerator kept cool until we sold it when we sold our house in the city.

Today, we will be able to fix the hot water tank and still afford the air conditioning, thanks, in part to a lesson we learned from a faulty  refrigerator motor 25 years ago.

What do you think of extended warranties? Do you think they’re worth it? Do you have an extended warranty story?  

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30 Responses

  1. Nancy says:

    I’ve started to use SquareTrade Warranty. It’s an after-market warranty service that I have found to be much more reasonable in cost. You might check it out the next time you’re researching a purchase. They cover everything from electronics to appliances. It’s also worth a call to their toll-free number. I’ve had them offer nice discounts when I call. To be upfront, I haven’t had a warranty claim yet, so I can’t rate that part of their service at this time.

  2. Kim says:

    Washers and dryers get warranties from us, after realizing how expensive it is just to get someone to come and LOOK at it to tell you what’s wrong. If they come out just once or twice during the course of the extended warranty, you’ve gotten your money’s worth…

    We also replaced the “motherboard” on a TV of ours three or four times during the course of the extended warranty. I would’ve been livid if it hadn’t been covered… the repair guys would come, look at it, shrug and say, “a new motherboard’ll fix it.” I’m not sure they even knew HOW to diagnose the specific problem; they just new how to replace the parts. Next TV we bought got a lot more careful research into brand reliability and longevity!

  3. Lindsay says:

    One warranty we have found to be useful is for our phones. When we moved to rural Idaho we found that our t mobile phones had no reception where we were going to be living. We really wanted to be contract free and so we tried out…I think it’s straight talk? from Walmart. When we first purchased our phones they didn’t offer any kind of warranty. But when my husband had to buy another one due to water damage we found that they now offered an 18 month replacement plan. I believe it cost an additional $10 on top of the price of the new phone he bought. The great part about their warranty is that it covers water damage, which is a life saver for my husband who works on a trout farm and frequently ends up soaked by the end of the day. We have already used his warranty once and when my phone finally died after 2 years (not a bad lifespan for an inexpensive cellphone in my opinion) we went ahead and got the warranty for mine as well. It’s nice to know for an extra $10 you can have your phone replaced if it gets damaged, even if money is tight when it happens.

  4. Merr says:

    Extended warranties, when bought correctly and at the right time for a particular product (not all products are worth buying them for) can be a product-owner’s blessing!

  5. Jane Boursaw says:

    I never do, because I don’t trust the warranties people to honor the agreement. I’m jaded that way.

  6. Funny — yours is the first good story I’ve ever heard about extended warranties. Glad to know they can be helpful sometimes.

  7. Tough call. As others have said it all depends on the item. And of course you don’t realize if you’ll need it or not — until it breaks down. For pricey items in our house we do have warranties. I also insure my camera; it’s really inexpensive to insurance pricey to replace

  8. No, we’re not into extended warranties (at least not the kind you buy). Some credit cards automatically double the warranty, if you buy with a card.

    • Kerri says:

      Interesting, Roxanne. We’ve cut up most of our credit cards and only have a couple left in the event of an emergency (such as the one you recently faced).

  9. Irene says:

    I always self-insure—except for cell phones. They usually are a rip-off.

  10. Donna Hull says:

    I have always considered extended warranties to be rip-offs. Your refrigerator experience proves otherwise.

  11. Heather L. says:

    I agree with Mat that it depends on what the item is. But I had a good experience with an extended warranty and a computer – it crashed before the warranty expired and I was give a brand new one at Best Buy. My problem is it’s hard to keep track of the warranties.

    • Kerri says:

      Luckily, Sears (where we purchased the hot water tank) had record of our warranty, or I would have had to go digging around in a file. I was thinking of keeping them on a spreadsheet, if I ever get that organized. But if the computer crashed, that wouldn’t have helped you!

  12. Alexandra says:

    I find these warranties very exasperating, too. I usually do not purchase them anymore, although we were able to get a new furnace thanks to an extended warranty my parents had bought years and years ago. It took Sears months to agree the furnace had a real problem, but when they did, we got a new one without any argument. $4000 worth!

    • Kerri says:

      Wow, now that is an extended warranty that would have been worth having! Too bad you had such trouble with them in the first place, though.

  13. Mat says:

    For us, it depends upon what it is and how expensive the coverage is. We bought a new TV about 2 years ago for $600 and a 5-year warranty for it for another $75. Totally, totally worth it, considering the 9-year lifespan it is expected to have. And I’ve used it. Same for the little TV we bought for our son’s room…which the wife and I bought for ourselves when we spent every night, all night, rocking him back to sleep. It now lives in our room.
    We didn’t buy the warranty on our fridge, when we moved into our house 7 years ago, though we probably should have. It as always struggled to maintain 45* in the summertime and I suspect that it isn’t long for this world.

    • Kerri says:

      We also get the warranties on high end electronics (not computers, though). After having the first fridge in our little house only last 4 years, we did purchase the extended warranty on the one we have now. Good luck with that fridge, Mat. Dale scoots ours out and vacumms off that back panel about every 6 months, he says that helps the efficiency. Have you tried that?

  14. It’s always so hard to know. I do think it is worthwhile on dishwashers since we always seem to have problems with them. My husband says not to do it with electronics because by that point the item is already outdated and you’re better to put the money towards a new model.

  15. Kerri says:

    I agree, Olivia. We’re not good at saving money for stuff like this. I somehow need a goal, so having that warranty when I need it is priceless to me. Like I said, I would have had to give up the AC for this if we had to pay for it!

  16. Olivia says:

    DH and I disagree on this. He never gets the extended warranty on anything but I do on all MY electronics. Even my kids – the boys especially – tease me about this but if something goes wrong I want “them” to fix it. I find that as I get older I want more protection. I have even carried CAA for years – haven’t had to use it yet, although the scoffing boys have taken advantage of it – but I like to know it’s there if I need it. No way could I change a tire by myself or break into my car if I lock myself out. As the ads say, “Peace of mind . . . priceless!”