Hampden County

Things to consider before spending your money on an extended warranty

Before buying an extended warranty, make sure it doesn't cost more than the item you want to insure.

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Whether it's a television or a refrigerator, it seems we're asked if we want a warranty on everything, but when is it really worth it?

Before buying an extended warranty, make sure it doesn't cost more than the item you want to insure. That largely narrows down eligible items to big ticket appliances or cars.

Don't do it right away. Take advantage of the manufacturer's warranty, register your item, and then you'll be notified when it's time to consider an extended warranty. Ask for a printout of the terms and conditions.

"You want to read those exclusions, those limitations, those conditions. Most consumers believe what they're being told and then when they need to use the warranty, 'Oh, sorry Mr. Smith, that is not covered under the warranty," Springfield Mayor's Office of Consumer Information Director Milagros Johnson told 22News.

"If you use a credit card to purchase your appliance, you may already have a built-in extended warranty, doubling the manufacturer's warranty for up to 12 months.

Brian Zippin, President of Contractors Home Appliances, said manufacturer and extended warranties cover electrical or mechanical errors, not user error or wear and tear. "The days of having a refrigerator for 25 years are gone, so people are more encouraged and getting more and more interested in buying the extended warranties…If you can spend 10 or 15 percent of the purchase price on basically an insurance policy, then it makes sense to do it," Zippin told 22News.

You also have to consider what will happen if the company goes out of business before your warranty expires. Johnson said that's just like having a gift card to a company: It can be difficult to get your money back. As for extended warranties on used cars, Johnson said you should remember that the company will likely require you to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for maintenance work and checkups. If you miss a maintenance milestone, the warranty may no longer cover the cost for future repairs.


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