Like to shop often? Whether you’re buying a new cordless drill or plasma screen TV, you may hear a cashier ask you about purchasing an extended warranty. Before you consider buying the warranty, you may want to reconsider because your credit card may already have something called “extended warranty protection” built into it.
Curious to find out more? Let’s take a look at how your credit card’s extended warranty protection works.
What is Extended Warranty Protection?
If you use your credit card on eligible purchases, you may have additional coverage that mirrors the original manufacturer’s warranty. Typically, this extended warranty protection lasts up to 12 months of coverage and follows the fine print of the original warranty. For example, if your refrigerator’s warranty covers manufacturing defects including normal wear and tear, your extended warranty will follow suit.
Why is Extended Warranty Protection a Good Deal?
If an item you purchased exceeds its original warranty and breaks down afterward, your credit card’s payment network may reimburse you for your loss. That’s what makes extended warranty protection so valuable.
Additionally, retailers offer their own version of extended warranties—which are generally offered as service plans—and have a tendency to be pricey. Even despite the cost, a 2016 study by Consumer Reports found that most products didn’t break in the service window plans offered by retailers. Additionally, those service plans didn’t recoup the cost of coverage versus people who opted out of the coverage.
Therefore, you may want to skip out on the service plan and rely on your credit card’s extended warranty policy instead. After all, it’s included in most cards.
However, be sure to check with your credit card’s benefits to make sure that the purchase is eligible for coverage. If you’re using Sift, one of the most important features is being able to monitor the extended warranty period of each purchase. This saves you the guesswork, ensuring that your purchases are safeguarded and easy to recoup.
What Isn’t Covered by Extended Warranty Protection?
Not every credit card purchase is covered by this extended warranty protection. Items without manufacturer’s warranties to begin with aren’t covered. More expensive purchases, like a motorized vehicles or computers, tend to not be covered by this protection. Other items are excluded simply for their propensity to break and wear down within a short period of time.
To give you some idea of what else may be excluded, here is just a small portion of non-applicable purchases from MasterCard’s guide to their credit card benefits:
Used or antique items; collectibles of any kind (such as items designed for people to collect or items that over time become collectibles) that do not come with a manufacturer warranty (repair or replacement amount will not include market value at time of claim); recycled, previously owned, refurbished, rebuilt, or remanufactured items; product guarantees (e.g., glass breakage).
Take the fine print into consideration when weighing your purchase. Your car dealer may honor their warranty, but your credit card will most likely not.
Requirements for Filing an Extended Warranty Claim
Credit card companies won’t just take your word for it when it comes to honoring your extended warranty claims. In addition to filling out extensive claim forms from the credit card company, you’ll have to supply them with the following documents:
- store receipt (original copy)
- credit card account statement (w/ proof of purchase)
- a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty
- any other warranty or service plan policies (if related to your claim)
After submitting the forms, it is up to the examiner of the credit card company to approve or deny your claim. They may ask for more information and additional forms as your claim is investigated. As a rule of thumb, smaller claims are processed quicker than larger claims.
To make your life easier and expedite the approval/denial process, every credit card company has online warranty managers. Submitting images and documents can be handled exclusively online, so it makes sense to make digital copies beforehand. This is especially true when your receipts and warranty statements may be filed away in last year’s taxes.
A Comparison of Extended Warranties
While most of the extended warranty coverage plans do have many of the same benefits across payment networks and policy issuers, there are a few key differences to be aware of.
|American Express1||Discover2||MasterCard3||Visa Signature4|
|Participating cards||All||All||All||Only Visa Signature cards|
|Name of extended warranty program||American Express Extended Warranty
|Discover Extended Warranty
|MasterCard Extended Warranty
|Visa Extended Protection
|Maximum extra time offered on original warranty||12 months (3 years for Centurion members)||12 months||12 months||12 months|
|Maximum duration of original warranty||5 years||3 years||1 year on standard cards, up to 5 on World cards (varies by issuer)||3 years|
|Window to file claim?||within 30 days of loss.||within 45 days of loss.||within 60 days of loss.||within 60 days of loss.|
|Typical period for reimbursement and claims processing||within 14 business days after the examiner receives the paperwork.||within 60 days after the examiner receives the paperwork.||Depending on the size of the claim, it could take between 7 days and a few months to get a claim approved and receive a reimbursement.||within 5 days of receiving the paperwork, a customer service rep will follow up with the claimant. If the request is approved, reimbursement within 7-10 days.|
|Maximum coverage per claim||$10,000||$10,000||$10,000||$10,000|
|Maximum coverage per year||$50,000||$50,000||No limit||$50,000|
|Is wear-and-tear coverage included?||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Type of reimbursement||Statement credit||Statement credit||Check by mail||Check by mail|
|Typical exclusions||Motorized vehicles; motorized devices used for landscaping, demolition or construction; real estate or motorized devices installed in a building; plants; pets; perishables; consumables; land or buildings; items purchased for resale, professional or commercial use; products covered by an unconditional satisfaction guarantee; items still under installment billing
|Motorized vehicles such as cars and boats; services; plants; software; perishables; used or refurbished items; items purchased for resale; real estate or permanently installed items such as ceiling fans
|Motorized vehicles such as cars and boats; software; antiques; pets; plants; many floor models; consumables; refurbished or used items; data storage media such as DVDs; real estate or permanently installed items such as ceiling fans||Cars, aircraft and boats, i; rented or leased items; software; antiques; pets, plants; perishables; consumables; medical equipment; used items; items purchased for resale, professional or commercial use; real estate or permanently installed items such as ceiling fans, items purchased outside the U.S. that do not have a valid U.S. repair warranty
When an eligible item breaks down or needs to be replaced, your credit card’s extended warranty protection could potentially save you hundreds of dollars. However, it can be a headache trying to determine when and if your items are no longer eligible by the extended warranty.
This is when Sift can really come in handy. The app automatically tracks eligible purchases, letting you know before the manufacturer warranty is expiring and the remaining length of your card’s extended warranty period. If you have to file a claim, Sift will send you the receipts along with all the instructions on how to file the claim.