Household appliance warranty
When you buy a household appliance or an electronic product you will usually be asked whether you would also like to purchase an extended warranty, which offers cover beyond the standard 12-month manufacturer's guarantee, just in case the item goes wrong.
With the Office of Fair Trading receiving frequent complaints about way in which warranties are sold, and with some providers refusing to pay out on claims when the product develops a problem, you have to ask whether these extended warranties are worth the extra expense.
What do extended warranties cover you for?
Extended warranties should ensure that a product will be fixed if any problems appear after the manufacturer's guarantee has expired, within the period of cover (usually two or three years). They can be very expensive, however, and with the quality of household appliances and electronic goods improving all the time, you may never end up needing to make a claim.
Ironically, with the falling price of many electronic goods, it can actually work out cheaper to replace an item a few years down the line rather than pay for the extended warranty, which may well expire before you need to use it.
Alternative cover for all your household appliances in one go
Household appliance faults are not usually covered by a standard household contents insurance policy, so usually you will need to pay extra to protect them. Extended warranties are not the only option, however. As an alternative, you could take out a specialist household appliance warranty which will cover you for a range of appliances (and sometimes electronic devices) in one hit. This simplifies things -- reducing your paperwork and your premium payments, and giving you one number to call whenever you need help.
It is also generally cheaper and offers better cover than a warranty purchased from a high street shop, and you can compare premiums online before committing yourself. A multi-appliance policy will cover you for several appliances. For example, a policy covering up to five appliances each of a value of no more than £3,000 could cost you around £10 per month. You will usually be able to find cheaper policies to cover fewer items, and more expensive policies to cover a larger number of appliances or electronic devices. Some offer the option to extend cover to include electronic items such as plasma TBs and LCD televisions for a small additional cost of a couple of pounds a month per item.
Many of these specialist household appliance warranties will cover you if slightly older items go wrong, of up to say eight years old, and since older appliances and electronic devices are more likely to develop faults this can prove very worthwhile. It's sometimes possible to add on accidental damage cover, too, which would not usually be an option with extended warranties bought on the high street.