You might not know it, but many credit cards come with a lot of additional perks and insurance coverage these days in addition to the rewards we have all become accustomed to. Many people can’t be bothered to look into the fine print about their coverage, but It really pays to pay attention to these things.
How much does it pay exactly?
Well, for me, I was able to make a successful claim for $363.78 to repair my relatively new washer and dryer set (full details on that story down below)!
Not bad eh? But, how did I do it?
1) Make Sure Your Policy Covers The Item In Question
Most insurance policies have limitations, but after reading the fine print of dozens of policies myself, they are usually pretty reasonable. Before buying a product and counting on extra warranty coverage from your credit card, first make sure that the item is indeed covered under the warranty.
What you are looking for is extended warranty coverage details that should be included in the information package they sent you with your credit card. If not, the details may be available through your bank’s website or you can call the number on the back of your card and request they send them to you.
Related: How To Get A Better Insurance Rate
What you will mostly likely find is that the coverage extends your manufacturer’s warranty by doubling it up to an additional year. This means that if a product has 3 months of warranty coverage, it will double to 6 months. If it has 1 year of coverage, it will double to two years. If it has 3 years of coverage, you will get 1 extra year making it 4 years total.
Common exclusions are for extremely expensive items like motorized vehicles of any kind, jewellery, items that wear out due to regular wear and tear (think tires and brakes), and items that come with an original manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or more.
In the latter case, sometimes you can still get the extra time tacked on but you usually need to register the product with your credit card company (or their insurance underwriter) first. Some cards also have a dollar limit over which you also have to register the product to be eligible, but most don’t.
2) Pay For Your Purchase With Your Credit Card
Any time you are purchasing something that has a warranty (most non-consumable items), make sure you pay for the full value of the product using your credit card. Under nearly all circumstances, the coverage will automatically be in force without you having to do anything else.
Seeing as it’s the better and safer way to pay, this should be automatic for you anyway to get rewards and limit your liability to fraud. Unless, of course, you struggle with credit card debt, then you should cut up those cards and pay off the debt!
3) Keep Your Original Receipt And Warranty Document
As soon as you make a valuable purchase, you should file away the original receipt along with a photocopy (receipts fade in time) and the user manual that contains the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty. When it comes time to make the claim, you will need both of these documents. If you purchased the product online, then your receipt should already be stored safely away in your and online retailer account already for when you need it.
I used to try and save receipts for every item I purchased, but I later realized that saving these documents for $10-$20 items just wasn’t worth it. In most cases, the cost of shipping and handling back to the manufacturer for repair combined with the hassle of making a warranty claim makes it easier to just buy a new one and be done with it.
4) Possibly Make A Copy Of Your Statement
Most banks will now allow you to access all your statements online. Some of them allow you to go back in time indefinitely, while others cut it off at the most recent year or two. You’ll want to check on this with your bank, otherwise it may make sense to go in once a month or once a year and download all your statements to your hard drive.
If you forget this step, you usually have the option to pay a small fee for them to retrieve a copy of your statement from their archives and either mail or email it to you. Another option is to print it and throw it in with your receipt and warranty document to keep everything in one place for easy future access.
5) Call As Soon As You Know The Item Is Broken
First, make sure that the original warranty has expired and that you are within the time period of your extended coverage.
Then, call the number on the back of your card as soon as you know that the item is broken. They are usually understanding about a short lag time, but if you don’t call them soon enough and you tell them it broke months ago, they may just deny your claim.
They will start by opening a claim for you and taking the details, then informing you how to proceed with the claim, and finally they will send you an information package with a claim form you can use to help complete the claim.
6) Get A Repair Estimate Or Save The Repair Bill
This can vary depending on your coverage, but you usually have the option of getting a repair estimate and submitting that to be reimbursed OR actually getting the repair done, paying for it yourself out of pocket, then submitting the repair bill to be reimbursed later. They should give you the details about this when you call them and if not, simply ask.
Make sure you get an authorized repair facility to do the work. Call the original manufacturer and ask them how to go about getting your product fixed. To avoid confusion, you might not want to tell them it is a “warranty claim” because, really, it isn’t. You are requesting a repair and the insurance company is going to reimburse you the cost after the fact.
Here is my repair estimate for my washer and dryer set from Sears to give you an idea of what one might look like:
7) Carefully Fill Out The Claim Form
There should have been a claim form provided with the information package that you received. Make sure you go through this with a fine tooth comb and fill out all the sections accurately and completely.
Here are a few examples of what they might ask for:
- Your full name, address, and contact information.
- Details about which credit card you used to make the purchase.
- A description of the item, including model and serial number.
- A description of the problem and why you are making a claim.
- Details about the original purchase date and price.
- Your signature and the signing date.
8) Submit Your Claim
Once that’s done, all you have left to do is to submit your claim either by snail mail, fax, or email. I chose to do mine by snail mail just to avoid scanning in a bunch of documents but email is probably the fastest.
Package up and send them the following:
- Completed claim form.
- Copy of the credit card statement showing the purchase.
- Copy of the store receipt for the purchase.
- Copy of the original manufacturer’s warranty.
- Copy of the repair bill or estimate from an authorized repair facility.
That’s it, you’re done!
Now, all you have to do is wait for the cheque to arrive in the mail or possibly field any questions they might have after receiving your claim.
Here is the cheque receipt from my claim:
My Washer And Dry Claim Story
Being the skeptic I am, I expect insurance companies to try to weasel out of paying claims, even though I don’t think I’ve ever had a claim denied - I know it’s irrational! As long you have your documents in order, it is actually a pretty smooth process. With my washer and dryer for example, I wasn’t even sure that they were really broken, but I didn’t want to wait until my warranty was expired to find out for sure.
With the washer, I had noticed that the water temperature control didn’t seem to be working properly. It was filling the tub with hot water when I selected warm or cool, which should have been mixing in cold water. With some frigging, I could usually get it to work, but it was not how I remembered it functioning when I first bought it.
With the dryer, I use the auto-dry feature every time and I noticed my clothes were coming out quite damp much more often. I set it to max dry every time, so I was perplexed.
It turns out that neither one of these issues may have been an actual defect.
The washer uses a temperature control system that actually tests the temperature of the water flowing into the tub (it’s a very cheap set so I didn’t expect that). According to the technician, it does take time to test and adjust things, which could explain the lag I was experiencing sometimes when changing the setting. The weather had also recently gotten much colder, which would mean the water coming from outside would also be colder. That could have been affecting the water temperature regulation too.
The dryer has a sensor that rubs up against the clothes as they are spinning and senses their moisture content. What may have been happening here is that when you mix laundry that dries at different speeds, the sensor could trigger when something dry rubs up against it repeatedly even though other garments may still be damp.
In any case, I was on the hook for almost $100 just to have the technician come and visit so I asked if the technician could replace them anyway because I was still convinced that they weren’t working right. He said that he may not have been able to authorize the repair normally, but since Sears wasn’t footing the bill, it was no problem.
Long story short, I submitted the claim and no questions were ever asked about it. The cheque just arrived in the mail a few weeks later.
Which Credit Cards Have The Best Extended Warranty Coverage?
Those cards that offer extended warranty, typically give you up to a one year extension on your warranty period. However, there are a few cards that offer 2 years. Many of those cards either have a high annual fee, high minimum income requirements, or are issued by Capital One because they give up to 2 additional years on all their cards.
Related: Big Savings On Gas!
These cards give you 2 extra years at a reasonable cost:
- Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum Mastercard
- Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard
- Capital One Platinum Mastercard for Costco members
- Cuets Low Fee Choice Rewards Mastercard
What’s Your Experience?
I’m curious what your experience is with credit card extended warranties. Did you even know they exist? Have you always meant to use it but never have? Have you made a failed or successful claim already?
Let me know in the comments.