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Home appliance insurance

Do you need separate insurance for your appliances?

Father and son emptying a dishwasher

It's so annoying when your washing machine gives up the ghost for no reason. Especially when it happens mid-cycle. No one wants to spend hundreds of pounds replacing appliances, but do you need to insure your appliances individually?

Check your manufacturer's warranty

Warranties cover you for repair or replacement if there is a fault with an appliance within a certain time. The manufacturer will usually provide a warranty for one or two years after you bought the product.

But just how long should you expect an appliance to last for?

Consumer rights champion, Which? asked several washing machine manufacturers how long they expected their own machines to last. Indesit, who owns Hotpoint said they'd expect their machines to last seven to eight years and Miele said their washing machines are tested to last 20 years. Yet standard warranties last only one or two years. Only a few models have longer warranties.

So, what happens if your machine grinds to a halt after your two-year warranty has run out?

You may be covered by your home insurance

Home contents insurance covers the goods in your home for loss or damage caused by fire, flood, theft and, if included in your policy, accidental damage.

Accidental damage can cover your appliances for:

  • DIY accidents, such as drilling into the side of your built-in dishwasher by mistake
  • Child related accidents, like drinks being spilt or crayons being posted down the back of your fridge freezer
  • Pet related incidents, like your new puppy chewing through appliance cables

And, if your claim is accepted, you'll usually get a new replacement of your old item.

If you find that the failure of your appliance is actually due to a problem with your electrics or internal plumbing, you may be able to get the underlying problem sorted with your home emergency cover.

This type of insurance helps pay towards getting emergency assistance from an approved tradesperson at any time of the day or night. Very handy if a leaking pipe threatens to flood the kitchen at 3am.

In the case of recalls of faulty goods by the manufacturers, it's very important that you follow the manufacturer's guidelines about how you use the product whilst they either repair or replace it. There's a possibility that an insurer may not pay out for a claim if you leave the appliance unattended and the manufacturer's guidelines tell you not to.

Home emergency and accidental damage cover won't insure you against wear and tear, lack of maintenance or faulty workmanship. But you may be able to go back to the manufacturer if you believe your appliance has broken down because of a fault with its construction.

Know your rights!

  • of satisfactory quality. Not damaged or faulty when you receive them.
  • fit for purpose. You should be able to use it for what it was intended.
  • as described. The item should match any description given.

You have the right to a full refund if the appliance you've bought doesn't meet the criteria above, as long as you complain about the item within 30 days of buying it.

After 30 days, the retailer has one opportunity to repair or replace the item. If a repair is not successful, you can request a full or partial refund in certain circumstances.

Which? has some very useful information about how to return faulty goods.

Separate appliance insurance – is it worth it?

If you're concerned about your appliances not being insured for breakdowns after the standard warranty runs out, there are two types of extra cover you can buy.

Extended warranty

This is the insurance that the shop or manufacturer tries to sell you when you buy the appliance. Sometimes it can cost nearly as much as the item itself. However, it will cover you for faults and breakdowns during the time you have the warranty.

Be sure to read the small print though as there are often exclusions about what's covered.

Appliance insurance

This type of insurance tends to group different types of appliance together. For example you can get cover for all kitchen appliances, or all gas appliances. It can be cheaper to insure several appliances in one policy rather than take out an extended warranty for each machine.

Again you'll be covered for faults and repairs and some appliance insurance will cover you for accidents as well. But if you already have home contents insurance, you may well be covered for accidental damage already.

When you're deciding whether to take out extra insurance for your appliances remember:

  • Check what your home insurance policy already covers
  • Shop around. Haggle with the retailer about the price.
  • Does your bank account provide an extended warranty?
  • Ask about exclusions.

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