Last updated: 23/07/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes
Insuring your appliances
We often take our appliances for granted, until our washing machine leaks or our freezer thaws the ice cream. And once we’ve been plunged back into the 19th century, forced to wash clothing by hand or make do without chilled food, we can’t get our white goods repaired fast enough.
A standard home contents insurance policy will cover your appliances if they are damaged or destroyed in a fire, storm, flood, other natural disaster or if they’re stolen. But it won’t cover these kitchen essentials if they break down due to age, wear and tear or are accidentally damaged.
Appliance insurance policies can cover these eventualities, compensating you for the repair or replacement of appliances, including ovens, hobs, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, and more.
In This Guide:
- What is appliance insurance?
- What does appliance insurance cover?
- What are common exclusions on appliance insurance policies?
- Do you need appliance insurance?
- What should you look for in an appliance insurance policy?
What is appliance insurance?
Appliance insurance, also called an extended warranty, is a specialised type of insurance that delivers a payout if one of your appliances breaks down due to age, wear and tear or accidental damage. Payouts will cover repair or replacement if the appliance is beyond repair. Most policies also cover call out charges for repairmen, parts and labour. On top of that, they should give you access to a helpline that can connect you with trained engineers quickly, so you won’t have to do without your oven or washing machine for long.
Appliance insurance policies typically last 12 months, at which point they can be renewed. You may also find policies that last longer.
You won’t need to obtain a separate insurance policy for each appliance. Most policies allow you to add on more appliances and will even give you a discount, often 5%, off your premiums for every policy you include. Some will only allow you to insure two or more appliances.
You can purchase these policies from an insurance company. They may also be offered by the retailer when you buy the appliance. But it’s best to shop around. An insurance comparison site like Money Expert can give you access to as many quotes as possible, to help you find the policy with the best price and best cover.
What does appliance insurance cover?
Appliance insurance covers you for the repair or replacement of appliances if they:
- develop mechanical problems, due to fault, age, or wear and tear or
- sustain accidental damage
Payouts cover repair costs, including parts, labour and call out fees, or, if repair is impossible, the replacement of the appliance with a similar model. However, only appliances under a certain age - typically three years - will be eligible for replacement. You’ll also generally have to use an authorised repairer or your claim will be rejected. But your insurance should give you access, via a helpline, to engineers who can be called out quickly.
Appliance insurance typically covers the following appliances:
- washing machines
- tumble dryers
What are common exclusions on appliance insurance policies?
All insurance policies have exclusions or events they won’t cover. Typical exclusions on appliance insurance policies include:
- cosmetic damage, including dents and scratches
- deliberate damage
- faults arising from your failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- the replacement of batteries, fuses, and bulbs
- problems that existed before you took out the cover
- delivery and installation costs
- call out costs if no fault is found with the appliance
- damage to appliances if your home has been vacant for more than 30 days
- repairs that have not been carried out by an authorised engineer
- claims for appliances used in commercial ventures - e.g. for ovens and dishwashers in a cafe or restaurant
Unfortunately, most policies will not cover appliances over eight years old, so you may struggle to insure older white goods.
Do you need appliance insurance?
You likely already have a contents insurance policy that you believe protects your appliance. Do you need additional cover for them?
In fact, yes. Appliance insurance offers a different kind of protection from standard home insurance. Standard contents insurance policies only provide payouts if the appliance is damaged in an insured event, like a fire or natural disaster, and won’t compensate you if it simply stops working, either due to mechanical fault or wear and tear. That’s what appliance insurance is for.
But you won’t need to insure appliances that are still under a manufacturer’s guarantee. These guarantees entitle you to repairs by the manufacturer or to replacement machines if they stop working. However, they typically only last a few years - one to five is standard, depending on the item - and once they lapse, you’re financially responsible for any repairs or replacements, even if they need to be done by the manufacturer.
Additionally, all appliances under six months old are protected by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Under this law, if your appliance develops a fault within six months of its purchase date, you’re entitled to full refund from the retailer. So, you won’t need to insure any freshly bought appliances.
To determine if it is worth insuring your appliances, compare the yearly cost of a policy with the cost of replacing the appliances. If it’s cheaper to replace them outright than to buy two or three years of insurance, you can probably forgo these policies. This is especially true if your appliances are older. Appliances over three years old typically won’t qualify for replacement under insurance policies and those over eight are ineligible for most insurance, or very expensive to insure.
What should you look for in an appliance insurance policy?
When you compare home insurance, you’ll receive quotes from dozens of insurers in seconds. Here’s what to look for when deciding between them. Hint: don’t just look at the premium price.
- Premiums: this is how much you’ll pay for the policy, usually spread over its 12-month term. You may be able to get a discount if you pay for the full policy upfront.
- Maximum Item Cover: the maximum value of a single insured appliance. Look for a policy with a maximum cover that at least matches the value of your most expensive appliance.
- Maximum Number of Claims: some policies will restrict the number of times you can claim per year, usually to three. Other offer an unlimited number of claims.
- Excess: the amount you’ll be expected to pay toward any claim. Sometimes insurers will offer £0 excesses on callouts but expect you to pay towards any repairs.
- Claims Limit: the most an insurer will pay out for a claim.