What Is a (Lifetime) Warranty

broken phone

What Is A Warranty?

When buying things online, It may say on the description, or, on the package of the item in a store, this item includes a lifetime warranty. Is that a reason to buy an item? What is a lifetime warranty altogether? And how is that different from a regular warranty?

First let’s explain what a warranty is, this won’t take long.

insurance on...

Most houses, cars, and businesses, are insured. The reason for this, is that sometimes things happen to these things. Such as when a house burns down, the person whose house burned, will have no place to live. So, insurance companies charge a little money every month, then, if a persons house burns down, they’ll pay for the house.

The same thing is by cars and businesses. Nowadays, many items you buy, come with insurance, straight from the company. This can be for one-year, two years, or a lifetime warranty this means, that if your item breaks [and it’s not your fault] the company will reimburse, replace, or fix your item. On a limited time warranty this is restricted to the time stated. For example, on a one-year warranty, they’ll only reimburse you for one-year. Whereas, on a lifetime warranty, you’ll be able to use the warranty, to replace, fix or get reimbursed for your purchase forever. (Although, once you use the warranty, you forfeit the warranty, never to be able to use the warranty again).

Companies generally ask for proof that the item broke, when you want to redeem a warranty, sometimes, requesting you to send in the actual item. They can even request the customer (you) to pay for shipping the broken item to them, but most times, if they ask you to send them the item, they will pay for shipping.

Almost all warranties, that you don’t pay for, will only cover accidents, that are not the fault of the customer. For example, if you dropped a product, most warranties will not reimburse you. In the instance where your item falls into water, or, if you do anything intentionally harming to the item, the company will usually not honor the warranty.

You Can Buy a Warranty For Extra Coverage

broken plate

On many items that don’t offer you a warranty, or that the warranty is for a very limited time, you can buy a warranty, from the store. Stores sometimes offer you to buy a warranty, on things like, electronics, housewares, furniture, or even appliances. For example, when buying things on Best Buy you’ll usually get the option to buy a warranty from Geek Squad.

These warranties are better for two reasons,

  1. They offer you longer coverage times than most manufactures’ warranties,
  2. They sometimes offer to pay for things that are your fault, such as if you drop the item, (they will tell you if they’ll pay for this, but it will probably be more expensive). You can also request that they do or do not protect against extra coverage, and they should tell you the price difference, between regular coverage, and extra coverage.

Should I Buy A Warranty?
person selling

In order to decide on which products you should buy a warranty (usually only available for a few years, not a lifetime warranty) and which products you shouldn’t buy a warranty, you need to take into account, a few considerations.

Reasons you should not buy a warranty:

  1. The product you want to buy comes with a lifetime warranty
  2. The product you want to buy comes with a warranty of at least one-year
  3. The product you want to buy is not fragile (not easily breakable)
  4. The warranty you want to buy, costs more than one fifth (1/5), of the value of the item purchased. For example, if the item costs $100, and the warranty is $21 or more, don’t buy the warranty.
  5. You are the type of person who will not use the warranty [either because you’ll lose it, or because you don’t like the hassle of claiming warranties.]

Reasons you should buy a warranty:

  1. The product you want to buy comes with a warranty of one-year or less, and
  2. The product you want to buy is fragile, and
  3. The warranty you want to buy, costs less than one fifth(1/5)the value of the item you want to buy (explained in number 4 above), and
  4. You are organized, so you won’t lose the warranty, and you don’t mind the hassle of returning the item.

Now you can decide if you want to buy the warranty. If you decide to buy it just choose to add warranty, when you’re prompted to online You can sometimes ask for a warranty by checkout or from customer service, online.

Get A FREE WarrantyFREE sign

Believe it or not, sometimes, there’s no reason to buy an extended warranty, instead you can actually get it for free. There are a few ways to get a warranty for free, but my favorite way is to use a credit card. Many credit cards, nowadays offer warranties for one year, on all your purchases. When using such credit cards, there’s no reason to buy a warranty, all you have to do is pay for the item with that card, and if the item breaks, just call the number on the back of your card.

Most credit cards offer one year of protection on your purchases, and that should usually be good enough, so you shouldn’t have to buy an extended warranty. The Costco card, and many other Citi credit cards come with two years of extended warranty, which start only after the manufactures’warranty finishes. So this can sometimes give you four years of coverage (two from the manufacturer, and two years from Citi). Just keep in mind that Citi does not give a warranty, on an item which has no manufacturer warranty.


The best items are always the ones with a lifetime warranty (of course), and that’s what you should definitely aim for, but if the item you want does not come with a lifetime warranty, see in the above article, if you should buy a warranty, or maybe you can get a free warranty. Did you ever use your warranty?

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