There were a few things that I didn’t understand about “Warranties and Extended Warranties” when we bought our first RV and I am sure there are others out there is cyberland who are confused about this issue as well. So, I have written this blog in the hopes that it will help clear up some of the confusion that you and others might have about these long worded pieces of paper.
So, take a deep breath and here we go…
“Warranties and Extended Warranties”…..most, if not all of us, at one time or another, have purchased electronics, appliances, vehicles and other items, all of which have come with some sort of “Manufacturers Guarantee” or “Manufacturers Warranty”. As many of us know, this also occurs when we have purchased a new RV.
Sometimes, along with the purchase of these items, we have been offered the opportunity to purchase an “Extended Warranty” to cover any problems that may arise after the initial 90 days or one year warranty has expired.
At the top of this post is a picture of our truck and trailer. Over the past year or two, my wife and I have had to put our
“RV Extended Warranty” to use to fix a couple of issues, (pictured throughout this post), to do with our Travel Trailer. Luckily some things were totally covered but, other things were NOT.
In our case, our trailer had a back to front one-year “Manufacturers Warranty” that covered any defects in workmanship, appliances, and other working parts of our RV. We were able to get a new set of upper cabinet doors when they started exhibiting cracks in the joints.
When we purchased our RV, the salesman asked us if we would be interested in purchasing an “Extended Warranty” which we could purchase through an insurance representative that they dealt with.
In this blog, I would like to cover some of the differences between “Manufacturers Warranty” and “Extended Warranty” and what we should be looking at when we are thinking of buying an “Extended Warranty”.
Over the past couple of years, my wife and I have had to put our RV “Extended Warranty” to use to fix a couple of issues to do with our Travel Trailer. Luckily some things were totally covered but, as we discovered during the process, other things were NOT totally covered and that is why I thought it would be a great idea to write something about this issue.
This is probably the main reason many people don’t have a high opinion of extended warranties.
To begin with, I want to say that “Extended Warranties”, (also known as “Service Contracts”), WILL vary in what they cover and can be expensive depending on the type of coverage you want. That said, I still think they have value, (as I mentioned earlier, we have one on our trailer AND it has saved us a lot of money), but, this means that we have to understand what they are, what they cover and what to expect when we need to use them.
“Manufacturers” and “Extended Warranties”
So, what are the differences between a “Manufacturers Warranty” and an “Extended Warranty”? Well, let’s. see if I can adequately explain this.
Basically, a “Manufacturers Warranty”, as explained by my dictionary, (Google), says that “When you make a major purchase, the manufacturer or seller makes an important promise to stand behind the product.” (emphasis added). This is from the FTC in the US: “Federal law requires that warranties be available for you to read before you buy. Coverage varies so, go the manufacturer’s website and look for their “Owners Manual”. The warranty portion will be in there and you can compare the extent of warranty coverage just as you compare the style, price, and other characteristics of the RVs you may be interested in.
The warranty portion will be in the owner’s manual and you can compare the extent of warranty coverage just as you compare the style, price, and other characteristics of the RVs you may be interested in.
Some questions we might ask are:
1. How long does the “Manufacturers” warranty last? Always check the warranty to see when it starts and when it expires. You should also check for any conditions that may void your coverage.
In the case of our travel trailer, the manufacturer’s warranty was for the first year from the date we purchased our RV and guaranteed that our purchase would be free of defect for that period of time, from front to back. The extended warranty that we purchased was for 9 years but others are available for less.
With the repairs that we have had done, so far, our “Extended Warranty” has already paid for itself.
2. Who do you contact to get warranty service? Is it going to be the seller or the manufacturer that provides you with repair service? I think that most of the time it will have to be done through the service department of the place where the RV was purchased.
However, calling your manufacturer first is also an option. I would call the RV service department of the place where you purchased your RV first. They will answer any questions and point you in the right direction.
Most of the time the work will be done by the service department of the one who sold you the RV. In some cases, the service department will have to check with the manufacturer about parts for the RV.
If the manufacturer’s warranty has run out, they may not cover the cost of parts and or labour unless you can prove it was a fault of the manufacturer
3. What will the company do if the product fails? Read your warranty information to see whether the company will repair the item or replace it. Again, your RV service department should be able to assist you in this area.
4. What are the parts and repair problems that are covered? It’s my understanding that warranties will only cover original parts so, If you have done a repair an on your own before the warranty has expired, you may have voided the warranty and that would suck. Could be that some of the costs for labour won’t be covered either.
5. Does the warranty cover “consequential damages?” Please read all your warranty information. Nothing puts me to sleep quicker than a warranty but, it’s important to read it. At least you will know because, many warranties do not cover damages caused by the product, or your time and expense in getting the damage repaired. Suppose your freezer stops working and the food spoils, the company will not pay for the lost food. Here is an example of how this reads in our owners manual:
From my owners manual;
KEYSTONE WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR LOSS OF USE OF THE
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE, ON-SITE SERVICE CALLS OR SERVICE CHARGES, LOSS
OF TIME, INCONVENIENCE, EXPENSES FOR GASOLINE, TOWING CHARGES OR
TRANSPORTATION COSTS, RENTAL OF SUBSTITUTE EQUIPMENT, TELEPHONE, TRAVEL,
LODGING, DAMAGE OR LOSS TO PERSONAL PROPERTY, LOSS OF REVENUES, OR OTHER
COMMERCIAL LOSS, OR ANY OTHER SPECIAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, OF ANY
KIND OR NATURE RESULTING FROM ANY DEFECT IN THE RECREATIONAL VEHICLE. THIS
EXCLUSION OF CONSEQUENTIAL AND INCIDENTAL DAMAGES SHALL NOT BE DEPENDENT UPON THE WARRANTY FULFILLING ITS ESSENTIAL PURPOSE.”
Sometimes I think we need a lawyer to help us understand all this legal lingo. Boring but, you get the idea.
6. Are there any conditions or limitations on the warranty? The answer to that is a big YES. Some warranties only provide coverage if you have properly maintained your RV. Make sure the warranty will meet your needs.
RECAP – Overall, a “Manufacturers Warranty” will pretty much cover your RV for the first year to be without defect except in certain cases such as, if the RV is being used for business purposes. These warranties are not an extra cost, they are included in the price of the RV. Warranties are boring but, read them anyway and highlight the important parts, the parts that talk about what is covered and NOT covered. Inform yourself, then you won’t be surprised when the manufacturer says “No. That’s not covered.”
This may or may not be a good example but, if one does not inform themselves and does not vote in an election they really can’t complain about the outcome. We can’t leave it up to someone else.
As I mentioned, the information in this first portion comes from the FTC in the U.S. I live in Canada but the info from the “Canadian Consumer Handbook” pretty much says the same thing with a few small differences.
You can check it out at http://www.consu.merhandbook.ca/en/topics/products-and-services/warranties.
Many of you are from different countries so check out their information because it could vary from one country to the next.
Extended Warranties / Service Contracts
I hope I have given you a better understanding of what a “Manufacturers Warranty” is all about. Now I would like to look at the other part of why I am writing this blog, the “Extended Warranty/Service Contract/Maintenance Agreements”.
For the purpose of this portion, I think it would be more appropriate to use the term “Service Contract” because that is really what they are and they don’t, necessarily cover everything that was covered by the original warranty. When you buy a car, home, major appliance, RV and, yes, even a pair of “Bluetooth” earbuds, the seller will, more than likely ask if you would like to purchase a “Service Contract” or “Extended Warranty”.
These “Service Contracts” cost extra, are sold separately and provide repair and/or maintenance for a specific time on specific items. NOTE: Don’t miss this, most service contracts don’t cover everything in your RV unless you specify what you want to be covered and, as I said before, the more coverage you want the more you will have to spend.
We bought ours for a nine-year period. Here are some things that everyone should consider when thinking of purchasing a “Service Contract”.
- whether or not the warranty already covers the repairs and the time period of coverage that you would get under the service contract.
- It is going to be on the road from time to time. There are going to be stresses put on that RV that can cause some issues, something like a defective exterior panel, (left: our front nose panel had wrinkles), or an electric jack may be defective and need replacing
- the duration of the service contract
- is there a deductible clause. A deductible means YOU will have to pay the first portion. These deductibles will vary depending on what you are willing to pay and, of course, the lower the deductible the higher the cost of the service contract.
- Search the BBB and check the reputation of the company offering the service contract. The best plans should be purchased from a reputable insurance company. These are a “specialty” line in their overall business. If someone calls on the phone and offers to sell you a service contract for a price, DON’T DO IT. It could be a scam and you will never see or hear from them again. Better off to go to your dealer.
You may also be required to present certain documentation in order to make a claim against your warranty. Always be sure to keep all your warranty information in a safe place, along with your original sales receipts.
If at all possible, when an issue arises where there is damage, ALWAYS TAKE PICTURES so the company can see what’s going on before you take the RV in for a hands-on look.
This picture, at left, and others were very helpful in getting some cupboard doors replaced. If you have the dealer’s email address you can contact them and send the pictures. This works really well if you happen to be away when a problem occurs.
Benefits of the Extended Warranty
Although Extended Warranties can get pricey depending on what you want to cover, I still think they are a good idea. Others think they are a waste of money. Some of the benefits of having one would be:
- No one likes surprises of the expensive RV repairs. Here, in Canada, labour costs alone can be $90/hr or more depending on the service center. We take our RV to the dealership we purchased from and the service center there charges $130/hr.?
- An Extended Warranty would enable you to have more control over your money and budget. Having to replace a broken-down fridge would be a big hit to the bank account and may be hard to recover from. Considering money and budget, Extended Warranties are also a hedge against rising prices. Nothing ever drops in price.
- And what about resale value? An extended warranty will ensure that things that fail in your RV will be replaced and you will get better market value when you try to sell your RV.
Put all these things together and they equal “Peace of Mind” and everyone wants to sleep better and not worry unnecessarily.
If you purchase a used RV the likelihood of being able to purchase an Extended Warranty is slim to none. I think the best one could expect is to get 90 days from the date of purchase.
Extended warranties won’t cover things like items you bought after the purchase of your RV, normal wear, and tear such as rust and things that come about from poor maintenance and neglect.
Roadside assistance is also not included but, if you have something like CAA (Canadian Auto Association) or Good Sam Club, you may be eligible for this assistance. Check out your local auto club, (if you have one), to see what is available.
Summary: In the end, I think Extended Warranties are a good idea. They can be a little expensive depending on the kind of coverage you are looking for but, if you have one, at least you know that you will be covered for those unexpected problems that can/will arise from time to time.
I hope this information has been of some help to you as you look at the possibilities of purchasing an Extended Warranty for your RV. And, as always, if you like what you have read here please leave a comment or question below and I will be sure to answer. If there are any topics I haven’t covered on this site that you need to know about, let me know.
As always, have a great camping season and don’t forget to DRIVE SAFE.