Credit card extended warranties: How do they work?

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Some credit cards come with valuable benefits that may not seem that great until you actually need them. One such hidden credit card perk is the extended warranty, which can kick in to cover the cost of repairs or a replacement if a pricey item you purchased starts having problems or stops working completely.

The purpose of extended warranties is exactly what it sounds like it would be—to extend warranties on items that already come with a manufacturer’s warranty. This means credit card extended warranties are mostly for large purchases you make (i.e. electronics, appliances) and not really for everyday spending.

While it’s pretty obvious an extended warranty won’t come into play for the bulk of items you purchase with a credit card, having this protection can easily save you thousands of dollars if your laptop goes on the fritz within weeks of purchase, or if your new refrigerator’s ice maker quits doing its job.

If you want to know how to use a credit card extended warranty or where you can get one, read on to learn more.

What is a credit card extended warranty?

A credit card extended warranty applies to a purchase that offers a manufacturer’s warranty to begin with, and you can qualify for this coverage just by paying with the right credit card.

The terms of your credit card extended warranty coverage can vary based on the type of card you have, but extended warranties are usually available for a set amount of time and up to a specific dollar amount. Other terms can apply. For example, credit card extended warranties from some types of cards may only apply to manufacturer’s warranties that last for a specific period of time, like three years or less.

What is covered by credit card warranties—and what isn’t

What this coverage includes (and excludes) can also vary depending on the credit card you have. That being said, most credit card extended warranties will add at least one year of warranty coverage after the item’s manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Covered events usually match the manufacturer’s warranty terms and conditions, but may include coverage for defects in material or workmanship of a product. If you purchase a refrigerator and the ice maker or electronic control board stops working, for example, this is typically something that would be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty while it’s in force.

Instances that exclude your item from coverage from a manufacturer’s warranty vary depending on your card, but may include acts of war, normal wear and tear, damage caused by modifications to the product and more. Make sure to read through your credit card’s extended warranty paperwork so you know what is and isn’t included ahead of time.

Best credit cards for extended warranties

Many credit cards offer extended warranty coverage, but some cards offer longer or better coverage than others. Here are three of the top rewards credit cards with credit card extended warranty benefits:

Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best premier travel credit card

  • Rewards: Earn 10X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 10X points on hotels and car rentals through Chase, 10X points on Chase dining purchases, 5X points on flights booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on travel and dining (after earning your $300 travel credit) and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • Welcome offer: Receive 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening.
  • Annual fee: $550

Alongside its myriad other luxury perks, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers extended warranty coverage good for up to $10,000 provided the item has a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less. Claims per account qualify for a maximum benefit of $50,000.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best cash back credit card with extended warranty coverage

  • Rewards: Earn 5 percent back on travel booked through Chase, 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases.
  • Welcome offer: Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
  • Annual fee: $0

The Chase Freedom Unlimited also comes with one year of extended warranty protection on manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less. This coverage is good for up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account.

American Express® Gold Card: Best Amex credit card with extended warranty coverage

  • Rewards: Earn 4X points on dining worldwide, 4X points on up to $25,000 in spending at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked direct or with AmexTravel.com and 1X points on other purchases.
  • Welcome offer: Receive 60,000 Membership rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.
  • Annual fee: $250

The American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it, including one year of extended warranty coverage added to manufacturer’s warranties of five years or less. This perk is worth up to $10,000 per covered purchase and up to $50,000 per eligible card.

What to look for in an extended warranty

If you’re choosing a credit card based on its extended warranty coverage, there are definitely factors that make some coverage better than others. Here are the main details to be aware of:

  • Coverage per claim: Most credit card extended warranties come with a per-claim limit of around $10,000, but some cards offer more or less extended warranty coverage, so make sure to check.
  • Limits per eligible card: Some cards also offer coverage with limits for each eligible card, which may be as high as $50,000. These limits are still worth noting if you plan to purchase a lot of expensive equipment with your credit card and want extended warranty benefits to apply.
  • Length of coverage: Most extended warranties add on another year to the manufacturer’s warranty for your items, but some types of coverage only apply for original warranties of up to three years and others apply another year after a five-year manufacturer’s warranty period.
  • Exclusions: Check your card’s policy for any exclusions that might bar you from using your credit card’s extended warranty coverage. These can vary based on your card issuer.

Credit card extended warranty coverage: How to file a claim

To use your credit card’s extended warranty coverage, you should start by gathering the following information:

  • Your original receipt
  • Proof of the current manufacturer’s warranty
  • Your credit card statement that shows the purchase was made
  • A description of damage or malfunction of the product you are hoping to repair or replace

Once you have this information in hand, you’ll want to begin the process of filing a claim. However, the way you file a claim for extended warranty coverage can vary dramatically by card issuer. With American Express credit cards that offer extended warranty coverage, for example, you can only call into Amex’s claims hotline to file an extended warranty claim. With Chase credit cards that offer extended warranty coverage, on the other hand, you can file a claim over the phone or online.

The bottom line

Credit cards come with a whole host of perks many people don’t know about. This includes extended warranty protection for pricey items people commonly pay for with credit. Before you sign up for a new card, it always makes sense to check for this type of protection, as well as other benefits like purchase protection and guaranteed returns.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
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