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5 Common Assumptions About Product Warranties (And How To Avoid Them)

July 21st, 2022 | 8 min. read

5 Common Assumptions About Product Warranties (And How To Avoid Them)

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Before making any big purchase, you want to know it is worth it, right?

You’re thinking about how the product will perform, how long it will last, and if the investment you’re about to make matches the quality of the product. 

But, you also must consider if the product has a quality warranty that will protect your purchase in the future.

Understanding product warranties can be tricky. They are often covered in long sentences with technical vocabulary that makes you want to give up as soon as you start looking through them. 

However, it is crucial you understand the details of a product’s warranty before making a large investment. 

You need to know what to look for in a warranty and what mistakes to avoid when analyzing a warranty. Then, you’ll be able to find a quality warranty that meets your needs for your investment and will know exactly what common assumptions to avoid making. 

With Southwest Exteriors, we want to make understanding warranties as simple as possible. As a San Antonio home remodeling company since 1989, we’ve helped thousands of homeowners understand the importance of warranties and what they need to know. 

We’ve also seen and helped many homeowners who were taken advantage of by a faulty company with a faulty warranty. 

This is why we want you to know the common mistakes and assumptions many homeowners make about product warranties so you can avoid them. 

In this article, we will discuss five common assumptions about product warranties. 

After reading, you’ll be able to look at a product warranty with a discerning eye, aware of the mistakes many have made to ensure you don’t do the same. 


What assumptions to AVOID when analyzing a product warranty (5 things)

Typically, when you’re looking for advice on something, you find articles and videos that outline what to do in a scenario. 

On the flip side, you also want to know what not to do. 

So, what are some common assumptions homeowners make about product warranties that you should avoid? There are five that we’ve identified over these thirty-plus years. They are: 

  1. Assuming a lifetime means your lifetime
  2. Believing the warranty length applies to all parts of the product
  3. Not distinguishing between a company warranty and a manufacturer warranty
  4. Assuming the company will be around to service the warranty in the future
  5. Assuming the company they work with will take care of the warranty process

Let’s look into each of these common assumptions to understand what not to do when looking at a product warranty. 


Mistake #1: Assuming a lifetime means your lifetime

The first and most common mistake homeowners make when looking at a product warranty is assuming when it says lifetime, it means their lifetime. 

It makes sense to think, isn’t there only one definition of a lifetime? Doesn’t that mean as long as I live, forever and ever, amen? 

The truth is, if you see the word lifetime in any warranty, you must define what that lifetime is. It could mean for as long as you live, or it could mean for the lifetime of the product. 

The lifetime of the product could be thirty years. It could be three years. Both warranty lengths could still be classified as a lifetime by the company. 

What’s the lesson here?

When looking at a product warranty, do not assume it means for your life if you see the term lifetime. 

Ask the company what the length of that lifetime entails. Does it mean the lifetime of the product, of the installation of the product, or the lifetime of you?

Then, you’ll know exactly how long the warranty is good for and if it meets your needs for the length of validity. 


Mistake #2: Believing the warranty length applies to all parts of the product

The second most common mistake you can make when looking at a product warranty is assuming the overall warranty length applies to all parts of the product. 

For example, if a product has a lifetime warranty, you cannot assume all parts of that product are covered for a lifetime. 

Most products have an overall warranty covering manufacturing defects or product defects resulting from how the product was made. 

Then, the warranty will break down the individual parts of the product and provide specific details of what is and isn’t covered and for how long those parts are covered.

Say you purchase new windows for your home. The warranty may be valid for 30 years, protecting the product against manufacturing defects. 

But, this warranty breaks down that the glass parts are only covered for 10 years, and the hardware is covered for 20 years. 

This is why you must read the fine print on a warranty to know the coverage length for all product parts. 

What’s the lesson here? 

To avoid making this common mistake, look at each part of a product’s warranty. 

Ask the company about the certain coverages for each part so you can understand how long they are covered and what the bounds of the coverage are. 

Never assume the overall length of the warranty applies to each part of the product. 


Mistake #3: Not distinguishing between a company warranty and a manufacturer warranty

The third most common mistake homeowners make is not distinguishing between a company warranty and a manufacturer warranty. 

For example, if you buy an LG washing machine from Lowe’s, LG is the product manufacturer, and Lowe’s is the company you purchased the product from. 

You will then have a warranty from LG for the manufacturing of the product and a separate warranty from Lowe’s for the quality and installation of the product. 

These are two different warranties that have different lengths and bounds of coverage. The mistake you need to avoid is not understanding both warranties and assuming one warranty is the same as the other. 

What’s the lesson here? 

When you purchase a product from a company separate from the manufacturer, you must understand two separate warranties - one for the manufacturing and one for the selling and installing the product. 

Most manufacturer warranties do not cover the installation of the product. This coverage comes from the company that sells and installs the product for you. 

You must understand both warranties as separate entities to fully understand the quality of the warranty and if both will meet your needs. 


Mistake #4: Assuming the company will be around to service the warranty in the future

This fourth mistake is most prevalent when a homeowner chooses a contractor or company that is new to the industry and does not have a credible history. 

Finding a quality company to install your product is crucial to the success of its functioning and longevity. 

If you work with a company that is only a year or two old and they offer a 30-year warranty, how can you be sure they will still be in business 30 years from now if you need them? 

You cannot assume a company will be around in the future if there is no supporting evidence that they’ve been there before. 

What’s the lesson here? 

Choosing to work with a newer company is always a risk. You don’t know if the business will survive or if they will provide you with quality service. 

This is why working with a company that has been locally established in your area and has a history of success is crucial for a successful outcome and quality warranty. 

If you choose a newly established company, you must have realistic expectations for the future. Do not assume they will be there when you need them years from now. 


Mistake #5: Assuming the company you work with will take care of the warranty process

The fifth and final most common mistake regarding warranties is assuming the company you work with will handle your warranty claim from start to finish. 

Some companies provide a white-glove approach when it comes to warranty claims. If you have a problem with a product they installed, they will file the claim for you and handle receiving and replacing the product (or providing you with that refund if applicable). 

Other companies make you file your warranty claims for the product. Each product warranty outlines what one must do to file a claim, usually consisting of contacting the manufacturer and having a representative come out to deem your product worthy of a claim. 

This can be a hassle and stress on you, and handling warranty claims can be just as confusing as understanding the warranty itself. But, not all companies will handle your warranty claims for you. 

What’s the lesson here? 

Before working with a company, ask about how warranty claims are handled. Will they file the claim and handle it for you, or will you have to do it yourself? 

You want to know if the company will help you if something goes wrong with your product, and you need to file a warranty claim. 

Otherwise, you will be left to file the claim yourself and deal with the manufacturer, which can be a headache. 


Avoiding these common mistakes to find a quality warranty for your product

Now that you are aware of five of the most common mistakes you can make when analyzing a product warranty, you know exactly what to avoid to find a quality warranty for you. 

The most important thing to remember when looking at a warranty, choosing a product, and choosing a company to work with is to never assume anything. 

Is the warranty a lifetime warranty? Ask what the length of that lifetime is. 

Are you working with a new company in the industry? Ask how they can guarantee they will be there to service your warranty in the future or what they will do if the company is not in business anymore. 

Will the company help file your warranty claim? Ask what the process is if you need to file a claim and what to expect. 

The biggest lesson of all of these mistakes is to look at the details, ask questions, and never assume. 

At Southwest Exteriors, we want to answer all your questions before you even have to ask them. When it comes to warranties, we want to make them as easy as possible to understand.

If anything happens to the products we installed, we will handle all warranty claims and service them for as long as you own your home. 

We do all the heavy lifting for you, so you never have to feel stressed about trying to understand a warranty and how to file a claim. 

But, knowing what to look for in a warranty and what parts to identify is still essential to ensure you fully understand your product’s warranty. 

This article will outline seven key parts of a warranty to identify to help you understand warranties and find exactly what you are looking for. 

This is helpful before you invest in a product and after if you ever experience any issues and need to evaluate your coverage.