No matter the context, most of us equate a lifetime with forever. And ever. Amen. (Thank you, Randy Travis.)
But, in the world of product warranties, using the term lifetime can be tricky and sometimes deceiving.
You may wonder, “How could the term ‘lifetime’ be deceiving?”
Lifetime means lifetime, right? We agree. It seems like a pretty straightforward term.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case. What you consider the definition of a lifetime may not be the same definition a manufacturer or company is referring to when they use the term.
Do not worry. We’re here to help clear the air and help you understand when a lifetime is really a lifetime.
At Southwest Exteriors, we offer a lifetime warranty for as long as you own your home. We’ve been an exterior remodeling company in San Antonio since 1989, and we’ve validated the warranty of many homeowners who worked with us over 20 years ago.
We’ve also become very familiar with our peers in the industry. We know when one company’s lifetime warranty doesn’t mean your lifetime.
We want you to be aware of this, too, and know the right things to look for to decipher the actual length of your product warranty.
This article will define three different definitions of a lifetime warranty so you can decipher what type of warranty your product has.
Then, you’ll be able to determine the lifetime of your warranty and better understand the different definitions of lifetimes.
What is a lifetime warranty? 3 definitions of a lifetime warranty
From the beginning of this article, we’ve made you aware that a lifetime warranty doesn’t always mean for as long as you live.
We want you to be aware of a few different definitions of lifetime warranties.
Let’s define them here, so you can understand what type of lifetime your warranty really is.
1. The lifetime warranty is valid for as long as you live
Most consumers think of this first definition of a lifetime with a lifetime warranty.
Your warranty may be valid for as long as you live, whether you move, sell the product, or whatever else.
However, if this lifetime warranty is true, it must be explicitly outlined in the contract.
Even if you interpret the warranty as your lifetime, always ask the company you work with to clarify.
2. The lifetime warranty is valid for as long as you own the product
This type of lifetime warranty is more common with high-quality companies and manufacturers that have been in business for a long time.
Your product will be covered under warranty for as long as you own it, whether it be five or fifty years.
With this kind of lifetime warranty, it’s important to read the fine print about transferability. While the warranty may cover you for as long as you own the product, what if you sell it? Is the next owner covered for a lifetime as well?
If you purchase a product with this type of lifetime warranty, it is important you investigate the integrity of the company. If the company is only a few years old, how can you trust they will be around in 20 years to service that warranty?
Any lifetime warranty is tricky, but you want to make sure you work with a quality company that can ensure your warranty will be covered for as long as you own the product.
3. The lifetime warranty is valid for the lifetime of the product
This type of lifetime warranty is where things get mistranslated.
If a lifetime warranty really means for the lifetime of the product, it means it is valid for the length that the product was made to last. This could be three years, and it could be 30 years.
With this type of lifetime warranty, they don’t always explicitly say what the lifetime of that product is. The warranty might just say, “For the lifetime of the product.”
When you see this, you must clarify what this lifetime is to know how long the warranty is valid and how long the product is made to last.
If not, you could misinterpret the term ‘lifetime’ and assume it is the first type of lifetime warranty outlined above.
Understanding what kind of lifetime warranty you have
Now you know three different definitions of what a lifetime warranty can be. You see, there are many different interpretations of what a lifetime warranty is.
Your lifetime warranty could mean for as long as you live, as long as you own the product, or as long as the product is meant to last.
Each of these definitions of a lifetime warranty has vastly different meanings.
This is why reading the fine print, asking the right questions, and explicitly clarifying what a lifetime is with the company you work with is crucial to having realistic expectations and fully understanding your warranty.
With Southwest Exteriors, we want you to understand everything you need to know about your product warranties.
Whether you work with us on your project or not, it’s crucial you know how to interpret a warranty and understand it fully. While we educate you and handle all warranty questions and claims for you, not all companies do.
So, you must educate yourself on what a warranty is, what a lifetime means, and know what to look for in a warranty.
On the flip side, you also want to know what mistakes to avoid when looking at a warranty.