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Understanding Product Warranties: 7 Things To Identify

May 31st, 2022 | 8 min. read

Understanding Product Warranties: 7 Things To Identify

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You know that feeling when you grab something you haven’t used in a while, and you find that it’s broken and unusable? We’ve all been there. 

When you discover something is broken, needs repairing, or must be replaced, the first things you probably think of are: 

  1. How much you paid for it
  2. What it’s going to take to fix or replace it

Especially when you find something in your home damaged, like your HVAC, siding, or water heater, you know it must be fixed quickly.

But alas! You remember your product has a warranty that should cover the damages. 

So, you dig through your filing cabinets and folders on your computer to track down that warranty paperwork. Thank goodness you found it!

As your eyes scour the papers trying to translate the technical language and figure out if you can file a warranty claim, you become confused. Words start to jumble together, and you realize you can’t find what you’re looking for. 

We get it - warranties are confusing. Like any contract, the overuse of legal jargon and strict definitions makes us lose focus and forget what we were even looking for. 

Southwest Exteriors has been an exterior remodeling contractor in San Antonio since 1989. Every product we offer has a warranty, from windows, siding, and doors to industrial concrete coatings. 

On top of product warranties, we offer a lifetime warranty on all of our work. No matter what happens for as long as your products are in your home, we’ll be there to fix it. 

Now, we think our warranty is simple to understand. When we say we’ll fix it for a lifetime, we mean it because your satisfaction and happiness are most important to us. 

But, when you dive into specific product warranties, it's not as easy to understand most of the time.

This article will outline seven crucial things to identify in a product warranty to understand the warranty fully.

After reading, you’ll be able to turn back to your warranty and easily know and find what you are looking for. Then, if you are having problems with your product, you’ll know if you can file a claim and what you’ll get from your warranty. 

What’s most important to identify in a product warranty? 

You’ve got your warranty in front of you, and you want to know what to look for. 

One great thing about most warranties is that they divide into categories like conditions, exclusions, etc. But, you need to know what headlines to pay attention to and what to look at in each section. 

Most warranties also use similar keywords that can sometimes just be fancy fluff. If you know the right words to look for, understanding your warranty will be a piece of cake. 

Here, we’ll outline seven parts of a warranty to identify and discuss popular keywords and phrases companies like to use in their warranties.


1. The lifetime of a warranty

The first and possibly simplest element of a warranty to look for is the lifetime. The lifetime of a warranty tells you how long your product is covered. 

Warranty lifetimes are typically followed by the first bounds of the warranty or part of the coverage. 

You may see one of the first sentences look something like this: “[Company] declares the product to be free from [insert coverage] for [X] years.”

This will be your first indicator of what is covered under warranty and for how long. We'll explore this deeper in the next section. 

One important thing to note is that if a warranty claims to be a lifetime warranty, you define what that lifetime is. While first, you may think lifetime means forever, sometimes this can actually mean the product’s lifespan. 

This means that although the warranty may say the product is covered for a lifetime, the product’s lifetime may only be five or 10 years. 

The lifespan of a product’s warranty will tell you the quality of the product you are getting. A product with a longer lifespan will typically have a longer warranty, and vice versa. 


2. Individual parts covered and coverage in the warranty

Once you’ve identified the lifetime of the warranty, the second thing you’ll want to pay attention to is the coverage of individual parts of the product. 

Most warranties are broken up categorically by each major individual part of the product to define how long they are covered and what sorts of damage are covered. 

For example, a window warranty may be divided by the frame, hardware, glass, and other non-glass components. A washing machine warranty may be broken up into coverage for the mechanics, electrical, and non-electrical parts. 

Identifying the product-specific breakdowns will help you find exactly what you're looking for for the problem you’re experiencing. Then, you’ll be able to see if your product is still valid in the lifespan of the warranty and can determine if your certain damages are covered. 


3. Transferability of the warranty

Another important thing to look at in a warranty is its transferability. This is especially important if you bought your product from a previous owner. 

The transferability varies in every warranty. Some warranties are transferable once, meaning the second owner of that product can still enjoy the benefits of that warranty. Some warranties may be transferable twice or not be transferable at all. 

The transferability can also vary from part to part of the product. Some parts may be transferable and still covered under warranty, while others may not. 

Overall, if you bought your product from a previous owner and have experienced problems or damages with it, you will want to identify the transferability of the warranty.


4. Exclusions of the warranty

Possibly one of the most important parts of a warranty to look at is the exclusions. Exclusions strictly define what damages or causes of damage are not covered under warranty. 

This is important because the exclusions of a warranty will also tell you the quality of the product and how it’s manufactured. 

If you experience a problem with a product that seems to be common or dealing with a major part of the product but find that those damages are exclusions, that tells you the product wasn’t made well to even combat common issues. 

Exclusions in a warranty are important to look at before investing in a high-dollar product for this exact reason. 

But, if you are digging through your warranty after experiencing a problem with your product, you’ll want to look at the exclusions to ensure your damages don’t fall under this category. 


5. How to file a warranty claim

After you’ve identified the lifetime, coverage, and exclusions in a warranty, you should know if your damages are covered under warranty and if you can file a claim. 

Filing a claim may be as simple as filling out a form on a website. Other claims may need to be delivered by mail.

This is an important final piece to look at once you’ve determined you can file a claim. 

If your product was installed or provided by a company that isn’t the product manufacturer, filing a claim could be as easy as contacting the company you worked with, and they handle the rest. 

But, if a company installed your products, you'll want to inspect the company's warranty as well, not just the product warranty. 


6. What the manufacturer will provide under warranty

You’ve identified how to file a warranty claim. Now, you need to know what the manufacturer will provide under warranty. 

After you file a claim, you need to know if the manufacturer will provide replacement parts, a replacement product, or a refund, which are the most common. 

You also want to identify what costs the manufacturer covers under warranty. While they may provide a replacement part or product, will they provide installation too? 

If you’re analyzing a warranty before purchasing a product, looking at what the manufacturer will provide also tells you the quality of the company, similar to when looking at exclusions. 


7. Conditions of the warranty 

The final thing to identify in a warranty is the conditions. Conditions are almost like the warranty’s summary, sealing the contract that you agree to all the terms. 

They can include processes for receiving warranty claims, replacement products, liability statements, and other specific conditions about location, time, or other variables. 

You’ll want to at least briefly look over the conditions to see if there are any restrictions on the details of your situation. 

This is where you may find some important fine print that is hidden between paragraphs. 

Understanding the parts of a product warranty

Now that you know seven crucial parts of a product warranty to identify, you can dissect your warranty easily and find what you’re looking for. 

Warranties are often filled with technical terms and words that jumble together, making them difficult to find exactly what you need to know. 

If you experience a problem with your product and think you need to file a warranty claim, remember to identify these seven things: 

  1. Lifetime
  2. Individual parts coverage
  3. Transferability
  4. Exclusions
  5. How to file a claim
  6. What the company will provide
  7. Conditions

Then, you’ll be able to find the right information you need to know if what you’re experiencing with your product still falls under the warranty and can file a proper claim. 

At Southwest Exteriors, we want to make understanding warranties as easy as possible. With us, if any product we installed becomes damaged or you experience any issues in the future, we will handle all warranty claims for you. 

Even if the manufacturer's warranty does not cover your circumstance, our lifetime warranty promises that we'll make things right for you as long as you own your home. 

Whether you work with us or not, we want you to have the right information to understand your warranty and know what next steps to take. 

Maybe you’re looking to file a claim with your contractor or product manufacturer and want to understand what to do. 

If you’re looking for more information on the specific window, siding, door, and paint warranties or just want to learn more about what warranties do, check out this section of our Learning Center, where we have an extensive amount of content about warranties for you to learn about