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  • Appliance insurance and extended warranties are an inexpensive way to cover yourself against the cost of unexpected breakdown
  • Compare the features of the UK’s top policies and suppliers below

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Helping You Find The Best Appliance Insurance

There are few things which disrupt your home life more than realising a domestic device you rely heavily on has suddenly decided to start going downhill or stopped working entirely. It usually comes at the wrong moment, too (or they all start malfunctioning at once).

They’re often expensive items, so needing to replace or repair them in a short time frame can be a costly crisis. You probably won’t have that cost available in your immediate funds. Domestic appliance insurance takes a lot of this stress away, but the variety of policies out there is extensive – as is what they all offer.

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The Appliance Insurance Guide

What Is Appliance Insurance?

Also known as an extended warranty, domestic and general appliance insurance provides breakdown cover for your household appliances. This includes:

  • Callout costs
  • Labour charges
  • Replacement parts and fitting
  • Possible replacement of your entire irreparable appliance

The point is to provide you with emergency care so you can promptly get everything back to normal. It is beneficial because it will reduce or possibly even completely eliminate the need for you to pay a large amount of money to replace or fix your item. It fundamentally bridges the gap between your manufacturer’s guarantee and your home insurance.

There is a difference between a guarantee and a warranty:

  • Guarantee – a free promise made by the manufacturer/retailer to fix or replace an item
  • Warranty – a similar contract but paid for by an outside insurance company.

Which Policy Is Best for Me?

The standard aftercare is repair or replacement upon breakdown, which is usually due to electrical or mechanical failure. Most don’t cover loss, theft or accidental/cosmetic damage, but policies are available which do consider the latter concern.

Consider the amount you want to pay, as well as looking at absolutely everything the policy covers and how long for. There are low-cost insurance options available which may require you to pay excess if you claim or make up the cost of any maximum cover amounts, or there are more expensive options which will entirely cover repairs and replacement costs.

Also think about your individual appliance. There are premium insurance policies specifically for high-end and high value goods, which are often more complex than cheaper models. If your appliance is over five years old, you may see a limited insurance choice available to you. There’s also dedicated kitchen appliance, small appliance and gadget protection. The best value pick for you fully depends upon your needs and what you want from your policy, so you really have to shop around and compare what is out there.

Why Do I Need It?

While most new appliances come with a manufacturer’s guarantee, this usually only lasts for around a year. The majority of breakdowns occur beyond this time frame as a result of daily wear and tear, so purchasing an extended warranty which covers you beyond this is recommended.

The alternative is to either entirely replace the appliance yourself or pay the manufacturer to try and fix it – both very costly options. We all want our electrical devices to last as long as they possibly can, so look at insurance as prolonging the life of your appliance. You don’t want to have to get rid of your appliance if it is only 18 months old but you can’t afford the repairs.

Which Appliances Can I Protect?

Appliance cover can be purchased which covers both white and brown goods.

  • White goods are your standard kitchen appliances which keep your home in working order, such as fridges, freezers, ovens and washing machines.
  • Brown goods can typically be defined as any ‘extra’, less essential small or media appliances you may own, such as TV’s, music systems, gaming machines or computers.

We also compare insurance for your boiler, which is arguably even more important than any of the above.

Watch out for any age caps – most companies won’t cover items that are over eight years old, as this is deemed the general standard life limit for modern day appliances anyway.

Which Types of Policy Cover Are Available?

There are two broad categories: single- and multi-appliance.

  • Single-appliance insurance will cover one individual item in your home directly and is usually more tailored to protect that particular product, such as offering specific parts replacement.
  • Multi-appliance insurance covers numerous pieces of equipment under one policy, for a fixed price. There may be a limit on either the number of appliances which can be included or the sum cost of what can be covered.

You can also group your items in terms of their function and insure them accordingly. There is insurance available specifically for white goods, small appliances or gadgets and media items. They all have specific pros and cons, so you really need to do your research before you take any leaps.

How Much Does Appliance Insurance Cost?

This depends on several factors:

  • What are you insuring?
  • Which provider are you going to choose?
  • How many products are you insuring?
  • How old are your appliances?
  • How are you paying for the insurance?

There are many companies responsible for appliance insurance. Individual firms usually offer various policies too (generally falling under the Bronze/Silver/Gold or Standard/Premium/Deluxe subcategories). These differ depending on the maximum value of your appliances, how many items the policy covers, the claims limit, excess charges and what exact aftercare they offer.

Pay-monthly extended warranties can often end up costing you a lot over an extensive period of time, especially if they automatically renew. The monthly cost can be anywhere between the price of a cup of coffee to over £20, but the price is usually correspondent to what they offer regarding aftercare (always read the small print).

Some providers may also charge interest on monthly payments. This is because most of these contracts are easier to get out of should you wish.

Paying a set amount of money upfront for a specific time frame of cover can often work out cheaper. For example, the same cover may cost £30 for 3 years but £3 per month.

Multi-appliance policies are usually significantly better value, too. These insure several appliances for a set amount per month or year, so you don’t have to keep on track of multiple direct debits, pieces of paperwork and renewal dates.

FAQ’s

Always read the small print, as with any insurance, and check for any loopholes or exclusions which may be hidden away.

  • Is there new for old replacement cover included? If your appliance is under three years old and would be too expensive to repair (or simply can’t be repaired), some warranties will replace it with the closest model available on the current market – but not all.
  • This option may not be explicitly offered, but they may give you a voucher totalling the price your appliance would currently be on the market for. This is still a financial help, and may even be the best option if you are particularly fussy about having the latest model of all of your appliances.
  • Is there a claims payment limit? Some providers may only offer a capped amount of cover, no matter how much the appliance costs to fix or replace – meaning you have to pay the rest.
  • Watch out for instances where repair and labour fees are covered, but the cost of parts will be extra. Depending on what is needed, this could be pricey.
  • There may be a no-claim period for items you already own. Most policies won’t pay out within the first 30 days if something happens during this time, or may charge you a huge excess.
  • Some insurers place a cap upon the number of callouts they can provide. So, if they only offer you three call outs per year, you may have to pay callout and repair charges if you call them out again. This could be particularly problematic if all of your appliances are insured under one policy.
  • There are even certain cheaper policies which don’t include the cost of callouts at all, but as callout and labour charges can reach over £100, this may not be ideal.
  • Is there a limit to the number of claims you can make on the policy? Does cover immediately stop after you have made your first claim?
  • Some insurers will only allow you to use an authorised repairer, such as the original manufacturer or the retailer who you bought the appliance through. They may not be the cheapest or most accessible option.
  • Few insurance policies will cover the costs of delivery of replacement appliances and disposal of your old ones, but it may be worth paying extra per year to save this charge if it eventually comes.

In short, no. Manufacturer’s guarantees usually last for 12 months, but each company offers something different – some may be up to five years. This will cover your appliance for a breakdown during this time, so extra insurance will likely be unnecessary. Ensure you register your goods with the manufacturer, however, or you risk invalidating the cover.

If you are worried about anything the guarantee doesn’t include (such as loss, theft, or accidental damage) a separate policy will be required for this time frame. This could be particularly relevant when considering protecting gadgets and other portable devices, which are often best insured separately from the goods which always remain in your home.

Most standard pay-up-front policies last for 12 months. There are other options available, such as instalment and pay-monthly covers which you can choose to automatically renew or you can cancel at any time, depending on policy regulations.

There are other options such as plans which last for two or three years, but make sure you are happy keeping the appliance for the entire period of cover and won’t be entirely redesigning your house after just a year, as you’d still have to carry on paying the full amount if it wasn’t already paid off.

When you purchase your white or brown goods, the retailer will often offer you an extended warranty policy on the spot (whether online or in-store). Don’t be pressured into accepting this, even if it sounds unbeatable. Specialist insurers can often be cheaper than retailers and provide better cover. Retailers will also only offer you single appliance insurance, which can be costlier than multi-appliance policies.

It is best to shop around for appliance insurance prices before you go to purchase the item, so you know whether the retailers offer is a good one or not straight away.

Either way, if you get home and realise that really was the best option for you, you can still contact the store and let them know. Extended warranties will only start after the manufacturer’s guarantee has run out, so you have plenty of time to decide.

You may have coverage for certain issues included on your home contents insurance policy, such as fire damage and theft. Home insurance often will not provide damage or breakdown cover which has come as a result of electrical or mechanical failure. Claiming on home insurance may also heavily harm some of your consumer bonuses, such as no-claims discounts.

Should you have any home emergency cover, essential appliances may be taken care of depending on the particular policy.

Any white goods provided by your landlord, such as fridges or ovens and boilers, will likely be covered by their specific landlord contents insurance. Whether they are duty-bound to replace items you deem as essential, however, is dependent on your tenancy agreement.

Some reward accounts come with free 12-month extended warranties for your appliances, and although most charge a monthly fee, it could work out cheaper in the long run. It is something to discuss with your bank and possibly consider before taking out a new bank account.

If you bought the item on a credit card, you might be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (1974). If you buy an item which is faulty, credit card companies and retailers are jointly obliged to take responsibility, and if the retailer doesn’t refund you, the credit card company will. If the retailer does offer you a replacement or compensation, however, you can’t make a claim. Purchases between £100 and £30,000 are guaranteed, given that they’re from a reputable retailer and not through a third party such as PayPal or Groupon.

Failing that, remember that you have statutory rights; if goods are faulty, you can return them to the point of purchase within 30 days (you may have even longer depending on the individual retailer).

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a manufacturer has to prove the item was not faulty before you bought it. If it was, you are entitled to full repair or replacement, or a discount on another purchase. It is risky but may save you at least months’ worth of policy cost.

Being able to claim for electronic breakdowns can offer you real peace of mind, and prevent you worrying about sudden extortionate repair or replacement costs. The amount you pay is more than likely to be a lot less than the end cost of solving the problem, particularly if you purchase one single policy which covers most of your domestic and general appliances.

Do think about the original price of your item and how much it would cost to replace, such as if it is a small kitchen appliance. If this is lower than the amount you’re going to pay for the warranty, you may be wasting your money.

Also bear in mind that technology moves fast, so taking out a ten-year insurance policy against an item which will largely be obsolete or even extinct in ten years’ time is pointless, as is if it would be considerably cheaper to just repurchase.

Useful Organisations

Financial Conduct Authority - Insurance
Citizens Advice
Trading Standards
Financial Ombudsman Service
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