Newest Review: ... was declared a write-off by my insurer. I contacted both the dealer and Warranty Direct to claim any form of refund in view of the ... more
Oh no, THAT'S not covered!
Member Name: grahamt
Date: 17/04/08, updated on 17/04/08 (10693 review reads)
Advantages: Reasonably inexpensive...
Disadvantages: ...but when you come to claim...
That's a bit like extended warranties. You have to look at what they say they cover then think about what it is that you want covered and then try and identify the differences. Of course, the easiest way to find out is to make a claim. Whatever it is you're claiming for, that's what's missing!
I know most retailers try to persuade you to take out an Extended Warranty to extend the 12 month's protection that you get by right of Law. I have rarely even considered them although I must admit that I was tempted when I recently bought a new TV. However, the cost of the warranty compared with that of the TV was unattractive, especially as you would normally expect a product from a reputable manufacturer to last at least until the technology is superseded, which these days takes mere years and in some cases just months!
You don't, in any case, have to accept the warranty offered by the retailer, if you decide that you do want additional protection. There are plenty of organisations that will offer this sort of insurance and in a competitive market you can find widely varying rates being charged for the same thing. But then again, are they exactly the same? It does pay to scrutinise the terms and conditions to make sure you fully understand what is and isn't included. Even then you can get a nasty shock when the time comes to make a claim, as I found to my cost.
In my case it was something a little bit more expensive than a TV that triggered my interest in extending a manufacturer's warranty, my car, that and the fact that the car's manufacturer, MG Rover, had gone quite spectacularly and disgracefully bust. The prospect of running a car, on which I was then reliant for my work, without protection against breakdown, was not attractive. Clearly the original warranty died with the company. I needed someone else to pick up the responsibility and that would obviously be at a cost.
If you have read any of my old reviews then you will know that I am still driving my much beloved MG ZT 1.8 Turbo 4 door saloon that I originally bought way back in 2003. It suffered a major engine failure within months but fortunately at that time MG Rover was still in existence and all of the repairs were [eventually] done under the manufacturer's warranty. When MG Rover went out of business I needed to get new cover.
Initially I accepted a deal through the garage from which I had originally bought the car. This was with Black Horse, a subsidiary of Lloyds TSB. I did have occasion to claim against that insurance when the fuel pump failed and the garage dealt with all the details of the claim. I had to pay nothing. But, as the warranty came up for renewal it became evident that the cost was rising. It became time to look to see if a better deal could be obtained elsewhere. That's when I came across Warranty Direct.
As with many such organisations, the actual insurance cover is provided by another company, in this case by AmTrust International, a part of the AmTrust Financial Services Group, a US company quoted on the Nasdaq. However, all the paperwork is provided under the Warranty Direct logo and all communications are with them.
Warranty Direct doesn't just provided extended warranties for cars. It also provides cover for household items such as TVs, DVDs, washing machines and so on, so long as they are less than 8 years old. However, in my case it was the car that I wanted to protect.
The Warranty Direct website is quite easy to use. You choose either the Car Warranty link or the Home link. Choosing the car link, they ask you a series of questions about the car, Make, Model, Year of first registration, Current mileage, Expected annual mileage and so on and finally, having provided them with you contact details, they provide you with a quotation. There are certain restrictions. The car must not have more than 100,000 miles on the clock for instance.
The quotation I received from them was less that the renewal offered by Black Horse and in any case I had already run up a mileage that was greater than they were prepared to cover, so essentially I had to go elsewhere.
This was where we played the "Items on a tray" game. I looked at the policy cover details on-line and, on the face of it it seemed to cover everything that I would have expected to have been covered. Not wanting to take a chance and go without protection I decided to take up the offer.
Now, insurance is always one of those things you just hope you aren't going to need to use. OK, you begrudge taking it out in the first place but, like house insurance, what's a couple of hundred pounds a year compared with the total destruction of the house, no matter how unlikely? Likewise I hoped I wouldn't need to call on the warranty, not solely for the inconvenience that comes with being without a car whilst yours is being repaired. But, should you need it you want it to pay up.
My MG has headlamp washers but I admit that I don't use them that often. In fact, I can't actually use them "deliberately" as they operate as part of the windscreen washer mechanism, and that's important, as you will hear soon. The headlamp washers operate automatically every fifth or so operation of the windscreen washers, so long as the headlamps are on. In consequence you don't really notice when they are operating and when they aren't.
I was driving home one night from up North and it was a filthy night. I noticed that the headlamps were getting dimmer and dimmer, no matter how many times I washed the windscreen. Something was obviously wrong. When I had a chance I checked it out and, sure enough, the headlamp washers weren't working.
I took the car to an MG Rover dealer and they confirmed that the headlamp washer pump was broken and would need to be replaced. I contacted Warranty Direct and asked how I claimed for the work. They were very non-committal about it, which immediately made me concerned. They told me to take it to the dealer and they would discuss what was needed and decide if it was covered!
Now, the policy definitely states that the front and rear windscreen washer motors are covered and, remember, the headlamp washers ONLY operate as part of the windscreen washers. There is no mention of headlamp washers not being covered, in the Exclusions section.
I got a call from the garage telling me that Warranty Direct had told them that the work wasn't covered by the policy and that if I wanted the work done I would have to pay for it myself. I phoned Warranty Direct and argued with them over their verdict but was unable to get them to budge. So, I had to pay for the work out of my own pocket.
As it turned out, the cost of the repairs was about half the premium on the extended warranty! If I hadn't bought the warranty I would have divvied up for the repairs and still have been in pocket! Yes, OK, it could have been something more major it's true but all the same, after this experience it leaves you wondering if there might still be some way that they could find to wriggle out of that as well. It leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
This warranty is due for renewal in July and now I am wondering if it's worth extending for another year. If I do it most certainly won't be with Warranty Direct. Much as I love my MG and would be very loathe to get rid of it, I do think that if something major goes wrong then it might after all be time to part company. The trade-in value of it now is so low that working or not would not make a lot of difference.
However, come the time I may feel differently about it. Know a trustworthy Extended Warranty company anyone?
Summary: An Extended Warranty provider that I won't ever be using again
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