Depending on the benefits your credit card offers, there's often no need to buy an additional warranty on items you purchase with the card, because you can receive an extended warranty simply by using your credit card to pay for it. If you later close your account, the extended warranty is likely to remain valid, provided you and your purchase are otherwise eligible. However, it's always a good idea to check with your credit card company to be sure.
What an Extended Warranty Does
Each of the four major credit card networks -- Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express -- offer extended warranties on some of their cards. However, the rules of the extended warranty depend on the policy of each individual credit card. In general, when you use your credit card to purchase an item with a manufacturer's warranty, that warranty is extended beyond the general warranty period. For example, some cards extend the manufacturer's warranty for an additional year and cover amounts up to $10,000.
Effect of Closed Account
If you canceled your credit card account, whether your extended warranty will be honored depends on the policy of you specific card. However, in all likelihood, your purchase will still qualify for the extended warranty protection. You must file a claim with either the credit card company or card network directly and provide the required documentation, which typically includes your original receipt, the credit card statement on which the purchase appeared and proof of manufacturer's warranty. Even if you have the necessary documentation, you may be excluded from warranty protection for other reasons. For example, the purchase may not qualify for warranty coverage or the extended warranty period has expired.
Not Every Cardholder Is Eligible
Just because a credit card offers extended warranties doesn't mean those warranties are available to all cardholders. American Express and Discover are the only two card networks that make extended warranties available to all cardholders. Mastercard and Visa do not. Therefore, if you have a Mastercard or Visa, review your cardholder agreement or speak to a customer service representative to determine whether you are among the eligible cardholders. If not, you may be out of luck, regardless of whether your card is open or closed.
Not Every Purchase Is Covered
Once you have determined that you are not a cardholder excluded from receiving an extended warranty, you must next determine whether your purchase is covered. American Express is the most generous of card networks, covering a wide variety of merchandise including refurbished items. Additionally, American Express extends the warranty of purchases for an additional year on items with a manufacturer's warranty up to five years. For example, a customer who purchases a TV with a five-year manufacturer's warranty with her American Express card will receive an additional year of coverage through American Express's extended warranty, giving her six years of total coverage. The other card networks are not as generous, with Mastercard being the most restrictive. It typically only provides an extended warranty of one additional year and only on purchases with a manufacturer warranty of one year or less. In addition, Mastercard has numerous exclusions and doesn't cover physical damage. Visa also has a fair share of exclusions.
- New York Times: Credit Cards With the Best Extended Warranties
- Kiplinger: How Credit Cards' Extended Warranty Coverage Stacks Up
- American Express: Extended Warranty
- Mastercard: Guide to Benefits
- Visa: Warranty Manager Service
- Mint Life: Free Extended Warranties? Right There in Your Wallet
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What Is an Extended Warranty or Vehicle Service Contract?" Accessed Oct. 6, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What Is the Difference Between a Manufacturer’s Warranty and an Extended Vehicle Warranty or Service Contract?" Accessed Oct. 6, 2020.
- Kenan-Flagler Business School. "Might I Interest You in an Extended Warranty?" Pages 11–12. Accessed Oct. 6, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Auto Service Contracts and Warranties," Accessed Oct. 6, 2020.
- Endurance Warranty. "How to Get the Lowest Extended Car Warranty Deductible." Accessed Oct. 6, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Am I Required To Purchase an Extended Warranty or Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) Insurance From a Lender or Dealer To Get an Auto Loan?" Accessed Oct. 6, 2020.
- Consumer Reports. "Extended Car Warranties: An Expensive Gamble," Accessed Oct. 6, 2020.
- California Department of Insurance. "Guide to Automobile Service Contracts, Extended Warranties and Other Repair Agreements." Accessed Oct. 6, 2020.
Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.