A number of premium credit cards these days come with an extended warranty program for your purchases. AmEx offers it on all their cards issued in the US. If something breaks down after the warranty is up, this benefit can really save your butt! However, there are some very important things you need to know about coverage.
Disclaimer: I do not guarantee that information contained in this article is up-to-date or accurate. Contact American Express directly for extended warranty program rules, limitations, and restrictions.
How Does It Work?
- Use your American Express to purchase a covered item. The entire purchase amount must be paid for using your AmEx card.
- If the covered item has an extended warranty of 5 years or less, AmEx will double the duration coverage, up to a maximum of one additional year (but for Centurion “black” cardholders, coverage is reportedly extended up to three additional years).
- Amercian Express extended warranty coverage will not apply until the manufacturer’s warranty expires (and then the AmEx warranty kicks in)
- Coverage is up to $10,000 per covered claim, not to exceed $50,000 per Cardmember account per policy year.
On Credit Card Forum we get a lot of questions asking about AmEx extended warranty for electronics like the iPhone/cell phones and computers. Are they covered or not? Before I discuss that, let’s take a look at the listed exclusions:
- consumable or perishable items – that means the rotting food in your kitchen won’t count!
- animals or living plants – so make sure you take good care of that houseplant!
- buildings or land
- purchase still under installment billing
- motorized vehicles – If you were thinking of buying a new car on your AmEx Platinum to extend the warranty, it’s not going to work!
- motorized devices and their parts which are permanent additions or fixtures to a residential or commercial building
- motorized devices and their parts used for agriculture, landscaping, demolition or construction – guys, that means your power tools won’t be covered!
- business fixtures, including, but not limited to, air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters
- items purchased for resale, professional, or commercial use
- products covered by an unconditional satisfaction guarantee
- items that are part of a pair or set. Coverage will be limited to no more than the value of any particular part or parts, unless the articles are unusable individually and cannot be replaced individually, regardless of any special value they may have had as part of a set or collection
- additional service contract or extended warranty coverage for a computer, computer component or part that you buy which already comes with an original USA manufacturer’s warranty, unless such coverage is provided and administered by the original manufacturer
As you can see, some of the exclusions like “motorized vehicles” are a no-brainer, but others you may not think of – i.e. I would have thought power tools would be covered but it appears they are not. Most of the others are straightforward but I see a few potential slipperly-slopes in that list so you definitely need to check with American Express to clarify coverage before your purchases.
Extended warranty for iPhone?
Being that AT&T doesn’t even offer coverage (unsure about Verizon) a lot of folks have asked if the AmEx warranty benefit will apply. I have seen many postings on blogs and forums where customers said their iPhone was covered without any problems under an extended warranty claim (and I’ve heard the same for Purchase Protection claims, too).
That being said, I still wouldn’t bank on it because technically you are not paying for the iPhone in full since the price is subsidized by the cell phone company. You’re typically only paying $100 to $200 for it when it costs around $500 or $600. Even though you would only be claiming the price you paid, like $200, I could still see this as potentially being an issue since technically you didn’t pay for the entire purchase using your credit card.
Extended warranty for computer?
This is another frequently asked question because we all know how often computers go kaput on us!
According to a CSR I spoke to tonight, if the computer purchase qualifies under all the rules coverage is applicable. I gave her this example “If I buy a new computer with a 12 month manufacturer’s warranty and it dies on me at 18 months, am I covered?” and she said I would be.
Don’t forget about the AmEx Extended Warranty exclusions for computers that already have an extended warranty/service plan in some situations, which is listed in the bullets points above!
How To File An AmEx Extended Warranty Claim?
Contact American Express at the number on the back of your card (or the direct line for the extended warranty dept at 1-800-225-3750) to begin the claim process and find out exactly what you need to do.
Here is some documentation you might have to provide:
- Copy of manufacturer’s warranty
- Original itemized store receipt
- Copy of AmEx billing statement which shows the charge
- Service contract
- Repair estimate
This is not a definitive list of documentation – more or less may be required depending on the circumstances.
And don’t forget…
Remember this is just a review, not a guide. It was written in January 2011. This article is NOT guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date. American Express Extended Warranty coverage could change at any time, which is another reason why it is solely your responsibility to check the extended warranty rules, limitations, and restrictions with American Express directly before you make your purchases.
This section on the American Express website is about their Extended Warranty program: https://www.onlineclaim.americanexpress.com/Controller?selBox=false&selVal=&command=PD.GetPrdPage&productId=05
Remember I am just a consumer like you and don’t have all the answers, so feel free to share your opinions and feedback as a comment below or post it on the credit card forum.