Do you have a MasterCard? Many include extended warranty coverage at no cost to you, but make sure you understand how this benefit works!
American Express was the first to offer an extended warranty benefit and since then, both Visa and MasterCard have started offering it on some of their cards.
It’s typically found on the higher tier cards – like World MasterCard and Visa Signature – but ultimately it’s the issuing bank (Chase, Citi, Capital One, etc) who decides whether or not this benefit is included on a given card. So having a premium tier MasterCard doesn’t necessarily mean you have the extended warranty perk.
Only New Items: Only brand new items paid for 100% using your MasterCard can qualify. However the items don’t just have to be for yourself. When it is a gift that you purchased, usually it will still qualify.
Warranties That Qualify: Only purchases which have an original warranty (through manufacturer or U.S. store brand) that is 12 months or less will qualify. If you buy something that comes with a warranty longer than 12 months it won’t be eligible.
Length of Extended Coverage: The MasterCard extended warranty program doubles the original warranty, up to 12 additional months. That means if the manufacturer’s original warranty was for 6 months, the MasterCard coverage would be for 6 additional months.
Amount of Coverage: The cost necessary to repair or replace the affected item. However this cannot exceed the actual purchase price charged to your credit card or $10,000, whichever is less. The benefits administrator decides whether you will be paid to repair or replace the item.
There are quite a few exclusions you need to be aware of. I will summarize them below, but you should consult your card’s issuer and benefits guide for the rules/details associated with type of each exclusion.
- Acts of God: This encompasses any number of natural disasters, including the more common ones like floods, earthquakes, lightening, tornadoes, and many others.
- Hostilities/War: This category is quite broad. Everything from terrorism to civil commotion is excluded. Also, any damage caused by a government official (like a police officer or customs official) won’t qualify either.
- Normal Wear & Tear: Problems arising from this are not eligible
- Motorized Vehicles: Cars, boats, aircrafts, motorcycles and any other motorized vehicle you can think of is excluded.
- Software: Application programs, operating software, etc.
- Trip, Service, Diagnostic Charges: Not covered in the absence of any covered repairs or verified failure.
- Media/Data Storage: It says “all types of media with stored data or music” so that would consist of things like DVDs, film, flash drives, and so forth.
- Living/Perishable Items: From plants to pets, as well as things that can expire, such as food.
- Improper Maintenance/Service: If you didn’t maintain or service something properly and it causes a mechanical failure, it won’t be covered.
- Product Recalls: If this is the reason for the damage, you won’t be covered.
- Business Purposes: If the item was “purchased for resale, professional, or commercial use” it is excluded. This is a very important one to emphasize, because while many of the other exclusions are quite obvious, any item bought for “professional” use is an exclusion most people probably wouldn’t expect. So if you run a business, remember this!
- Antiques/Collectibles: This is to be expected, but keep in mind that this category also excludes anything used, refurbished, recycled, etc.
- Product/Satisfaction Guarantees: If there is a product/satisfaction guarantee it won’t be covered. So those late-night infomercials with the too-good-to-be-true guarantees definitely are not be covered!
- Covered Losses: No coverage for direct or indirect damages from a loss that is covered.
- Floor Models: If it doesn’t come with the original manucturer’s warranty, then it won’t be eligible. However the fine print doesn’t say anything about floor models with the original warranty being excluded, but double-check with your card issuer to confirm.
- Real Estate: Buildings, land, as well as permanently installed items found at these places such as doors, faucets, etc.
- Power Surges: excluded
- Contamination: This could be damage or contamination from mold or hazardous substances
- Professional Services: Regardless of what the service is, it’s excluded
- Delivery: Under no circumstances will shipping/transportation costs be covered
How to file?
In order to file a MasterCard extended warranty claim you can call MasterCard at 1-800-MC-ASSIST or the customer support phone number on the back of your credit card. You must do so within 30 days form when the problem happened.
After you do that you may be asked to send in all of the following:
- Claim form, signed and completed
- MasterCard receipt which proves you bought it using your eligible MasterCard
- The credit card statement which also shows you bought the item
- Itemized purchase receipt
- The documentation for the original manufacturer’s (or U.S. store brand) warranty. If there was a service contract/extended warranty you purchased, send that too.
- Repair estimate which is obtained from a factory authorized service provider. I would imagine this may be difficult to fulfill, since not every product has “authorized” service providers associated with it. However when that’s the case, it sounds like MasterCard probably will make exceptions (judging by experiences reported on forum).
- There may be additional documentation requested at the discretion of MasterCard
MasterCard’s program for the Extended Warranty is a good benefit considering it’s free. However the similar program from American Express is also free, but in my opinion it is superior since the duration of coverage can be longer and from my personal experience, the paperwork required to file a claim isn’t as cumbersome. For comparison purposes, go here: AmEx Extended Warranty Program
Disclaimer: Please note that everything above is only meant to provide you with a general summary of the MasterCard extended warranty protection program. For details, rules, exclusions, and limitations you need to contact MasterCard or your card issuer directly. Please note the above information cannot be guaranteed accurate. It was written in August 2011 and is subject to change without notice.