I have been fielding a lot of inquiries from concerned people whose extended jewelry warranties are no longer valid – the company having gone out of business. This got me thinking about extended warranties in general and if they are worth the money.
There is a lot I like about extended or lifetime jewelry warranties - most importantly they require regular cleaning and inspections, usually every 6 months to 1 year. I know this sounds like a pain in the neck – but regular cleaning, checkups and basic maintenance are essential. Most of the problems I see every day would be avoided if the jewelry had been properly maintained.
Some extended warranties include basic service work that is needed from time to time such as sizing, re plating (rhodium) white gold and stone tightening. Paid for individually these services can quickly add up to or exceed the cost of the warranty.
Frankly - I don’t think anyone should have to PAY EXTRA for ANY warranty or basic services when making such a major investment. (In the interest of full disclosure: I offer a very completive lifetime warranty, with all basic services included, at no additional charge.) But an extended warranty that includes basic services like ring sizing and rhodium plating is probably worth the cost of the contract.
Extended jewelry warranties may have similarities but they are not all the same. It is very important that you read and understand all the details of the contract. It’s the details that determine if the warranty is worth the cost or a waste of money.
There are two general misunderstandings when it comes to extended warranties.
First - it is very important to know that at some stores miss just ONE scheduled clean and check and the warranty is VOID and will be useless when you need it most.
Second - every extended jewelry warranty I have seen excludes “normal wear and tear” and “abuse”. The line between “normal wear and tear” and “abuse” and what is covered in the contract can be somewhat subjective so it is important to know upfront what the store considers normal wear and abuse. Don’t assume that damage caused while rock climbing or a ring dropped in the disposal will be covered under an extended warranty.
An extended warranty, when it is included in the purchase, can be an indication of the stores willingness to stand behind their product as well as their commitment to their customers. Too often however extended warranties have become nothing more than an add on sale for some stores with enough loopholes and strings attached as to be virtually worthless. There are exceptions to everything so this is one area where due diligence before the purchase is especially important.
Finally an extended or lifetime jewelry warranty is not a replacement for jewelry insurance. Extended warranties do not cover loss (mysterious disappearance), theft or as I mentioned above, damage due to abuse – all of which are covered on a jewelry policy. You can purchase a jewelry rider on your home owners or renter’s policy or buy a stand alone jewelry insurance for a very reasonable cost.
David West Nytch, CGA www.westandcompany.com