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Appliance Protection Plans

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Appliance Protection PlansThe voicemail from our gas company said we needed to call them immediately. Vonnie jotted down the number, deleted the message, and returned their phone call. Turns out that the gas meter on the outside of our home needed repair, and they wanted to schedule a time when they could come and fix it.

The serviceman came on the agreed upon date to service the meter. When he was finished, he knocked on the door and asked if he could come inside to ensure everything natural gas related was operating correctly inside of our home. We agreed, led him to our mechanical room in the basement, and went back upstairs to allow him to do his work. 

A few minutes later he re-emerged from our basement and asked us to come with him. He explained to us that all the connections seemed good, however he noticed a problem with our water heater. It was continuously turning on and off. Apparently, it would start running and "puff" some natural gas into the ignition chamber, but the igniter would fail and shut off. Eventually it would work, but by then several "puffs" of natural gas had been released into the room.

He said that it wasn't overly dangerous (our nearby carbon monoxide detector had not triggered), but since it was releasing gas into our home, he had to tag it as a hazardous condition and we would have to have it repaired. He said that normally he would have to turn off the appliance, but since it was our hot water heater, he would leave it on if we promised to have it repaired immediately. 

We agreed.

He wasn't able to do the repair himself, so he called the office to help us schedule a service call. The repair was done a few days later; it cost us a little over $300 to replace the igniter.

The service person asked if we were enrolled in their service program that covers repairs of our home's appliances. We weren't, but the repair wouldn't have cost us anything out of pocket had we been enrolled. As he left our home, he gave us a brochure about the different program offerings they had available. 

Vonnie questioned why we hadn't signed up for one of the programs previously, as it would have saved us the $300 repair bill. Doing some quick math, we concluded that it wouldn't have been cost-effective to purchase the plan. We built our house eight years ago, so all of the appliances were brand new, with warranty. 

Had we enrolled in the plan when we moved in, it would have cost us: 

$20 (per month fee) X 12 (months per year) X 8 (years) =  $1920 total cost 

Compared to the appliance repairs that we've had to pay for thus far: 

Water heater:                                     $300

Air Conditioner repair:                          $  75

Washing machine repair:                      $150

Dishwasher repair:                              $  50


Total repairs:                                      $575 

However, we both noticed that all four of the repairs had occurred within the last eighteen months. While eight years isn't over-the-hill for our appliances, it certainly appears they are reaching the age where an occasional repair will be necessary.

We called the gas company and signed up for their service program which covers the appliances in our home for a cost of about $20 a month. It seems like the right decision since our appliance repair costs are now exceeding the cost of the program. 

I'm certainly not looking forward to having my appliances break down, but at least I have peace of mind knowing that when they do, those repairs won't be an unexpected expense out of our emergency fund.

Are you enrolled in an appliance protection program? Do you think it's worth it?

Related Links:

How to Handle Unexpected Expenses as a Single Parent

A Broken Dishwasher Isn't so Bad

Unexpected Ways to Save While on a Debt Management Plan

Travis Pizel, Customer Blogger for CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis very candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also follow along with Travis on his personal blog, Our Journey to Zero. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Great post Travis! I remember when we almost closed on a property, we were offered some sort of program that covered a lot of the appliances, etc. too. I think I'll look into it more once we do buy a property, but if we have to buy new appliances..I doubt we'd go that route now!

  • I agree it wouldn't have been worth it when you first purchased your home/appliances.  However, now that it has been 8 years it seems like it may be worth the price.  Great post!!

  • Thanks, Erika (From Shopping to Saving)!  It's definitely a good idea to look at the age of the appliances when deciding to purchase an appliance protection plan.  While nothing is for certain, the odds are just against new appliances having any significant problems - and if they do, they should be covered by the manufacturer's warranty (if they're really new).  Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Hi Monica (mdavis1964)!  One thing that I learned since I wrote the post is that my gas company isn't the only game in town in regards to appliance protection plans.  There are other providers of such programs and had I known that I would have shopped around to find the best value.  I'm locked into a year contract now, but when its up I'll certainly be comparing plans and prices before renewing.

  • I think that these type of plans can be wonderful or they can be money pits - always depending on what you are covering, when you are covering it and for how long it remains covered - but they are certainly worth looking into especially if you own a home!

    This may be a little different than your situation but slightly similar - last fall I had to replace a laptop that was dropped. It was barely 6 months old, and of course when I purchased it I did not buy any sort of protection plan for it. I was freaking out because I am an online student and not having a working computer is bad, bad news. I was about to cry my way to the store to buy a new one when I remembered my renter's insurance policy covers electronic damages. I read through my policy and called the company and they were able to cover the replacement cost minus a small deductible. When I purchased the new computer, I bought a minor coverage plan instead of a more costly one as I have the renter's insurance and a manufacturer's warranty. I am not sure if purchasing a protection plan back when I first bought the now damaged laptop would have saved me a lot of money, but I will say adding electronic coverage to my renter's insurance policy was certainly worth the extra $50ish/year.

  • I'm so glad that your story had a happy ending, saracarr.......its true what they say about insurance - you're only glad you have it when you need it.  :)  So we've actually had the appliance protection plan now for a few months, and both months the bill came and I see the fee included for the plan and I look at my currently well behaving appliances, I wonder if we should have signed up for it.  Of course if my fridge starts spewing smoke tomorrow I'll be awfully glad we have it.  :)

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