Appliance insurance explained – do you really need it?

We explain whether taking out appliance insurance to cover the white goods in your home is worth the money.

White goods can be costly to repair, so buying appliance insurance to protect them might seem sensible. But is this type of cover really necessary or could you already be covered on your home insurance policy or even elsewhere? We take a look.

What is appliance insurance?

Appliance insurance is a type of insurance policy that will cover the costs of repairing or replacing the white goods in your home if they stop working due to mechanical failure or accidental damage.

Taking out cover will enable you to call out an engineer quickly if there is a fault with your washing machine, for example. You can usually cover multiple appliances under the one policy.

A policy typically runs for 12 months, after which point you can renew it.

Do I need appliance insurance?

White goods, such as your washing machine, dishwasher and fridge/freezer, are typically some of the most expensive items in your home. Insuring them will make sure you’re not left out of pocket if one of them breaks down.

If you have a home contents insurance policy, your appliances will already be covered against fire, flood and theft. They will also be covered for accidental damage if you have added this to your policy.

But contents insurance is much less likely to provide cover for mechanical breakdowns. And that’s why you might want to consider taking out separate appliance insurance.

However, before you proceed, check if your appliances are already covered under warranty or another financial product, such as a packaged bank account. In which case, you won’t need separate cover.

‘White goods usually come with their own warranties,' explains Jenny Ross, money editor at Which?. 'Which can last for over 10 years in some cases.’ 

‘Plus, for the first six years of ownership you’re protected by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which requires products to be of satisfactory quality. If an appliance develops a fault earlier than you would expect, you might be able to claim from the retailer regardless of any warranty.’

room with white cupboard and appliances

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tom Meadows)

What kind of appliances are covered and what are they covered against?

Exactly what’s covered under an appliance insurance policy will vary depending on the provider. But it will typically cover the following:

Appliance insurance policies can cover the cost of engineer call out charges, as well as replacement parts and labour. If the appliance cannot be repaired, most policies will replace it on a like-for-like basis. Appliance insurance will also usually cover you against accidental damage. 

Be aware that some policies might limit the amount you can claim or exclude appliances that are more than eight years old. 

How much does appliance insurance cost and where can I buy it?

The cost of appliance insurance depends on factors such as the level of cover provided, the value of the appliances you’re covering and your claims history. Some policies offer a discount for each appliance you add to the policy.

You can buy appliance insurance from a range of specialist insurance providers or the retailer might offer cover when you buy the appliance. Always shop around carefully and resist signing up to anything under pressure.

‘Never buy appliance cover following a cold call,’ advises Jenny Ross. ‘Many of these cold-callers are outright scammers who pressurise people into setting up direct debits by claiming to be from legitimate firms.’

Is appliance insurance worth it?

This will depend on personal choice and your situation. If you have a busy household and would struggle to cope without your washing machine or a fridge for a while if it broke down, you might want to take out cover to ensure any repairs would be carried out quickly.

You might also want to consider appliance insurance if any warranty on the appliance has expired. Many warranties only last for the first 12 months and although they can be extended if you pay extra, bear in mind that cover will only apply to the one item. Appliance insurance, on the other hand, can cover multiple items.

Another important consideration is how the yearly cost of a policy compares to the cost of replacing the appliances.

‘The cost of some of these plans mean you pay as much, or more, than the cost of buying a new appliance,’ says Anthony Forchione, insurance analyst at MoneySavingExpert. ‘Many would be better off saving that money and using it when they do need a new appliance.’