If you’re thinking of buying a stairlift you may have questions about what happens if it breaks down. Who do you call if it stops working properly? How long will you have to wait for it to be fixed? And will you have to pay for the repairs?
You shouldn’t have to worry about any of these things. Modern stairlifts are very reliable and are automatically covered by a warranty for the first year. You will have the option to purchase an extended warranty for additional years. You will also be able to purchase a maintenance agreement or service contract.
These options can give you the peace of mind of knowing help is available in the unlikely event of you stairlift becoming faulty and you won’t have to find the money for unexpected repair bills or expensive parts.
However, it is important that you make sure you know exactly what is and is not covered by any extended warranty or maintenance contract.
Here we look in more detail at warranties and maintenance contracts to help you make an informed decision about whether an extended warranty or maintenance agreement is right for you.
When you buy a new stairlift it will come with a minimum 12 month manufacturer’s warranty as standard. Some companies offer a longer warranty period, such as cover for 24 months. You should read your quote carefully to see what length warranty period is included in the price.
A warranty is a guarantee from the manufacturer that its stairlift and its parts meet certain specifications and standards. If they fail or are deemed “not fit for purpose” within the warranty period they should be replaced or repaired free of charge.
You should ask to see a copy of a warranty policy to check exactly what is covered, as some things may be excluded. Terms and the level of protection offered vary according to each manufacturer. For example, things that are considered to be due to “wear and tear” are often not covered. Refitting costs are not always included. Expensive parts of a stairlift that can cost a lot to replace include the rechargeable batteries and motor gearbox. It’s advisable to check the guarantee on those.
If you need to make a claim under your warranty you should contact the supplier you bought your stairlift from to make arrangements for it to be repaired or replaced.
Most stairlift suppliers will offer you the chance to purchase an extended warranty when you initially buy your stairlift. You will have to pay extra to get an extended warranty, but this will extend the standard warranty for a longer period, which could be up to 5 years. You will need to pay for these additional years in advance.
If your warranty period expires most suppliers will offer you the chance to purchase an extended warranty at that time or a maintenance contract.
As always it’s important you check the exact terms on any extended warranty so you know precisely what is and is not covered. For instance, some companies include an annual service in their extended warranties, but not all do. Some warranties are invalidated – meaning you would not be able to make a claim – if a stairlift is not serviced regularly. So if a service is not part of your cover you will need to arrange and pay for this separately.
The disposable batteries in the remote controls are usually not included in a warranty. However, these are generally straightforward and inexpensive to replace, like the batteries in a TV remote control.
Another thing to query is the call out cover. Companies often say they provide 24 hour cover 365 days a year. You should clarify what this means in practice. Sometimes this means an answerphone service outside working hours or at weekends, or assistance over the phone. An engineer may not be available to visit your home immediately, so check how long you are likely to have to wait for an engineer to attend.
You should compare the price of an extended warranty with the cost of calling in an independent engineer if your stairlift goes wrong.
Maintenance contracts are often viewed as similar to extended warranties. The main difference is maintenance agreement contracts are provided by suppliers. Whereas extended warranties are provided by manufacturers.
When suppliers offer maintenance contracts for stairlifts there are usually different levels of cover to choose from. The annual price will vary according to which level you select. Basic level cover will be cheaper than a premium level policy. The more you are willing to pay the more things you will be covered for, reducing the chances of you receiving an unexpected repair bill if your stairlift becomes faulty.
You need to weigh up whether it is better to pay a higher price in advance compared to taking the chance that your stairlift will not need any maintenance over the next year. There is no right or wrong answer, it is down to personal preference.
What type of maintenance costs are actually included in an annual maintenance agreement will vary between suppliers as well as which level you choose. You need to read the specific terms and conditions to make sure you’re happy before purchasing any maintenance contract.
The cheapest level may include the cost of an annual service, but you may still have to pay additional fees for any new parts or call out charges. Maintenance contracts usually stipulate that an engineer will attend within a specified timescale. However, there may be additional charges for things like out of hours visits, extra time spent fixing the issue, or replacement parts.
Midrange levels of cover will include more in the price, such as the cost of replacement parts or a number of free call outs.
Comprehensive levels will provide full cover, such as unlimited call out charges. It is still crucial that you carefully read the terms to make sure you know exactly what you get for your money, so you can decide if the cost of a maintenance contract is worth it.
It is essential you know what is and is not included for free in the price of a maintenance or service contract before you commit. If you choose a basic level you are likely to have to pay for any repairs that crop up between your annual services.
Is an Extended Warranty or
Right for You?
It is entirely your decision whether you want to pay extra for an extended warranty or maintenance contract. Everyone is different and has a different attitude to risk.
The stairlifts from our trusted suppliers are very reliable. If your stairlift never breaks down you may end up never needing to make a claim on your extended warranty or maintenance contract.
You may feel that paying a relatively high yearly fee is unnecessary. It may work out cheaper to pay individual repair bills if and when they occur. However, it could also work out costing you a large sum of money if an expensive part goes wrong and needs replacing once your stairlift is out of its manufacturer’s warranty period.
Before making your decision you could find out how much it will cost to have an independent local engineer service your stairlift every year. Regular servicing will ensure that routine maintenance is carried out annually and keep your stairlift in good working order, reducing the chance of a breakdown happening.
Paying for an extended warranty or maintenance agreement will cost more upfront, but with the right level of cover you’ll have peace of mind that you will be helped quickly if your stairlift does break down, without being faced with an unexpected bill.
What is right for you depends on your personal circumstances, what you can afford and what you feel comfortable with.