What Types of Warranties Are Available on New Windows?

Window WarrantiesThe types of warranties available on new windows vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Your coverage is also often dependent on whether the windows are an installation in a new home or replacement in an existing structure. Nonetheless, there are generally two basic warranties available on windows – full and limited. Most warranties cover issues that arise from defects in the material or in workmanship; however, beyond that you need to carefully read the specific terms of your warranty coverage to determine the details of what is and is not covered.

Full Versus Limited Coverage Warranties

The two most widely available warranties on windows are full and limited coverage options. It is important to recognize that there are unique differences between these types of warranties that may not be as obvious as you might think. Before purchasing new windows, be sure you understand the difference between the two and know the specifics of the manufacturer’s coverage on the product you have chosen.

A full warranty must meet the requirements outlined in the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a federal law that governs the warranties on consumer products. With that a full coverage warranty on windows typically covers the cost for the complete repair or replacement of a defective unit. This type of coverage also covers the cost of the additional labor to do the job. With this type of coverage, there is no charge to the consumer as everything is covered by warranty. Additionally, full coverage generally offers a refund of the purchase price, rather than replacement product, available at the customer’s discretion.

A limited warranty, on the other hand, does not meet the same criteria as a full coverage warranty. A limited warranty is “limited” in that if offers coverage that is not as extensive or complete as a full coverage policy. In many cases the limitation involves either the duration of the policy or the amount of compensation that is provided if a product is defective. For example, a limited policy may only offer replacement coverage for a period of months or years rather than the full lifetime of the product.

Inclusions and Exclusions in Coverage

It is also imperative to understand what is included on a plan and what is not. Even in the case of a full coverage warranty policy, there are components that are not covered. Be sure to take the inclusions and exclusions of a policy into consideration prior to accepting the terms.

Most window warranties, full and limited, cover both glass and non-glass parts against defects in manufacturing, composition, and workmanship. Even so, warranties typically vary by manufacturer and composition in terms of duration. For example, if you select windows with a window frame, the product may only be covered with a 10 year warranty, whereas if you purchased windows with a vinyl frame, the windows may carry a lifetime warranty. In most cases, different components of the windows also hold separate coverage from the glass and frame.

Again, it’s crucial to understand exactly what is not covered in a warranty option to make sure you do not accidentally void you coverage, according to Home Style Choices. Remember that most plans cover the cost of installation errors. However, the coverage is limited in the sense that if the windows are installed following the manufacturer’s instructions by an individual who is trained in installation, any issues that arise will likely not be covered. If you attempt to install the windows yourself or have another untrained professional do so, you will likely not only experience performance issues after installation, but you will also void the warranty.

Additionally, manufacturers provide specific instructions on window maintenance. If you fail to maintain the windows properly by using improper cleaning techniques or otherwise, you will also void the warranty.

Understanding Your Window’s Warranty

No matter what type of windows you choose, always be sure to read the warranty and make sure you understand it fully. Replacing the windows in your home is a large investment, so don’t go into it blindly.

In many cases, window warranties contain specific instructions as well as limitations. One example is that some window manufacturers offer a warranty that is transferrable, a good option if you are looking to sell in the foreseeable future. However, you may have to provide the manufacturer advanced notice of the sale. Read the fine print to understand all of these specifics.

Likewise, some warranties contain specific language that may further limit the coverage. For example, a warranty that covers issues related to manufacturing defects may be difficult to claim anything on depending on how easy or hard it is to prove that the issue arose from a defect of the material.

These issues demonstrate why it is important to understand the different types of warranties available on windows. If you don’t completely understand the warranty on the product you select, you’ll likely not be able to take full advantage of your coverage. As you shop for windows, don’t forget to take into consideration the different types of warranties available on new windows.

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