Keeping Your Hot Tub Under Warranty

October 28, 2018

Any time you make a big purchase — luxury or necessity, special order or in-the-box standard, online or in-store — you’re probably going to be offered a warranty. Warranties give you the chance to protect your investment and make sure you get your money’s worth, and for something as pricey as a hot tub, it’s going to be worth having. There are two types to consider here: the standard warranty that automatically comes with the product, and the “extended” variant that you can get for an additional fee.

As with the product itself, the quality (and cost, if any) of a warranty can vary wildly. As such, we’re breaking down a few simple concepts that you should keep in mind when deciding on your choice of spa since the upkeep is just as important as the initial buy.

1. Can You Look at the Warranty?

First and foremost, make sure that there’s no wiggle room for the company to change its conditions or impose unexpected restrictions to the policy after you’re locked into it. It can easily happen if you don’t get a copy of the contract before you sign up: vagueness is the enemy here, and you shouldn’t assume that something is covered unless there’s explicit text telling you that it is. Don’t accept only a summary of the benefits you’re getting, nor should you be satisfied with something that’s only accessible online. You should be able to get your hands on physical paperwork that you can outline and discuss with the representative well before you make any purchase. If you’re told that you’ll get the warranty after the delivery of your hot tub, you should be very, very wary.

2. What’s Covered?

There are a lot of different types of plans, and there are usually multiple levels of coverage that you can consider. Some details that you’ll need to choose from include:

Length of coverage

How long does the protection last? One year after purchase? Five? 10? Is it a lifetime guarantee? The shorter it is, the more worthwhile an extended warranty may be. Hot tubs are something you want to last you for a good, long time; they aren’t cell phones that you’re going to be replacing every year or two to get the latest model.

Parts covered

What bits and pieces of your spa will the contract protect? Warranties will have different types of coverage for different elements of the product and will cover you for varying lengths of time. For hot tubs, this can include parts (the mechanical stuff), leaks and plumbing, the shell (outside structure), and electronics (for controls, speakers, and other built-in extras).

Services covered

Aside from the physical components of your hot tub, there’s also the matter of the time and effort that’s required to repair or replace them. Whether you’re having a technician visit you at home or you’re shipping parts to a center, there’s a chance that your plan will require you to pay at least in part for it, in the form of either labor or shipping costs. For something as big as a spa, these figures can get very pricey, very quickly, and tend to “expire” more rapidly than the corresponding coverage on parts. For instance: a warranty plan may cover the parts of your tub for 10 years, but only cover labor for the first year; afterward, you may be required to pay upwards of $100 or more per hour.

3. Who’s Performing the Warranty Work?

Once you know what you’ll be getting out of your deal, there are the practicalities to consider. One of the biggest, as mentioned before, is the question of who is going to be doing the repairs and where. Ideally, they’ll be done (A) by people who work directly for the company (B) at your own home. While the latter comes with the necessity for scheduling and house calls, it’s typically a much faster (and cheaper) process than the alternative. If the warranty work is going to be done by a third party and/or at the company’s site, you can often expect a longer time frame for repairs and additional costs, but this isn’t always the case. Be sure to check reviews for the business as well; actual users will give you a clear an immediate idea of how good their response time, plans, and results are.

4. Do You Need an Extended Warranty?

Lastly, consider the question of whether or not an extended warranty is worth the cost. Ultimately, it’s entirely up to you and how comfortable you feel about the default conditions that you’re already getting. If you’re buying a cheaper model of spa, intend to use it only sporadically, and the built-in coverage is relatively comprehensive, set to last you a while, and comes with few (if any) additional costs, you’re probably fine. If you’re splurging on a more expensive model and/or brand, intend to use it regularly, and/or find the existing warranty isn’t extensive enough for your peace of mind, the extra fee could very well be worth it.

Nothing lasts forever, but financial responsibility stems from learning how to make every dollar count, and a guarantee on a product — especially a large one in both size and cost — goes a long way in making sure that each does. With a little forethought and careful reading, you can ensure that the good times in your little backyard paradise keep on rolling for years to come.

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