What to Do When Equipment Breaks Down
Equipment breaks down. You do everything you can to prevent that, but inevitably things can go wrong anyway. Wear and tear (or premature parts failure). Operator misuse. Accidents. This is why you have an Extended Warranty plan. Warranties are a business necessity, but it is valuable only if you know how to use it if the need arises.
Are you covered for this mishap? What should you do next?
Get pre-authorization before getting repairs
Following proper procedure ensures your claim will be paid, if the repair falls within the parameters of your warranty coverage. Pre-authorization is the step that verifies your coverage, so it must happen first. Skip that (or any of the following steps), and your claim will be denied. Here’s what to do:
- Take steps right away to prevent additional damage because this can jeopardize your coverage. As soon as an operator sees a warning light or code, a gauge that is reading off-norm, or receives some other type of malfunction alert, appropriate action must be taken immediately. Stop using the equipment and seek repairs.
- Locate an Authorized Repair Facility to diagnose specifically what is needed to repair your equipment. Using a third-party facility that is not authorized by the warranty administrator voids your coverage.
- Gather all the maintenance records for services performed on this equipment per manufacturer recommended guidelines, and submit this information to the authorized repair facility or the warranty administrator.
- Provide the authorized repair facility with your protection plan certificate and parts schedule.
- Before any repair work can be started or any damaged parts discarded, the authorized repair facility must obtain pre-authorization from the administrator.
What if you can’t get pre-authorization right away?
If breakdown has occurred outside the administrator’s normal business hours, the administrator may waive pre-authorization if the total cost of repair will be $1,000 or less. In this case, you can go ahead with the repair, with the understanding that the administrator has the discretion to approve or deny your unauthorized claim after reviewing it. You must contact them the first business day following repair.
You must still use an authorized repair facility. And before they do any repair work, they must:
- Obtain permission from you to diagnose the cause of the equipment breakdown and estimate repair costs. It is up to you to ensure proper diagnosis and to pay for it.
The administrator may still decide that a warranty or tear-down are needed to verify the cause of breakdown and determine if it is covered under your protection plan. If needed, tear-down will go only to the point where damage is visible or determinable. You will have to authorize this. If your claim is approved, the administrator will cover the reasonable cost of the tear-down; otherwise you will have to pay for it.
- Contact the administrator to confirm your coverage and obtain login credentials needed to submit a claim for this equipment and breakdown. After confirming your coverage, they will review the details with you, so you understand what falls under your protection plan and what repairs, if any, will be your responsibility.
When repairs are complete and it’s time to pick up your equipment, you must review the work performed. You will have to pay your deductible (if any – this amount appears on your certificate) and any charges not covered. If the cost of covered components exceeds what the administrator has approved, you will have to pay the difference.
What about reimbursement?
You must submit claims within 30 days of repair. You can expect payment/reimbursement as long as the damage and repair fall within the parameters of your protection plan, you have followed all the steps outlined above, and of course repairs are compete. Since you have already paid your portion when retrieving your equipment, the administrator will pay the authorized repair facility directly for remaining approved charges.
Now you know
You can hope you’ll never suffer an equipment breakdown. For your sake, we hope so, too. But just in case, you’re covered. Knowing how to respond when a breakdown occurs will get your equipment back in action as soon as possible and ensure you get the greatest benefit available from your protection plan.