When you’re buying a car or a washing machine, you’ll always have one eye on the warranty. You may not necessarily think too much about a warranty when you’re buying a phone, but they can be an absolute lifesaver. Here's everything you need to know.

Q. What is a warranty?

A. Sorry, but here’s the boring legal bit: A warranty is a written guarantee, issued to the purchaser of an article by its manufacturer, promising to repair or replace it if necessary within a specified period of time. In English, that basically means if something goes wrong with your phone – within a certain period of time – through the fault of the manufacturer, they will repair or replace the device for you.

Okay, so it’s hard to make it sound fun, but it is really important and here’s why.

Q. What does a mobile phone warranty cover?

A. Picture the scene. A few months after you’ve bought your brand new smartphone, it just suddenly stops working. It didn’t fall or get wet – it just stopped. This is where your warranty comes in. The manufacturer takes responsibility for repairing or replacing your device because it’s within a certain amount of time since you’ve purchased the phone.

Q. So, does that mean my broken screen gets fixed for free?

A. Unfortunately not. Warranties only cover faults in a handset from manufacture. For example, if your battery only lasts for an hour, or your speakers stop working within three months of purchase. If you drop the phone on the footpath, or let it slip down the toilet, this is your responsibility, and you’ll need Geek Squad to cover you for these kinds of mishaps.

Another, unfortunately regular, problem we see is ‘liquid ingress’ aka water damage, which is also not covered by warranty. Handsets have water indicators that turn from white to red when then come into contact with moisture it will be clear immediately if your non-waterproof phone was water damaged.

Q. All warranties are the same though right?

A.  This is where you’ll need to do some reading, as many manufacturers offer slightly different phone warranty periods.
  • Apple: Apple typically offers a slightly shorter than average warranty but you’ll still be covered for 12 months.
  • Samsung: Right in the middle on the average scale is Samsung, which offers coverage for 24 months. However, it’s important to note that your Samsung phone battery is only covered for six months.
  • Sony: Sony differs slightly from Samsung, is that the Sony warranty covers both the battery and the handset for manufacturer faults for 24 months.
  • HTC: Sharing Sony’s philosophy is HTC, which also offers you a 24-month warranty on your handset and battery.
  • Huawei: Huawei weigh in with the average warranty for handsets of 24 months. The battery will also be covered for six months.
  • Nokia/Microsoft: Your Nokia/Microsoft handset will be covered for manufacturer faults for 24 months, with the battery receiving six months’ cover.
  • Doro: Doro offer customers a 24-month warranty, but the battery is only covered for three months.
  • Alcatel: Alcatel also offer 24-month handset warranty and six months’ battery warranty.

Q. So some manufacturers offer up to two years of a warranty from the day I buy the device?

A. Yes and no. The handset warranty starts when the device is manufactured. This may have been a few weeks or months before you even purchase the device, but if you pop into your local Carphone Warehouse store we will check this for you.

Also, Carphone Warehouse will cover the first 12 months of this warranty for you directly in store. However, after 12 months you will need to contact the manufacturer directly.