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The Value of Warranties: Are They Worth It For Jet Skis?

Warranties for jet skis can be confusing and often bring along many questions like…

  • During manufacturer promotions, should you get the extra warranty or the money off?
  • Do dealers make money off extended ones?
  • Should you get the extended option?
  • What does it cover?
  • Do mods void them?

All these questions and more will be answered.

What It Doesn’t Cover:

Before diving in, let’s clarify some warranty facts:

  • Warranties cover only “manufacturer defects.”
  • Damage from sucking up debris, dock collisions, or user errors is not covered.
  • Body defects tend to be only covered for the first year.
  • Warranty can be voided if you misuse, neglect, or make unauthorized modifications.

Extended Options

The reason why you get the extended warranty is for ‘peace of mind’.

When you purchase an extended warranty, you’re essentially betting that a manufacturing defect will occur, while the manufacturer is betting that nothing will go wrong.

Even though watercraft seem simpler than cars, PWC go through a lot more abuse. The more abuse taken, the more manufacturer defects tend to come up.

New Design

Sea-Doo Fish Pro Trophy fishing seat and cooler.

Let me be honest, getting the extended warranty with a new hull design or new tech just makes sense.

Not saying anything will happen, but you’ll sleep better for sure.

Dealers Profit

If the warranty is part of a manufacturer’s promotion, the dealership earns nothing.

If it’s an upsell, dealers get paid, especially for a longer warranty.

Negotiating is an option, but profit margins tend to be slim, so many people don’t bother. Instead, consider asking for extra perks like a life jacket when buying the extended warranty.

Deductibles

Every manufacturer has a warranty deductible, and the price of the deductible can also vary from dealership to dealership.

Some dealers may charge $0 to $1,000 per claim!

This is something to keep in mind when price shopping for a new machine.

Some may have free or cheaper deductible options, depending on what’s wrong.

Always Get The Warranty Promotion Instead of the Money Off the Watercraft!

A manufacturer will often run a promotion that you can either get a longer warranty or money off the price on new models.

Always go with the extended warranty over the money!

The money off is always lower than the value of getting the extended warranty.

To give an example, it makes more sense to go with the $1,200 warranty over $750 off, but the marketing material never makes it that obvious.

Max Length

Kawasaki KSRD braking system on right side of handlebars.

In different states and countries, the basic manufacturer warranty is 1 year, but it can vary.

The maximum warranty is 5 years.

So, if you already have a 3-year warranty, you can only add 2 more years for a total of 5 years.

Manufacturers use warranty promotions to boost sales, and the warranty duration can indicate how well they’re selling.

Boat Shows

The manufacturer may at times give extra warranty to dealers during a special event like a boat show.

Seeing 3 or 4-year warranty is common during boat shows, and one of the reasons I say buying during a boat show is one of the best times.

Hard Cut-Offs

If a warranty promotion ends on May 31st, and you buy on June 1st, you missed the promotion.

Manufacturers will be strict on this, so waiting to see if the next promotion is better is impossible.

Leftover Models

It’s common for the manufacturer to give better warranty promotions to leftover models.

So if 2024 models started shipping, the manufacturer will give better promotions to the 2023 models to help dealers sell the leftover inventory.

Note: A leftover model is still a new, never been registered but a year or more old. A leftover model is not a used model either, it’s still new.

Used Jet Skis?

Manufacturers warranty usually stay with the unit and not the owner.

I say usually because some manufacturers have been cracking down on warranty transfers.

Inspection Required

Some manufacturers require inspection by a dealership within 10 days of buying, and the dealer may charge a fee.

So if you’re buying a used, there may be a chance it may still have a warranty if it’s under 5 years old.

The only way to know for sure is to contact the dealership and run the VIN. Don’t forget to ask about what is required to transfer the warranty to you.

Buying The Extended Warranty Does Not Speed Up Repairs

Dealers get behind, as most people only ride during the summer months.

Since there’s not many people riding all year long, dealers can’t always hire that many staff. If dealers did, stores would be laying off most of the staff during the slow months, and no one wants to work at a place like that.

So dealers will get backed up and can’t rush warranty repairs through even if you bought the extra warranty.

Paper Work

Sometimes the manufacturer needs proof, like an image or the warranty part sent back.

You also have the issue of back-ordered parts.

Things tend to be made in cycles, and some parts may not be in cycled yet, and the manufacturer doesn’t have any in storage.

Sometimes it’s out of the dealer’s hands on some warranty repairs and may lead to your jet ski being in the shop for a while.

Loaner PWC?

No, a warranty do not offer loaners.

It would be up to the dealership to do loaners, and very few dealers do it.

Modifications

Not every modification you make to your watercraft will void the warranty.

But there is a lot of mods that will void the warranty.

When in doubt, contact your local dealer that will handle the warranty repairs to see if the mod you want to do will void your warranty.

Dealer vs. Manufacturer Warranties

Always go for the manufacturer warranty over the dealer warranty.

The dealer warranties can be fine, but just come with a lot more strings attached.

The manufacturer warranty will be easier to deal with, and it just makes more sense to get the warranty from the company that makes the parts for the item.

The same goes for 3rd party warranties; always go for the manufacturer warranty first.

Author

Steven

I started working at a power sports dealership in 2007, I worked in parts, service counter, and as a technician before moving to sales in 2013. I created StevenInSales.com in 2014 to answer common watercraft questions I would get from people. Now managing the site full-time, I continue to provide advice and web tools for my readers about watercraft. I've owned several watercraft, with a Sea-Doo Spark as my current main PWC.

Comments

  1. Great write up! What are your thoughts on best jetski for a family of 4. I don’t have preference but do see Kawasaki has a 5 year warranty now?

    Reply
    • Kawasaki is good but for a family, I would look at the Sea-Doo GTI or Yamaha VX models as they will have brakes and electronic reverse. The only Kawasaki that has brakes are on the higher-end models while a GTI or VX (mid-range) is more than fine for a family.

      Reply
  2. I work for a Dealer and I really enjoyed your write up. I’m in F&I and sell the warranties on Powersports. I see all the things that come through our shop on a regular basis and some stuff is crazy! I always tell folks that I hope they never need it, but if they do it’s nice to have. I’d say we do warranty work/ claims on a DAILY basis here… Hope that’s helpful for anyone looking at buying a PWC.

    Reply
  3. I received an offer letter from Yamaha to add up to three years on the manufacturer’s warranty. One year is $700. $1,000 buys you three. I am feeling this would not be a good value. What are your thoughts Steve?

    Reply
    • Normally I would be 50/50 on getting the extended warranty after the deal has been done but with how things are going, getting the extended warranty now might be worth it. With prices going crazy, supplies shortages, and manufacturers trying to keep up with demand it means things might be crazy for a few years and locking in a warranty deal for 3 more years now just seems like a good bet to me.

      Reply
  4. Ordered 3up trixx in January for April delivery, followed up in March, told it would be May, followed up in April now told June. Dealer says they are at mfg facility but shipping is the problem. I find that hard to believe. Given your contacts what have you heard about product delivery issues to dealers.

    Reply

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