Let's talk gun safe warranties

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by a1abdj, Oct 24, 2010.

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  1. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

    Jul 21, 2005
    St. Charles, MO (St. Louis)
    Gun safe warranties are something I have given some thought to in the past, but I usually only see it discussed in the most basic sense. Another recent thread got me to think about it again, and I figured I would like to know what everybody else who's interested in the subject has to say.

    I'm going to start with some major points, and will list my opinions of those points below. If I forgot anything, or you think there are other major points, feel free to add them to my list. I would also like those with opinions on the points I list, or that others bring up, to state their opinions.

    1) The warrantor and their warranty

    2) Warranty length

    3) Warranty coverage as it applies to the product itself

    4) Warranty coverage as it applies to outside events

    5) Likelihood of claim

    1) The warrantor and their warranty are obviously the most important part of the warranty. There are many gun safe companies that have excellent written warranties, but some are better at stepping up to the plate when a claim is made. I have worked with companies that bend over backwards to make their customers happy, and have heard of companies with great written warranties that drag their feet every step of the way.

    I also like to think about the business offering the warranty, and looking at their history. Let's say there are two companies offering a life time warranty. One has been in business for 100 years, and the other has been in business for 5 years. Will the business that's been open for only 5 years be around for a life time?

    Instead of relying on the warranty as written, it may be in your best interest to ask around. Find others who have actually made a claim (you might need Google) and see what they say about their experience.

    2) Is the length of the warranty important? As far as gun safes are concerned, I think the lifetime warranties are more of a marketing tactic than an actual security blanket. A safe is made of two major parts: The body, and the door. The body of most gun safes is a steel box. There's not much that can go wrong there. The door is a bit more complex, but there's still usually not much to it.

    Over time there are a few common problems that safes will have. Hinges wear and the door starts to sag enough to drag on the door frame. Handles become loose as the bushings wear. Bolt work can fail as connecting bolts/screws wear through or back out. Locks fail to unlock (addressed below).

    Most of these issues take several years to develop, and are a result of normal wear and tear and/or lack of maintenance.

    Are there problems that can be the manufacturer's fault? Sure there are. Bad welds, assembly problems, and missing parts top this list. These problems tend to be noticeable over a very short period of time.

    As long as the safe comes with a warranty of some sort, I think you will be equally covered in most cases, regardless of the length.

    3) Most safes come with two warranties and you don't even know it. The safe manufacturer covers everything that they are responsible for building. The lock manufacturers cover the locks the safe manufacturers install on their safes.

    In my experience, lock issues cover about 90% of the warranty calls I am contracted to resolve. Most safe manufacturers handle these claims and then seek reimbursement from the lock manufacturer. Although there are exceptions, mechanical locks tend to be warrantied for 5 years, and electronic locks for 1 year.

    Once upon a time, lock manufacturers would pay for drilling & repairing the safe, the lock, and the labor to swap the locks. In today's world, most try to get by with just sending out a new lock. Do you think this is fair? Do you feel lock warranties should be longer? Do you feel the safe manufacturer should be responsible for the additional charges if the lock manufacturer refuses to cover them?

    What about when it's the safe owner's fault that the safe won't open? Recently I was called to open a safe with a failed electronic lock. At least that's what the customer service rep had diagnosed it as over the phone. When I arrived I found the bolt work bound which was placing excessive pressure on the lock causing it not to open. Upon opening the safe, I discovered that the owner had items on the floor of the safe that the bottom bolts of the door were pressing against. Should the safe manufacturer be responsible for my bill?

    4) I consider the outside events to be fire/flood/burglary type claims. These claims are rarely made, because they rarely need to be. Even though these are the most unlikely claims, these parts of the warranties seem to be the most talked about.

    The truth is the odds of a fire, flood, or burglary are very low. Your insurance company will also cover these losses, so it is very rare that a safe manufacturer actually has to cover this type of loss. I overheard a manufacturing representative from a company that claimed to sell over 40,000 units a year mention that they had only had to replace 2 safes that year under this portion of their warranty. He was talking with a representative from another company that said they hadn't replace any safes that year.

    I think this part of the warranty is a sales tool, and nothing else.

    5) As a percentage of safes sold, warranty claims are very low. Some manufacturers tend to produce products with lower quality control, so their claims tend to be higher.

    Has anybody here actually made a warranty claim due to an issue with their safe? If so, what was wrong? Was it taken care of to your satisfaction?
  2. Keizer

    Keizer Member

    Oct 1, 2009
    With all the talk about warranties in the other threads, I'm surprised that nobody has commented here yet.

    I haven't, but if I ever did have an issue with mine, I would most likely attempt to fix it myself. Unless of course I was locked out, and it needed to be drilled.

    I was actually surprised at the simplicity of the bolt work inside the door on my AMSEC when I took the door panel off. I was expecting something a little more complicated. When I worked as a machinist, I machined and built very complicated custom lead screw drilling and tapping machines. There was nothing inside the door of my AMSEC that intimidated me in the least.
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