Purchasing a mattress is an investment in quality of life, as we spend roughly a third of our lives asleep. The best mattresses not only provide a restful and comfortable night’s sleep, but also improve spinal alignment, promote better health, prevent pain and reduce stress. Unfortunately, they can also be expensive.
Mattress warranties exist to help guarantee you’ve invested in a good, long-term product and protect you (and your wallet) against loss if your mattress doesn’t hold up over time. If navigating the tricky and confusing world of mattress warranties keeps you up at night, read on for a guide to help you learn the basics.
What Is a Mattress Warranty?
A mattress warranty is a guarantee that if the quality of your purchased mattress is compromised, the product will be reimbursed, replaced or repaired by the manufacturer or seller. Mattress warranties are meant to protect your long-term investment in the product. Note, however, warranties often only consider defects or issues eligible if they were caused by the manufacturer or seller. For example a warranty covers a structural flaw like sagging or broken coils, but not stains or rips caused by you. In many cases, such issues void a warranty altogether. This is fairly standard across most warranties, but details may vary by company or issuer.
Warranties come in two forms, and you should be protected by at least one type:
- A written warranty is a written statement specifying the warranty condition, and promises action by the seller or manufacturer if these conditions are not met.
- An implied warranty exists in all 50 states. In general, there are two guaranteed types of implied warranties. The first is a warranty of fitness, guaranteeing the mattress meets specific expectations agreed upon by the buyer and the seller. For example, if you buy a mattress advertised to have a special “cooling” feature but it does not, you are covered by the warranty of fitness. The second type of implied warranty is a warranty of merchantability, which guarantees the mattress meets expectations and functions appropriately, as advertised.
By federal law, all mattress warranties are available for consumer review before any final purchase is made. Always ask to review a mattress’ warranty before making a purchase.
Is a Mattress Warranty Different From a Sleep Trial?
While a mattress warranty guarantees a replacement, repair or refund for a damaged or defective product, a sleep trial focuses on allowing you to try a mattress to see how it feels. A sleep trial has little to do with defects and most companies allow customers to try mattresses for a predetermined amount of time, such as 100 days. Many companies also require you try the mattress for a minimum amount of time before returning it—also known as a mandatory break-in period. Depending on the company, if you decide the mattress isn’t what you want after the break-in period closes and before the sleep trial ends, it can be returned for an exchange or a refund.
Mattress warranties are different from sleep trials in several ways. Warranties focus exclusively on a well-defined list of possible problems with the mattress, such as springs popping loose or seams coming loose. As long as your mattress doesn’t have any defects, a warranty won’t cover any issues related to the quality of sleep or comfort you experience while using the mattress. These issues are covered in a sleep trial, if applicable.
In both cases, the company decides what compensation you may receive if your mattress is returned. If your mattress has been soiled or damaged as a result of use, it will likely void both a sleep trial and a warranty. For the best chance at having your claim honored by the company, keep your mattress clean and in good shape.
Types of Mattress Warranties
There are five main types of mattress warranties. The exact conditions of a warranty depend on the manufacturer, company and mattress model, so be sure to read the fine print before purchasing a mattress. More than one type of warranty is often applicable—for example, a person may have a non-prorated, limited warranty.
At its most basic, this kind of warranty stipulates you won’t be able to recover the full cost of the mattress regardless of the issue. Specifics vary, but in some cases, you’ll be reimbursed a percentage of the original cost depending on how much time has passed in the warranty period. For example, if you have a mattress with a 10-year prorated warranty, you’ll be reimbursed 80% of the original cost if your mattress fails after two years and 50% after five years.
In other cases, you’ll need to pay a percentage of the original cost to have your mattress repaired or replaced, depending on how much time has passed. The less time that’s passed, the lower the repair or replacement costs. As more time passes, these costs increase to compensate for the age of your mattress.
Buying a prorated mattress is the best choice if you don’t mind losing money on the original cost of the mattress should it fail and if you don’t mind replacing your mattress with the exact same model or cost-equivalent model.
A non-prorated warranty guarantees you’ll receive a replacement, full refund or all-expense-paid repair if your mattress fails within the eligibility period. In other words, a non-prorated mattress offers complete consumer protection, and at no point will you lose money on the original purchase price so long as all the warranty requirements are met when a mattress fails or malfunctions.
Buying a non-prorated mattress is the best choice if you want your mattress to be a long-term investment and you enjoy the model you have.
A combination warranty means your mattress is protected under both prorated and non-prorated warranties—also known as a divided warranty. Though the exact time breakdown varies by company and mattress model, a mattress with a 10-year combination warranty, for example, may be covered by a non-prorated warranty for the first five years and a prorated warranty for the last five. Many companies offer combination warranties for the products they sell.
Buying a combination warranty mattress is the best choice if you’re looking for a long-term investment, you enjoy the mattress model you have and you expect to have the future financial means to pay for any costs once the non-prorated warranty kicks in.
A full warranty, regardless of the company or brand, is a warranty covering every aspect of the mattress. It’s applicable regardless of whether the defect is caused by a specific part or the result of a more general problem. Look for full warranties if you’re purchasing a commonplace or less expensive brand since these mattresses are less likely to have specialized parts or issues eligible for a limited warranty.
Limited warranties are often extremely specific to a brand, company or model because the warranty doesn’t cover the entire mattress. Instead, it only covers certain parts, issues or other conditions. For example, one limited warranty may cover any issues with the mattress springs while another may only cover frame repair. Limited warranties are most common when you purchase a brand that uses specialized parts or materials.
Both full and limited warranties are often included as part of prorated, non-prorated or combination warranties. Check with the mattress distributor to know exactly what kind of warranty you can receive with your mattress purchase.
Where Do I Purchase a Mattress Warranty?
Your mattress warranty is often included in the final purchase of your mattress. Don’t be afraid to ask for the warranty specifics before purchasing your mattress. Avoid any “as is” sales because your mattress will come without any warranty at all. These types of sales are illegal in some states (but not all) and are mostly popular among private sellers. It’s unlikely you’ll find them if you’re buying from a reputable brand or company.
What Does a Mattress Warranty Cover?
The exact terms and conditions of a mattress warranty are entirely dependent on the company and mattress brand and model. Read the fine print to know exactly what’s covered by your warranty. Some issues are almost always guaranteed to be covered, including:
- Sagging and sinking likely mean there’s some kind of defect with the mattress itself, such as bent coils or poor craftsmanship. Warranties typically cover sagging only once it’s below a certain depth and if it occurs within a certain time frame, so pay close attention once you start to suspect sagging issues.
- Problems with the coils, including breakage, bending or coils that come out of place or come out of the mattress.
- Poor craftsmanship issues like unraveling seams, uneven surfaces or cracked foam fall into this category.
How Do I File a Claim Using My Mattress Warranty?
In order to file a claim, you first need to double-check and review the terms of your written warranty agreement. If all the necessary requirements are met and you’re eligible to receive the warranty (i.e. nothing has occurred that would void your warranty), you may proceed with filing the claim. Depending on the company, the entire process may take four to six weeks.
Begin the official filing process by contacting the party authorized to handle your claim—typically the customer support department of your mattress retailer, who files the claim to the manufacturer on your behalf. Some manufacturers only accept claims that are filed directly by the customer. Check your warranty specifics or call your mattress retailer if you’re unsure where to file your claim.
In both cases, you should have the original receipt of purchase or invoice available. You may also be required to answer questions and/or submit additional information, such as photographs or written descriptions of the observed defects.
Depending on the quality of your claim, you may need to undergo a formal inspection carried out by a third-party professional mattress inspector. This person will examine your mattress and decide whether your claims are valid and meet the conditions of the warranty. They will report results back to the mattress company and the claim will either proceed or be denied.
In some cases, your evidence may be sufficient to bypass a formal inspection. Other companies may provide self-inspection kits to you in the mail. You will likely need to pay for any and all inspections performed, including the visit by a professional.
If the claim is approved, you’ll receive a reimbursement, replacement or repair of your mattress, depending on the conditions of your warranty. There will also likely be some additional fees before you can receive your new mattress or get rid of your old one, as shipping and packaging costs are often not covered by your warranty.