Remember that scene in Tommy Boy where Tommy’s trying to make his first sale to a potential buyer, and he goes into that huge rant, talking about the glue-sniffing guarantee fairy, and taking a dump in a box and marking it guaranteed?
Great scene – great movie – but it really has nothing to do with this post…sorry – it usually takes me a little longer to roam off topic.
What this post is actually about is one of the strongest, often drastically overlooked indicators of a quality gun safe; the safe warranty.
Like virtually any other high-dollar product on the free-market, the warranty a safe manufacturer applies to his product tells you just how much he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is – he’s not just taking a dump in your safe and marking it guaranteed – he backs it up. Hey, my opening paragraph had a bit of relevance after all!
The most important thing you can do before you make a purchasing decision based on the safe’s warranty is read the fine print.
A thousand and one different gun safe companies in the industry seem to offer a “Lifetime Warranty” on their products. However, it’s not uncommon to visit a safe manufacturer website, seeing their Lifetime stamp marked front and center, only to find that only one or two of their products actually qualify for the coverage.
It’s only when you read the fine print (God help you if you don’t) that you may come to find your fire resistant safe is guaranteed against fire damage, but not covered under break ins, or manufacturer defects, or freight during replacement…the list goes on.
What you’re likely to find in a quality premium gun safe is lifetime coverage honoring repairs and/or necessary replacement of the unit and its parts in the event of damage caused by burglary and fire — every now and then you’ll find flood protection as well.
What you usually don’t find is a plan that covers damage rooting from owner neglect. This can be classified as anything from general wear-and-tear to failing to schedule locksmith checkups on the unit. Graffunder, a manufacturer that builds some of the best safes on the market, actually requires you to have a licensed professional service your lock every five years — and you have to have documentation to prove it. This is actually pretty reasonable, considering most companies don’t include the lock in their coverage at all.
I’ve yet to find a gun safe manufacturer who offers lifetime coverage across the board (fire, floods, burglaries, locks, defects…). However, some brands, like Winchester safes, manufactured by Granite Security, offer optional 9-year extensions to cover most things (like stupid damage caused by the owner) that their lifetime plan doesn’t. Sturdy Safe also offers a similar lifetime extension for $150.
Another thing you rarely see is a manufacturer who honors the warranty when the safe transfers owners. In other words, if you buy or inherit a used gun safe, there’s a pretty good chance the warranty won’t apply to you. One of the few exceptions I’ve found to this rule is Liberty gun safes – they cover lifetime coverage across ownership – pretty impressive.
Before I let you go, make sure you know what actions void your warranty. The majority of manufacturers will honor coverage under changing the combination, adding stickers to the surface, or opting out of professional servicing, but there are always exceptions. Before you do anything radical, check first to make sure you aren’t screwing yourself.
I thought about highlighting the details of every safe warranty on this site, but I quickly realized it would be a logistical and possibly legal cluster funk. I think the following section ia pretty decent workaround — a list of leading safe manufacturers and a corresponding link to their individual warranties explained in detail. Please let me know if you find any broken links, or would like to add anything:
List of gun safe warranties
American Security – http://www.amsecusa.com/Support/SupportElectronicLocks.aspx?ID=2388
Barska – http://www.barska.com/safe_manual_BC124.pdf
Big Horn – http://www.rhinosafe.com/warranty.htm
Browning – http://www.browning.com/library/infonews/detail.asp?ID=199
Cannon – http://www.cannonsafe.com/warranty
DocuGem – http://www.totalsecuritystore.com/help
Fire King – http://www.fireking.com/fireking_resource_warranty.html
First Alert – http://www.firstalert.com/safes-cash-boxes/safes-information
Fort Knox – http://www.ftknox.com/redesign/advantages/warranty.htm
Graffunder – http://www.graffundersafes.com/warranty.html
Gun Vault – http://www.gunvault.com/storepolicies/
Heirloom – http://www.gunsafes.com/Heirloom-Safes-Homage-45-Gun-Safe.html
Hollon – http://www.hollonsafe.com/warranty.shtml
Homak – http://www.homaktools.com/WarrantyInfo.htm
Liberty – http://www.libertysafe.com/images/downloads/warranty_090626.pdf
LockState – http://www.lockstate.com/warranty.html
Mesa – http://www.mesasafe.com/pdf/warranty.pdf
Rhino – http://www.rhinosafe.com/warranty.htm
Sentry (click on warranties and guarantee) – http://www.sentrysafe.com/CustomerCare/FAQ
Stack-On – http://www.stack-on.com/contact_us/warranty.html
Sportsman Steel – http://www.sportsmansteelsafes.com/gun_safe_top_reasons_to_buy.htm
Sturdy Safe – http://www.sturdysafe.com/gunsafewarranty.htm
V-Line – http://www.vlineind.com/html/faq_s.html#Q8
Winchester – http://winchestersafes.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/lifetime-warranty.pdf