Mattress warranties: They’re a favorite topic among family members, acquaintances, and long-lost friends. If you haven’t spent a social event debating the ins and outs of mattress warranties, then have you ever lived?
Okay, so clearly we’re kidding. Warranties are hardly a glamorous topic of conversation, nor are they what anyone feels like thinking about in their free time. But if you’ve purchased a mattress or you intend to at any point in the future, then it’s critical to learn about mattress warranties.
Luckily, you don’t have to look very hard to get all the information you need. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to mattress warranties, complete with an overview of what is and is not covered by these warranties, factors that can void a mattress warranty, tips for how to file a warranty claim, and real-life examples of a few different warranties. We’ve also included a list of strategies for extending the life of your mattress so you can get the most out of your investment.
By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be a much more empowered mattress buyer, and you’ll know how to protect your financial investment. Even better? You’ll be equipped with scintillating dinner conversation that’s sure to “wow” any guest.
What Is A Mattress Warranty?
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), federal law requires the manufacturers or sellers of products that represent major purchases (such as mattresses) to stand behind their products with a warranty.
That means they must commit to repairing or replacing any product that is sold with defects or structural flaws (particularly those flaws that might interfere with the intended purpose of the item in question). Warranties must be shared in writing and should be available to consumers both online and in-store.
Generally speaking, a mattress warranty represents a commitment from the manufacturer to cover you in the event that your mattress has a manufacturing or product defect. But not all warranties are created equal. For example, some warranties may cover one scenario while others don’t; different warranties may last for different periods of time; and so on.
Per the FTC, warranties may take several forms:
- Written warranties. Written warranties are not legally required, but they are par for the course for most purchases.
- Spoken warranties. In some cases, a salesperson may make a verbal commitment regarding the warranty. It’s important to get all of these promises in writing.
- Implied warranties. Implied warranties are dictated by state laws. (To learn more about implied warranties, it’s a good idea to consult your state’s consumer protection office.) As a general rule, nearly all purchases are covered by implied warranties. This is true even if your purchase doesn’t come with a written warranty (unless the mattress is marked “as is” or includes a written note regarding the lack of warranty). Implied warranties can last for up to four years and tend to fall into two categories:
- Warrant of merchantability. This reflects the fact that the seller promises the product will perform its essential functions (e.g. an oven will heat up and cook food).
- Warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. These types of implied warranties apply if a seller advises you to purchase a product for a specific use. For example, if a seller suggests that a particular mattress is ideal for pregnant people, then the mattress should be suitable for pregnant people.
It should be noted that a warranty is not the same as a sleep trial. Sleep trials are trial periods during which you can try out a mattress to determine whether its suits your personal preferences, feels comfortable, promotes good sleep, and so on. If you don’t like the mattress and you’re still within the window of the sleep trial, then you should be able to obtain a refund.
In contrast, warranties cover you in the event that a mattress has a defect. Provided you don’t do anything to void the warranty, it should last significantly longer than the sleep trial. The warranty does not cover you if you decide you simply don’t like your mattress after the sleep trial has ended.
Why Is It Important To Understand Your Mattress Warranty?
Warranties are designed to give consumers peace of mind. They guarantee that the product for which you’re paying a lot of money will be free from physical flaws or defects so it functions as expected for an extended period of time.
Understanding your mattress warranty puts you in the best position to preserve your financial investment. For example, when you understand the factors that might void your warranty, you can take steps to ensure the warranty remains sound. Or, if something goes wrong with the mattress, you’ll know what kind of action to take based on whether the issue is or is not covered under your warranty.
Bottom line? Understanding your mattress warranty empowers you to care for your mattress and properly advocate for yourself so your money stretches as far as possible.
How To Read A Mattress Warranty
When perusing a warranty, the FTC recommends that you consider the following:
- The length of the warranty. Note when the warranty begins and expires.
- What’s covered under the warranty. Are certain parts or issues excluded from coverage? Who covers shipping fees in the event that you need to return the mattress? Are there any other hidden costs reflected in the coverage (e.g. paying for labor in the event of repairs)?
- Factors that might void the warranty. We’ll cover the most common factors below.
- Your point of contact for issues pertaining to the warranty. It will either be the seller or the manufacturer.
- How the seller or manufacturer will respond if there’s an issue with the mattress. Will they repair or replace the mattress? Will they give you a refund?
- Whether the warranty will cover “consequential damages.” Many warranties will not cover damages that occur as a result of the product in question. For example, if your mattress breaks and harms your foundation, it’s unlikely the warranty would cover the cost of the foundation.
- The company’s reputation. Does the company that has issued the warranty have a good reputation? Is their contact info readily available? If you don’t know much about the company, you might consult the Better Business Bureau to see if the company has had any complaints leveled against it.
Once you’ve read the mattress warranty, it’s a good idea to stash a copy of the warranty and your receipt in a safe place. (If you purchased the mattress online, you should be able to print the warranty off the web.)
What Are The Different Types of Mattress Warranties?
As a general rule, mattress warranties tend to fall into one of the following categories:
- Prorated warranties. Under this arrangement, consumers are responsible for paying a certain percentage of the cost of repairing or replacing the mattress. This percentage typically gets larger as time goes on.
- Non-prorated warranties. In this case, you would not be responsible for paying any portion of the repair or replacement costs during the designated warranty period. (You might still be responsible for shipping fees if sending the mattress out for repair.)
- Combination warranties. In many cases, a warranty might include both types. For example, your mattress might be covered by a non-prorated warranty for the first few years after its purchase, and then a prorated warranty for the rest of the warranty period.
What Is Covered Under A Mattress Warranty?
The specific conditions of mattress warranties differ among brands and sellers, so it’s not possible to share a definitive list of things that will absolutely be covered in a mattress warranty.
That said, the majority of mattress warranties will address some or all of the following conditions:
- Physical defects. Many mattress warranties will guarantee repair or replacement of the mattress in the event that:
- Seams split or otherwise come undone
- Coils break, are severely bent, or pop out of the side of the mattress
- The mattress materials bunch abnormally so the surface is not smooth (this issue is more likely to affect foam mattresses versus innersprings)
- Mattress handles arrive broken or otherwise torn
- Sagging. This is one of the most common issues to be covered under a mattress warranty. Warranties won’t cover sagging brought on gradually by normal wear and tear over the course of several years. But most of them will cover excessive sagging or sagging that occurs early in the life of a mattress, because that’s a sign that something about the product might be defective. Warranties generally address a specific sagging depth, so you’ll need to break out the ruler to determine whether a certain level of sagging is or is not covered by your warranty. (More on that below.) Most mattress warranties cover a sagging depth of 1.5” or more, but some will cover sagging of as little as 0.75”.
- Broken box spring. If your mattress comes with a box spring and the box spring breaks through no fault of your own, then it may be covered by your warranty.
How to Measure Mattress Sagging
If you think your mattress is sagging to the point of disrepair, then you’ll need to measure the depth of the sag in order to determine if it’s covered by your warranty.
To do that, start by removing all linens from the mattress. Then, stretch a string across the mattress so it’s pulled taut. While keeping the string taut, use a ruler to measure the distance between the string and the lowest point of the sagging section. This will give you the depth of sag, which you can then compare to the terms of your specific warranty.
What Is Not Covered Under A Mattress Warranty?
As noted above, warranties exist to protect consumers in the event that they unknowingly purchase a mattress with physical flaws or defects. Anything that doesn’t fall into the category of a defect is unlikely to be covered by a mattress warranty.
While every warranty is different, it’s a good bet that your warranty will not cover:
- Sagging that isn’t deep enough to meet the minimum sagging depth covered by the warranty
- Damages incurred by the mattress owner, such as accidental tears or scratches that happen while transporting the mattress or sagging that results from jumping on the bed
- Discoloration brought on by washing the mattress or normal wear and tear (In fact, as we’ll discuss below, stains can actually void a mattress warranty)
- An uneven surface that results from long-term use. On a related note, failing to flip or rotate your mattress on a regular basis might also void its warranty
- Comfort. If you don’t feel comfortable on your mattress or you simply don’t like the feel of it for any reason, that will not be covered under warranty. Warranties are also unlikely to cover changes in the mattress’s feel over time (e.g. a decline in softness as the mattress ages). As noted above, a mattress warranty is not the same thing as a sleep trial. During the trial period, you’ll want to determine if you like the feel of the mattress and are able to sleep comfortably during the night. Once the sleep trial ends, manufacturers and sellers will not replace or reimburse a mattress simply because you find it uncomfortable
- Other issues that can be attributed to normal wear and tear
- The cost of non-defective components. That means if your mattress has a faulty seam, for example, the company is strictly responsible for repairing or replacing the seam. They will not be responsible for the cost of replacing the full mattress. Similarly, mattresses with electrical components (such as pumps, remote controls, or sensor technology) typically have different coverage for those components versus the rest of the mattress
How Long Do Mattress Warranties Last?
Each warranty is different, so it’s important to know the length of a given warranty before committing to a mattress purchase.
As a general rule, mattress warranties tend to last longer than the expected lifespan of the mattress in question. Thus, the length of a warranty can tell you something about the longevity of a given mattress. For example, if a mattress warranty lasts for five years, that’s a good indication the mattress will be viable for less than five years; if the warranty lasts for 10 years, the mattress will likely last for approximately eight years; and so on.
For the most part, higher-quality mattresses tend to have longer warranties, because they also tend to last longer. Lower-quality mattresses are likely to have shorter warranties and shorter lifespans.
Factors That Can Void A Mattress Warranty
There are several ways to void a mattress warranty, so it’s important to avoid these things if you want to preserve your warranty’s coverage. Here are some of the most common factors that can void a warranty:
- Staining or otherwise damaging the mattress with fluids. Because liquids can damage mattress foams, staining your mattress with any type of fluid is liable to void its warranty. The easy way to avoid this is to invest in a waterproof mattress protector and cover your mattress immediately after purchase. We’ll discuss mattress protectors in greater detail down below.
- Removing the mattress tag. In many cases, removing the mattress’s tag may void the warranty. While this generally applies more to mattress retailers than consumers, it’s still a good idea to preserve the tag on your mattress.
- Failing to provide the proper support for your mattress. Your mattress’s warranty should indicate what kind of support is needed. The proper support for your mattress will depend on its construction. For example, some mattresses can be supported by platform beds, others will do fine on adjustable bases, and so on.
- Failing to flip or rotate your mattress on a consistent basis (in some cases). This ensures the mattress wears evenly. Depending on the mattress in question, failing to flip or rotate the mattress might void the warranty. Not all mattresses require flipping or rotating, however, so it’s important to read the specific warranty in question.
- Not being the original owner of the mattress. Once a mattress has been passed from the original buyer to someone else (whether as a gift or sale), then the warranty will likely become void.
Also, be aware that manufacturers’ warranties do not offer coverage in the event that you simply don’t like the mattress. If you find that a mattress doesn’t suit your personal preferences, the warranty will most likely not cover you for a refund. (If you’re still within a risk-free trial period, then it should be possible to get a refund.)
How To File A Claim For A Mattress Warranty
If you believe your mattress has a physical flaw or defect that falls under the mattress warranty’s coverage, then you may want to file a warranty claim. According to the FTC, here’s how to go about it:
- Review your warranty’s terms. Before going through the trouble of filing a claim, make sure to review your warranty. If the warranty doesn’t cover your complaint, then it’s probably not worth the headache of filing a claim.
- Start by contacting the mattress retailer. If the retailer isn’t helpful, then your next step is to contact the mattress’s manufacturer. In both cases, send hard copies of letters via certified mail and request return receipts. Also be sure to keep copies of any and all communications. Clearly state the issue with your mattress (you might even include some photos) and include a copy of the warranty terms that you believe to cover the issue.
- Once the retailer or manufacturer replies, submit the necessary paperwork. The company will likely ask you to file official paperwork to initiate the warranty claim. Once the process is initiated, it may take several weeks before the claim is fully resolved.
- Understand the costs involved. If the company sends an inspector to your home to assess the mattress, you may be responsible for the cost of the inspector. If the mattress is found to be defective, you may also be responsible for shipping it to an offsite location to be repaired. Know the potential costs involved so you can run a cost-benefit analysis.
- If the retailer or manufacturer won’t cooperate, be educated about your next steps. If the retailer or manufacturer refuses to cooperate and you’re still confident that you have a legitimate claim, there are a few options available to you. Start by contacting your local or state consumer protection office; they should be able to assist you. If that still doesn’t work, then your next options are small claims court or a full-blown lawsuit. If you decide to go this route, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer to determine whether you actually have a case, assess costs versus benefits, and so on.
Brand-Specific Warranty Examples
In order to give you a sense of what mattress warranties might look like in real life, we’ve put together a few examples from well-known brands.
Sleep Number’s warranty policy is dubbed the “Sleep Number® Core Line Mattress and Modular Base 25 Year Limited Warranty.” This mattress warranty covers Core Line mattresses and all Sleep Number modular bases purchased after September 19, 2016 (except for the it™ bed).
Like most warranties, this one commits Sleep Number to repairing or replacing the mattress if it features a defect resulting from the manufacturing process or the materials used. This coverage is non-prorated during the first two years of the warranty. From year three to 25, the warranty is prorated.
The warranty terms also address what is not covered under the warranty and lay out the many ways in which the warranty can be voided (such as removing the mattress tag, staining or spilling fluids on the mattress, and so on).
The popular memory foam mattress maker offers a wide number of mattress warranties depending on the mattress in question. For the most part, mattresses and flat foundations are covered by what Tempur-Pedic calls a “10-Year Full Replacement Limited Warranty.”
This coverage offers non-prorated coverage for 10 years after purchasing the mattress. (Any pumps, hoses, or remotes included with the mattress are covered for five years.) The warranty covers sagging greater than 0.75” as well as manufacturing defects in the cover’s zipper and “any physical flaw in the mattress that causes the TEMPUR® material to split or crack, despite normal usage and proper handling.”
The warranty does not cover changes in softness over time, comfort preferences, damages that result from using the wrong foundation, damages incurred by the owner (such as stains, tears, and burns), floor models, products sold by non-authorized retailers, and replacement of non-defective pieces.
The warranty is non-prorated for all 10 years, but owners are responsible for any shipping costs involved in having the mattress repaired.
This popular bed-in-a-box retailer offers a “Casper Sleep 10 Year Limited Mattress Warranty” for all of its mattresses. The warranty functions quite similarly to the Tempur-Pedic’s 10-year warranty.
Casper’s warranty offers coverage for defects including sagging in excess of one inch, manufacturing defects in the cover’s zipper, and any physical flaw that causes the foam to split or crack.
The warranty does not cover changes in softness over time, comfort preferences, damages incurred by the owner (such as tears or stains), mattresses sold by unauthorized retailers, and the replacement of any non-defective components.
The warranty doesn’t appear to stipulate whether it is prorated or non-prorated, but the terms suggest it’s non-prorated. Owners are not responsible for transportation costs involved in repairing a mattress that is found to be defective.
Nectar is another well-regarded bed-in-a-box mattress that offers a unique warranty in the form of its “Nectar Forever Warranty™”.
Here’s a basic overview of how the warranty works: For the first 10 years after purchase, the company will replace any mattress that is found to have defective workmanship or materials with a brand new Nectar mattress at no charge.
After year 10, the company will repair, re-cover, or replace the Nectar “if a manufacturing defect or materials failure is confirmed to exist.” In this case, customers will not be responsible for any transportation costs involved in repairing or replacing the mattress.
Defects that are covered under the warranty include sagging of greater than 1.5”; any physical flaw in the mattress that causes the foam to split, crack, or otherwise degrade; and any manufacturing defects in the cover.
The warranty does not cover damage that is incurred by the owner or by using an improper bed frame, changes in softness over time, comfort preferences, or any mattress that is sold “as is” or is no longer the property of the original owner.
How To Extend The Life Of Your Mattress
Because a mattress is a major financial investment, it’s a good idea to do everything in your power to extend your mattress’s lifespan.
As a general rule, innerspring mattresses tend to last approximately seven to 10 years, while high-quality foam beds can last for up to 15 years. Hybrid beds typically last for somewhere between seven and 15 years because they include both coils (which can wear down more quickly) and foam (which tends to last longer). All told, the longevity of a mattress will depend heavily on the quality of its materials and construction.
That said, there are several strategies you can adopt to ensure your mattress lasts as long as possible. Here are a few proven ways to extend the life of your mattress.
Use the right foundation.
Different mattresses require different types of foundations, so it’s important to research your specific mattress in order to determine the right foundation. This is very important, because (as noted above) some mattress warranties are voided when owners don’t use the right type of foundation.
The most common forms of mattress support are:
- Platform beds, which are pieces of furniture that include a frame, headboard, and footboard with a layer of wooden slats running across the bottom
- Box springs, which are wooden frames outfitted with springs that help absorb shock and evenly distribute weight across the mattress
- Foundations, which are similar in appearance to box springs but are designed almost exclusively for support (as opposed to shock absorption)
- Adjustable bases, which (as the name implies) can be adjusted to hold the mattress at different angles. While these are less common than foundations and box springs, adjustable bases have become more popular in recent years
Invest in a mattress protector.
As a general rule, mattress protectors provide some or all of the following benefits:
- Waterproofing and protecting against stains
- Preventing allergens (such as dust mites, molds, dead skin cells, and so on) from collecting in the mattress
- Protecting against bed bugs
- Regulating body temperature to help you sleep cooler at night
- Providing additional comfort thanks to extra padding
The most popular types of mattress protectors are fitted and encasement protectors:
- Fitted mattress protectors “hug” the mattress just like a fitted sheet. They’re easy to get on and off the mattress and tend to be more affordable than encasement protectors
- Encasement mattress protectors cover every side of the mattress and tend to zip closed up the side. This offers extra protection from allergens and/or bed bugs
As for mattress pads and toppers, they may provide additional comfort but are less likely to offer the extra benefits of dedicated mattress protectors (although there are exceptions to this rule).
Avoid bouncing on the bed.
If you have kids (or you’re simply a child at heart), this one might be tough. But the more you can avoid bouncing on the bed, the better off your mattress will be. That’s because bouncing can break coils or cause permanent indentations in the mattress’ surface.
Vacuum the mattress twice a year.
Sure, this might sound like a pain in the butt. But if you can muster the energy to vacuum your mattress at least twice a year, you’ll be doing both your mattress and your health a major favor. That’s because vacuuming the mattress helps remove and prevent further buildup of dust, allergens, skin cells, and so on. That keeps you and your mattress healthier.
To vacuum your mattress, start by removing all the linens from your bed. Then use the vacuum’s upholstery/appliance attachment to vacuum the entire surface of the mattress. Spend extra time around the seams, which is where the majority of buildup will hang out.
Spot-clean potential stains immediately.
Blood, sweat, tears, food: There are tons of substances that can stain a mattress. While it might be tempting to cover these stains with a sheet and call it a day, you’ll increase the longevity of your mattress if you properly care for stains instead. After scrubbing a stain, allow the mattress to fully dry before you cover it back up.
Flip or rotate the mattress on a regular basis.
As a general rule, flipping and/or rotating a mattress helps ensure it wears evenly, thereby preserving its lifetime (and protecting your from major saggy spots). For the most part, memory foam, latex foam, hybrid, and innerspring mattresses benefit from a 180-degree rotation every three months.
That being said, not all mattresses require flipping or rotating — so be sure to read your mattress’s guide or contact the manufacturer to determine the right course of action.
Keep food out of the bed.
Sure, some people believe that eating in bed is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Unfortunately, bugs and other pests agree. Even tiny crumbs can attract pests such as ants and cockroaches, so it’s a good idea to avoid this risk by banning food from the bedroom. If you simply can’t avoid eating in bed (say, because you’re dealing with a nasty bout of the flu), then make sure to change your sheets every few days to cut down on crumb buildup.
Before transporting your mattress, encase it in plastic.
This is the best way to ensure your mattress isn’t ripped, stained, soaked, or otherwise damaged during transport from one room to another or in a moving truck. Encasing the mattress in plastic prior to transporting it will also help prevent dust, dirt, and bed bugs from making their way into the mattress.
Mattress warranties may not be the most titillating topic around, but it’s important to read and understand a warranty prior to making any mattress purchase. This way, you’ll get a general understanding of the lifespan of your mattress, you’ll know what steps to take if there’s a defect in your mattress, and you’ll know how to best care for your mattress so it lasts you for years to come.
Featured image: Freeograph/Shutterstock
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