Would You Like An Extended Warranty With That?

By: John San Filippo

Should you buy an extended warranty with your laptop? You may not want to think about it now, but sooner or later, something is going to break down on your laptop. When it happens, the big question will be who gets stuck with the bill, you or the manufacturer.

The standard (standard in this case meaning free) warranty on a new laptop typically runs anywhere from 90 days to a year. That probably doesn’t seem like much when you consider how long you expect to own your laptop. What happens when your laptop poops out on the 91st day?

First of all, even if your laptop only includes a 90-day warranty (and assuming you’ve purchased a reputable brand- name system), the chances of your laptop dying on the 91st day are very, very slim.

Manufacturers don’t offer a 90-day warranty with the expectation that their product will malfunction shortly thereafter. A shorter warranty is likely, at least in part, to be a marketing ploy to push you toward an extended warranty.

All major laptop manufacturers offer a long menu of extended warranty options, each menu item with its own price tag. The two biggest components that factor into the cost of an extended warranty are duration and location.

Through extended warranty, you typically have the option to extend the duration of the standard warranty from one to three years. The first extra year is always the most expensive, with each subsequent year costing significantly less. The longer the extended warranty, the better the deal.

As for location, the least expensive extended warranties require you to ship your laptop (at your expense) to a remote repair facility. With the most deluxe extended warranty packages, a service technician will meet you at your own front door to attempt the repairs. This type of coverage tends to be on the expensive side.

At this point, you might decide to research manufacturer websites to determine their standard warranty policies. Don’t bother, because most laptop manufacturers don’t have standard warranty polices. Warranties vary from line to line and product to product. Even with a particular model in mind, it’s still going to take some digging.

So how do you decide whether an extended warranty is right for you? Your best bet is to consider your anticipated usage:

If you’re buying a laptop as a second computer for occasional use when you need to travel, you can probably pass on the extended warranty and still feel relatively safe.

At the other extreme, if you use your laptop day in and day out as your primary system, with half your life spent in airport terminals, you should consider adding as much extended warranty as you possibly can. Fortunately, unlike automobile warranties, laptop warranties don’t put any restriction on mileage.

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