It may be one of the last questions you’re asked before you buy something, but it can be one of the most important: Would you like to buy an extended warranty?
Your first thought might be why? Why buy a warranty for something I’m buying new and should have a long life ahead of it? And on top of that, why pay to extend a manufacturer’s warranty? Shouldn’t the company that made the product back it up?
If you’re spending a lot of money on the item, then a protection plan can give you some reassurance. But there’s no reason to be pressured to buy one at the checkout counter. Most companies will let you return within a few days to buy one if you want it, giving you time to check out competitors and read the fine print.
One reason to buy an extended warranty is because the manufacturer’s warranty usually lasts up to a year. If you want peace of mind for that large purchase for more than a year, then it may be worth buying this form of insurance.
Electronics, however, quickly depreciate in value, so it may be cheaper and smarter to buy a new, more high-tech TV if yours breaks in about two years. Phones, computers and other electronics also have short lifespans and cost more to repair, so an extended warranty may not be worth the cost if you expect to buy a new phone anyway. Or, you can take the opposite route and buy an extended warranty as a way to ensure that you can keep your phone for years to come.
On average, protection plans almost always cost more than what repairs would cost. That’s why it’s smart to research the average lifespan of what you’re buying. Various websites will give you an idea of how long kitchen appliances, for example, are expected to last. Gas ranges have the longest life expectancy—15 years—while dryers and refrigerators last about 13 years.
Before signing an extended warranty contract, read the fine print to see what’s excluded. Accidental damage and spilled liquids may not be covered in a smartphone plan, which begs the question: what protection does the plan really offer?