Friday, November 17, 2006

Why you don't need an extented warranty

The next time when you buy an electronic product, think twice before you purchase an extended warranty for it. says that it will be money down the drain. From
Flat-panel TVs. They are a magnet for extended warranty sales, says Arnum, of Warranty Week. "Whenever you have product that has cutting-edge newness to it, there's a perception of fragility," he says. "There's something spooky to it, and consumers say, 'I've got to insure this.' That's the solution to the uncertainty."

Flat-panel TVs are so new that their long-term repair record isn't known. But our latest reliability survey shows that those bought in the past two years have been quite reliable--just as reliable as conventional, direct-view TVs. Even if your LCD or plasma set does need to be repaired, it will probably cost you less than you're likely to pay for an extended warranty. Of the small percentage of survey respondents whose LCD TV needed a repair, only 8 percent reported it costing more than $500, the cost at which an extended warranty might make sense. For plasma owners whose set needed a repair, only 14 percent paid more than $500.

Computers. Most desktop PCs come with a year of tech support. An extended warranty typically costs about the same as the average PC repair. Instead of buying a warranty that you're unlikely to use, you'd be better off paying to fix your computer if it breaks. As noted above, because Apple computers offer only 90 days of tech support (a $49 call otherwise), you might consider an extended warranty if you buy one.

Laptops. Laptops have among the higher repair rates of the products we track. Forty-three percent of three- to four-year-old laptops have needed to be fixed, our subscribers indicate; typical repairs cost between $100 and $400. But many of these problems occurred outside the coverage period of a typical computer extended warranty. Also be aware that extended warranties usually don't cover problems if you drop the laptop or spill something on it. If you're worried about that, you should get accident-damage protection. Typically, though, you must buy an extended warranty first.

Digital cameras. Our survey of subscribers has shown that fewer than 10 percent of those who bought a digital camera in the past three years have had to get it repaired or had a serious problem. So the odds that you're going to need an extended warranty are pretty low.
(Thanks Shy)

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