If you think that spending $100 or more for extended warranties that cover your electronic gadgets or certain household items will help you avoid the hassles of laptop crashes or phone emergencies, then go for it by all means. However, if you are the type of customer that is able to set aside your emotional worries, you can save this money through avoiding these warranties – in fact, you will rarely use them, and they are mostly not worth the expensive cost.
If you look at it critically from an economic point of view, extended warranties will not seem to make sense – but many consumers are not the most rational, especially when you are attached to an item, or when the item is expensive and fragile.
What is an extended warranty?
Sometimes referred to as a maintenance agreement, a service agreement, or a service contract, it is a prolonged warranty that customers receive, and is counted separately from the standard warranty that new items have.
You may get the warranty offer from the retailer, the warranty administrator, or the product manufacturer. These warranties, such as one guard home warranty, usually cost some extra money, which is a percentage of the retailing price of the item in question.
The most common items you will get in extended warranties are electronic items and cars, although you will find other items being covered under their policy. They also have some terms and conditions that may be different from the original terms of the product, for instance they may not cover problems other than mechanical failures.
Factors to consider when getting an extended warranty
Do any other warranties exist?
Before you go getting an extended warranty, you need to know whether the product has other warranties. For instance, you should check the aspects of the product that are covered under a free warranty – this is what is included in the price and lasts for one year – before you go for an extended warranty.
In addition, it is important to note that when you use a credit card to buy the extended warranty, it will extend the warranty from the manufacturer, although paying for it through cash or buying it as a gift card will void the extension.
Warranties will usually cover the normal wear and tear of products, but certain instances such as dropping iPads or you phone will not be covered by the warranty. You will need to cover certain aspects of the guidelines, such as not storing it under conditions that may damage it (this is according to data from the American Service Contract Industry Council).
Return policies from stores also permit customers to return items within thirty days, so this provides you with an easier returning option if the product will break shortly after you purchase it.
Is it reliable in terms of cost?
If you are paying extended warranties that are too low in relation to the price of the product, you are shortchanging yourself – laptops are generally very reliable, so make sure you are spending properly on their warranties if you decide to go that route. If not, paying for simple repairs is cheaper than getting extended warranties, so you do not always need them.
However, the price should not be too expensive either. If the warranty is greater than 20 percent of the price of your product, it may be too much. Extended warranties should fall between 10 to 20 percent of the price that you bought the product.
In case you are in doubt, remember that good extended warranties on electronic gadgets, for instance, should cover spills and drops, which also happen to be among the most common occurrences of destruction and damage. Moreover, they should cover other ‘accidents’ as well, most of which are not so common.
When to avoid extended warranties
The consumer products that are more expensive if their price range tend to be more reliable and do not suffer many breakdowns. These include washing machines, refrigerators, stereo systems, and big screen TVs. If they do break down, it is usually within the original warranty window, since their construction is of high quality.
Keep this in mind when going for an extended warranty. When you choose them to cover these items, you are only giving in to your emotional side. In other words, you will not be purchasing that extended warranty to cover these items because you are worried it will break down, you are only afraid you will feel bad if they break down and you do not have a warranty.
When to go for them
If you own a product that has some previous ownership, such as a second hand car, getting an extended warranty is a good decision to make. This is because of the problem of bad products driving out the good products in the case of second hand cars – this means chances are high you will get a bad used car on sale as opposed to a good one. This creates a high level of risk for car shoppers dealing in second hand vehicles, and getting an extended warranty makes sense.
If you also are dealing with an older home that has older appliances (as long as they are in good condition), then home warranties can be a good option for you. The warranty can also cover specified items within the home.
Advantages of extended warranties
They will cover you very well in case you have older appliances, just in case they break down. In addition, if you live in an old house, the systems might have some wear and tear, so the policy will safeguard you from expensive repairs.
If you do not maintain your appliances well, the appliances have too much damage, or there is incorrect installation, then the service is not worth it. It is therefore important to find out what the cover will provide (read contracts very carefully), and also know the people who will perform any repairs.
Extended warranties can be a useful thing, as they will safeguard you from having to undergo expensive repairs when attempting to fix something. However, you might not actually need them. So it is important to carefully consider the implications of signing up, and avoid making emotional based decisions.
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