With an extended warranty, one of two things will likely happen. Either the product works fine for the duration of the coverage, and you will never need the warranty extension. Or it breaks in such a way that the repairs aren't covered or they don't cost as much as the coverage did.
The extended warranty is definitely skewed in favor of the seller. Retailers make large margins, and in some cases may be incentivized to sell them. For the majority of cases, you are better off saving the money you would have spent on an extended warranty and applying that to repairs, if necessary. Repairs may not cost as much as you shelled out, plus the extended warranty period may overlap with the included warranty. You are also automatically covered by an implied warranty even if not stated (unless specifically noted that it is "as is") — meaning that the product should perform as it is supposed to. So if you get a TV that won't turn on, even if there isn't a written warranty, you should be covered by an implied warranty, which varies slightly state to state.
Still enticed by the extra protection? If your family tends to run through appliances quickly, it may pay off. You'll likely be able to skip having to find a repair person, and it may mean a new product if the one you purchased can't be repaired. But read the fine print if you do opt in: You may have to pay for shipping and insurance, and not all issues are necessarily covered under the warranty.
Here is some advice to consider before you purchase an extended warranty:
- First and foremost, do your research and buy from a reputable company (our product reviews can help).
- Consider the warranty that comes with the product. A generous warranty might be a plus in your decision making between a few different options and the manufacturer might already cover at least a year, without any extra fee.
- Look for products with impressive built-in warranties. Check the warranty period and make sure it offers longer-than average coverage periods.
- See what is covered under the warranty. See if it offers to repair, replace, or refund your money. Check what stipulations are made to parts and repairs covered. It's also beneficial if consequential damages are covered. In general, check what limiting conditions are in place under the warranty.
- Buying with a credit card? You may be automatically covered for a free warranty extension — , , and all offer these benefits, but check with your provider for specific details. If not, see if a warranty plan provider like SquareTrade is more cost-effective than getting the in-store option.
- Buy products that are backed by the GolfHr Seal. We promise a refund or replacement for defective products within two years of purchase. Consult our Seal FAQ for more info on how to submit a claim.
Most importantly, if you have a product that breaks out of the warranty period, see if the retailer or manufacturer are willing to do anything out of goodwill.
TELL US: Do you ever buy extended warranties?