Extended warranties have gotten a bad reputation. And it’s no surprise, with the all-too-common terrible experiences customers have had with warranties. From outdated ways to file claims, to frustrating requirements to prove an issue occurred, to finding out your issue isn’t even covered, there have been plenty of bad experiences to go around.
Most of the time, it seems you don’t even use the extended warranty you purchased, and when you do, you end up frustrated and angry that your issue isn’t covered by your plan.
So are they even worth it?
It’s easy to see why warranties may not be worth the extra cash:
- You never actually use the warranty.
- It’s a hassle to go through the claims process.
- You don’t get your claim approved because of gotchas in the fine print.
Extended warranties can really save you from difficult situations -- if you make the most of them:
- Know what’s covered and file a claim as soon as an issue occurs.
- Learn about the warranty company’s claims filing process to see how easy it is to get access to plan details, file a claim, and check on its status until there’s a resolution.
- Choose warranty plans from companies that can show that the gotchas, like extra fees or limitations, are removed.
With those hurdles out of the way, the question still remains -- are extended warranties worth it? Here’s how to decide:
Cost of repairs/replacements
It often doesn’t make sense to purchase an extended warranty for a product that is cheap to replace or easy to fix yourself. But for products that would be expensive to repair or replace, an extended warranty can be very useful. When your washer breaks and it costs $200 for the repair person to simply visit your home, or your new $2,000 dining set gets a stain on the cushion that you just can’t get out, you can save a lot of money by having an extended warranty to fix or replace that item.
Hassle of dealing with issues
If you’re handy and like to fix issues that come up, then feel free to go the DIY route! But if you dread finding a trusted repair person who knows how to deal with that product, then passing that onto the extended warranty company can be a big win. When you have a protection plan and a product issue comes up, the warranty company will work with their network of repair companies that specialize in the product you’ve purchased. And if a repair isn’t doable, they’ll work with the retailer to get you a replacement so you can get back to enjoying your products as you hoped.
Peace of mind that you can enjoy your product
Sometimes the concern over staining your new couch or breaking your new tablet keeps you from actually using the product you’ve excitedly purchased. But why purchase a product if you don’t even get to enjoy it? An extended warranty can provide that peace of mind that you’ll be covered in case anything does happen to your new product, so you can get back to actually using it.
Extended warranties are no silver bullet to getting to enjoy your favorite products for a lifetime, but they can go a long way in saving you money, hassle, and stress. While not the right choice in every shopping situation, extended warranties can be worth it with certain products when you’re looking for these types of benefits.
This article was originally published July 2018 and updated June 2021.