If you’ve bought any type of household appliance or item recently, it’s very likely you’ve been urged to get an extended warranty. Consumer Reports indicates that 74 percent of shoppers are encouraged to get an extended warranty for products ranging from smartphones to laptops, on average.
Which leads us to the issue of whether extended warranties are needed. Most observers caution against buying extended warranties, for three reasons.
First, the vast majority of products come with warranties that are likely sufficient for any malfunction or needed repair. An extended warranty, then, is above and beyond reasonable coverage. You’re spending double money, in a sense.
Second, products very seldom cease to work within the extended-warranty window. As a result, you’re essentially throwing money away by buying an extended warranty. You’ll never need to use it. Most products are very reliable. Yes, you will eventually have to replace that laptop. But that’s due more to new features in newer products than from any damage covered under extended warranty plans.
Third, repairs for appliances and home installations simply aren’t that expensive. It is likely to cost you less to for repairs than to have multiple extended warranties.
But, are there any circumstances when buying an extended warranty makes sense?
Yes. Here are 10 scenarios where they might make sense.
If You Have Children
Kids are great, but they don’t help you keep your household goods in stellar condition. If you’ve just bought a 64-inch plasma television, for example, kids playing with a slingshot could crack the screen. It’s not that children mean to cause damage, but play is play. Before you know it, stuff is broken or on the floor.
If You Travel a Lot
Travel wreaks havoc with appliances and other stuff. Laptops can be sat on by the person next to you. Bumpy flights may cause you to drop your phone. Checked luggage with your travel alarm can go missing. You could leave your headphones for a minute and find them missing when you return. Frequent travelers are probably wise to shell out for extended warranties.
If You’re Really Busy
Yes, regular warranties will cover repairs. But you’ll have to work a bit to get the coverage. That means time on the phone or the chat box with customer service. As we all know, that can be very time-consuming. If you usually have 90-hour weeks, it may be worth it to you to get a store’s extended warranty.
If You Have Limited Patience
Some people just don’t ever want to go through the rigmarole of customer service, for any reason. If that’s you or a partner, an extended warranty can save you aggravation. As long as you’re clear on the reason, go ahead and buy one!
If You Worry
Peace of mind is invaluable. So if you’ve just purchased something very expensive, like a set of 30 windows for your house, or entirely redone your kitchen with brand-new appliances, you might be worried about the cost of repair. It doesn’t have to be something expensive, either. If worry upsets you unduly, or keeps you awake at night, go for the extended warranty.
If You’re a Single Parent
Single parents have many demands on their time. Quality time with kids, work, balancing the checkbook, other family obligations…the list is long. As a result, again, customer service might be a bridge too far. An extended warranty might buy sorely needed time for other activities.
If You Use Things Hard
Some people use their belongings hard. Some people drop their smart phones frequently, play games on laptops until the latter smoke and kill their headphones from picking them up and throwing them down. If this applies to you, buying an extended warranty make may sense.
If You Can’t Stand to be Without
If you have electronic equipment or other items you can’t stand to be without, an extended warranty may allow you to replace them quicker than a standard one or waiting for repair. Feel you can’t work without headphones? Is life not worth living without Bluetooth? This means you.
If You’re Older
Older people, too, sometimes feel like it’s not worth it to deal with customer service. Extended warranties can offer quicker and more convenient service that takes less energy. They also may not understand the ins and outs of repair for newer appliances. Extended warranties can make their life easier.
If You Feel Like They Obtain Deluxe Service
Many people increasingly feel that you get what you pay for. A manufacturer’s warranty might not make them feel fully comfortable, or convinced that they’ll get good service for their money. If you’re in that boat, feel free to make yourself comfortable with an extended warranty.
While most financial advisers recommend against getting extended warranties, there are circumstances where they can either work better or make consumers more comfortable. If you find yourself in any of the 10 scenarios, an extended warranty might be worth it to you.