Are extended warranties worth buying on my computer, or would a service plan be a better choice?
Extended warranties have long been sold as an ‘insurance policy’ in case something goes wrong with your computer (or any product for that matter). As with any type of pseudo ‘insurance’ you have to weigh the risks against the cost of coverage to make an informed decision. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to this question, because your circumstances, who’s using it and the product you’re purchasing are big factors. Service or Maintenance Plans are similar in that they provide “peace of mind” and generally discounts on common tasks. Both have a measure of risk in the event you dont use them, but they are very different. Which is best for you?
What’s Actually Covered?
Focusing on what’s actually covered and what isn’t will generally help you make your decision.
In most cases, an extended warranty on a computer focuses primarily on repairing hardware or resetting the system back to the way it was when you first purchased it. The problem with this type of coverage is that the vast majority of problems experienced by computer users are software related, not hardware related, so they won’t be covered. Even if things like virus infections or operating system corruption are covered, the only option you’ll have is to wipe everything out and start over.
However, Service Plans DO cover such common issues, so odds are that you will actually be able to use a Service Plan and get a good return on your investment.
Below is a chart that shows the most common problems our customers experience and if it would be covered under an Extended Warranty or a Service Plan.
Understanding the Business Model
In our experience, the very best outcome for any service process is to have your computer look and work like it did before the service was performed. This is not the focus for service providers that are paid very little to perform services under extended warranties. They simply can’t afford to spend the time. Their focus will be to do the least amount of work necessary, which generally leaves you with something that no longer resembles ‘your computer’.
Hardware failure issues are relatively rare, which is why so many of the ‘coverage programs’ that you’ll be offered primarily focus on hardware failures or accidental damage and not the real world issues that you’ll deal with.
You and everyone you know has dealt with virus/malware issues, slow performance, etc. at a much higher rate versus having to replace the motherboard or hard drive on their computer, so in most cases, a hardware focused plan isn’t a good deal but a Service Plan most times really is a great deal!
Check out our Plans Page to see what we offer and why thousands of our clients have Service Plans!