Best Extended Warranties for Electronics
If you’re like the average American household and spend $600 a year on electronics, you’ve probably been offered an electronics extended warranty or service plan. These are intended to protect your new device if it is damaged or if it malfunctions. Protection plans can range from $10 to $150 or more depending on the value of your electronics. When should you buy an extended warranty, and when is it OK to skip it?
Compare Reviews for Top Electronics Extended Warranty Companies
|Asurion||Read 20419 Reviews|
Asurion provides insurance and troubleshooting solutions for consumers. Asurion’s mobile phone protection program includes comprehensive coverage against damage, malfunction loss and theft as well as next-day replacement.
|SquareTrade||Read 1481 Reviews|
SquareTrade was founded in 1999 and is one of the leading providers of after-market electronics extended warranties. Their plans cover accidental damage and malfunctions or a wide variety of consumer electronics.
|Assurant Phone Insurance||Read 481 Reviews|
In business since 2004, Assurant Phone Insurance offers tablet and smartphone insurance across North and South America and Europe. Pocket Geek, the company’s app, provides helpful data on your device’s performance and security.
|Consumer Priority Service||Read Expert Review|
Founded in 1990, Consumer Priority Service is an international extended warranty service company. Its plans include Extended, In-Home Extended, Date of Purchase, Accidental Damage and OEM Parts and Labor.
|ElectronicWarranty.com||Read Expert Review|
ElectronicWarranty.com is a third-party electronics extended warranty provider based in Dallas, Texas. Its standard date of purchase warranties cover parts and labor for mechanical and electrical problems during normal use.
|iConnectProtect||Read Expert Review|
iConnectProtect is an electronics extended warranty company that covers all your home’s electronic devices under one subscription plan. It covers mechanical and electrical defects as well as power surge and accidental damage.
|Mack Worldwide Warranty||Read Expert Review|
Mack Worldwide Warranty is an extended and date of purchase warranty management company. Its warranties are available at authorized retailers and cover repairs and labor for three, five or seven years.
|ProtectionPlace||Read Expert Review|
ProtectionPlace is an online electronics extended warranty retailer. It offers parts and labor and accidental damage protection plans for most home electronics. Plans range from two to five years and from $1 to $10 a month.
Questions to ask before buying an electronics extended warranty
What coverage would you have without it?
Depending on what you’re buying, you may already have sufficient coverage without adding on an extended warranty.
- Standard manufacturer warranty: Almost every electronic device purchase includes a standard warranty that tends to cover the product for 60 days to a year. For instance, a new SLR camera may have a one- or two-year warranty against manufacturer defects. Some standard warranties only cover manufacturer defects while others cover accidental damage as well.
- Registered product coverage: Some manufacturers will extend your standard coverage if you register your product online or via mail.
- Credit card coverage: In some cases, credit card companies will extend warranty coverage on your major purchases. Some cards add a year to the original warranty, which can cover the same time period as an extended warranty.
- Retailer guarantees: Many electronics retailers stand by their products and will replace them if they malfunction due to defects in workmanship or materials. Typically you can just take it back to the store if it doesn’t work within a standard period, usually 60 to 90 days. That’s more than enough time to notice most defects.
What's in the warranty’s fine print?
Federal law requires sellers to show you the actual warranty, and you should take your time and read the fine print.
- What’s the coverage period?: Make sure the coverage period is clearly stated. Note whether coverage begins when you buy the item or after the original manufacturer warranty expires.
- What’s covered?: Some protection plans only cover malfunctions and don’t cover accidental damage. Since a device is more likely to be damaged from you stepping on it or spilling your drink on it than it is to go on the fritz because of a manufacturing defect, a warranty that covers accidental damage is more helpful.
- What will the company do?: If you submit a claim, the company might replace your product or repair it. Find out if you’ll have to pay to ship the product to them (this can be pricey if the item is large or fragile). If they have to replace it, find out if they use new or refurbished products as the replacement; refurbished replacements can sometimes cause more problems than they solve.
- Can you transfer the warranty?: If you give the item as a gift or sell it to someone else, be sure you can put the warranty under their name so that the item will still be covered. Some plans are transferable and allow you to do this but most aren’t, which means you could lose the money that you put into the extended warranty.
Is the coverage period long enough?
Some electronics extended warranties don’t last long enough to be helpful. Get your money’s worth with a warranty that lasts, and watch out for these pitfalls:
- Overlaps with your manufacturer warranty: If your extended warranty begins on your purchase date, it will take effect at the same time as the standard manufacturer warranty. As long as your manufacturer's warranty is in effect, most extended warranty companies require you to file a claim with the manufacturer first if there’s a problem. In other words, you won't get much use out of an overlapping Date of Purchase warranty. You're better off with an extended warranty that begins on the day your manufacturer warranty expires.
- Only lasts a few years: Electronics these days are well-made, but most electronics extended warranties don’t last long. Your electronic device is unlikely to stop working because of manufacturer defects in one or two years, so a helpful extended warranty should last several years (five or seven is ideal).
- Doesn’t cover the life of your device: Think about how soon you’ll replace the device even if nothing is wrong with it; many people get a new smartphone every couple of years, but you’ll probably keep something like a television or high-quality camera much longer. Look for an extended warranty that will last at least as long as you plan on keeping your device.
How much does the plan cost?
Do a little cost-benefit analysis to see if a protection plan is worth the price.
- Cost of repairs: Many service plans cost as much as you would end up spending on a covered repair, or even more. Since most people don’t end up needing repairs and using the warranty they paid for, it’s not likely that you’ll see a return on your investment for smaller items.
- Value of your electronic device: An extended warranty on a relatively inexpensive electronic device is probably not a great use of your money. But it might be worth the cost for an expensive item like a computer.
- Watch out for price gouging: Some electronics extended warranties are just too expensive to be worth the cost; some are a full 25 percent of the item’s value. Shop around for an extended warranty that is reasonably priced compared to the cost of your device.
Are you likely to make a claim on the warranty?
Depending on how likely your specific type of electronic device will be to need repairs, electronics extended warranties are a good bet for some electronics but may be a waste of money for others.
- Televisions: Between 3 and 7 percent of TVs fail in the first four years, so 93 to 97 percent of new TV owners are unlikely to use an extended warranty.
- Cameras: Cameras including point-and-shoot and SLRs have repair rates between 5 and 8 percent, meaning 92 to 95 percent of people will not need to use an extended warranty on their new camera.
- Gaming consoles: The failure rate for gaming consoles depends on the particular brand. For example, the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox have failure rates between 3 and 6 percent.
- Computers: Personal computers including laptops, desktops and notebooks have a pretty high repair rate: 24 percent. An extended warranty for a computer might make sense, especially if you’re rough on your computers.
- Smartphones: People use smartphones more than any other electronic device, so it makes sense that they break most often. Between 30 and 50 percent of smartphones are damaged or broken. However, the cost of a smartphone extended warranty is often around the same cost as replacing the phone, so this one is usually a wash.
Will it give you peace of mind?
Some people feel better with an electronics extended warranty, especially if it means they won’t have to worry what will happen if they damage the product.
- Are you prone to accidents?: If you routinely forget to take your smartphone out of your pocket before jumping in the pool, or if you tend to knock your laptop off your desk, you might feel better knowing you have an extended warranty. Be sure the one you sign up for includes accidental damage protection.
- Do you want ongoing support?: Some companies offer ongoing technical support if you buy an extended warranty, which can be especially helpful for those who are not very tech-savvy and need extra guidance.
Types of electronics extended warranties
Many retailers like Best Buy will offer an electronics protection plan when you buy a product. You can also get service plans from stores like Apple or AT&T.
Third party warranties
Some third party companies offer electronics extended warranties. These are often more affordable than retailer warranties.
Date of Purchase
This type of warranty begins on the day you purchase your device and runs concurrently with any manufacturer warranty. These tend to cover parts and labor for damage from mechanical failure. Since this coverage is often already included in a manufacturer warranty, read closely to see if the date of purchase warranty offers any additional benefits to make it worth the cost.
This type of extended warranty is basically an extension of your product’s manufacturer warranty after the original warranty expires. It guarantees your product against manufacturer or workmanship defects for a specific period of time. Depending on the warranty, the company may replace or repair your device at their discretion.
This type of warranty covers repair services in your home for large appliances or electronics that can’t be shipped to a repair center.
This type of plan covers unintentional damage caused by things like drops or spills. Typically it doesn’t cover damage caused by misuse or neglect, and that can be open to the warranty company’s interpretation. Read these types of warranties carefully; some say that drops above six feet don’t count, or if your product is “fully submerged” in water it won’t be covered.
OEM Parts and Labor
This type of warranty means that you send your device back to the manufacturer for repair, which ensures that you get OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts and labor from the experts. Otherwise, your device might be repaired with parts from a third party.
Consider whether you need an electronics extended warranty
Do you often damage your electronics?
If you often break your electronics, you might want a service plan that covers accidental damages.
Do you make high-dollar purchases?
If you spend a lot of money on high-end electronics, it can give you peace of mind to know that you’re protected if it malfunctions or if you damage it.
Do you buy expensive computers?
If you are purchasing an expensive computer, laptop or tablet, an extended warranty or protection plan can be a good way to protect your investment and provide you with ongoing technical support.
Do you have a business that relies on electronics?
You may want to purchase protection plans for your devices if your business relies on keeping them in working order.
Electronics extended warranty expert reviews
SquareTrade began offering electronics extended warranties in 1999, and is now one of the leading providers. The company has millions of customers and has won numerous awards for its plans and customer service.
iConnectProtect provides coverage of all your household’s electronic devices under one plan. It is managed by Centricity and based in St. Petersburg, Florida.
- What’s covered?: iConnectProtect’s plan covers TVs, laptops, wearable electronics, headphones, home theater equipment, tablets, desktop computers, cameras, gaming equipment and more.
- Protection details: This service plan covers mechanical and electrical breakdown of your devices and damage resulting from power surges. It also covers accidental damage from things like dropping or spilling liquid on your device.
- 24/7 customer support: You can call, email or chat online with iConnectProtect representatives for help with your plan and billing or to make a claim on your warranty.
- Payment structure: iConnectProtect charges a monthly fee that covers all of your electronics, regardless of how many you own. There is a service fee associated with each claim.
- Service methods: If you need to make a claim on a damaged device, the company may repair or replace it or reimburse you for the value of the device. Depending on the device and your location, it may be serviced at your home or you may be asked to take it or ship it to a service center.
- Best for: people with many electronic devices they’d like covered by a warranty.
Consumer Priority Service (CPS) was founded in 1990 as an electronics repair center. Today it is an international extended warranty service company with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. Its plans cover both electronics and appliances.
- Service plan options: Consumer Priority Service has several service plans for you to choose from, including Extended, In-Home Extended, Date of Purchase, Accidental Damage and OEM Parts and Labor.
- Award-winning: In 2014, Consumer Priority Service won a Stevie Award for the Best Use of Technology in Customer Service.
- Retailers: You can purchase a CPS warranty at a participating retailer or internet affiliate. For example, Sam’s Club and eBay both offer warranties through CPS.
- Transferable: CPS warranties are transferable in the event you sell or give away your device. You pay a $25 transfer fee.
- International coverage: All CPS warranties are international. You can ship a defective device to a service center or find one near you. There are no additional fees for servicing your device internationally.
- Best for: people who shop at CPS authorized retailers.
ElectronicWarranty.com is a third party electronics and appliances extended warranty provider and part of the Extended Warranty Group in Dallas, Texas. You can purchase an item at any retailer and then purchase an extended warranty through this company at a reduced price. It provides date of purchase warranties to cover parts and labor on covered repairs.
- Cost and warranty periods: The cost of the warranty and the available warranty period depends on the item you want covered and how much you spent on it. For instance, you can cover a $1,500 laptop with warranties ranging from a $215, three-year repair warranty to a $432, four-year repair and accidental damage warranty. Check the company’s website for an instant quote.
- Covered items: ElectronicWarranty.com covers new items purchased within the past 90 days. Covered devices include iPods/MP3s, appliances, cameras or camcorders, computers, home and car video and audio equipment and gaming systems.
- Warranty provisions: ElectronicWarranty.com covers parts and labor for mechanical and electrical damage that occurs during normal use. If you want coverage for drops or spills, you’ll need to add Accidental Damage coverage. All repairs must be done at an authorized service provider.
- In-home service: If your items are too large to take to an authorized repair provider, the company will send a repair person to your home. This can be helpful for appliances, wide-screen TVs and desktop computers.
- Transferrable: If you sell or gift your item during the warranty period, you can transfer the remaining warranty to the new owner. This can increase your item’s resale value.
- Best for: people who want to purchase a date of purchase repair warranty.
ProtectionPlace is an online platform where consumers can buy and manage extended warranties. Its plans cover most electronic devices and last two to five years. It is managed by The Warranty Group (TWG), which provides extended warranty policies for cars, electronics and appliances and was founded in 1964.
- Devices covered: At ProtectionPlace, you can buy coverage for your tablet, television, laptop, desktop, digital camera, printer, gaming consoles and portable electronics.
- Instant online quotes: Simply input your device type, purchase price and preferred coverage and you’ll see an instant quote for a monthly rate.
- Coverage periods and rates: ProtectionPlace offers two-, three- and four-year warranties on most products with five-year options on televisions. Plan rates range from less than a $1 to about $10 per month, depending on the type of device and its purchase price.
- Covered repairs: ProtectionPlace covers mechanical and electrical breakdown and power surge protection. You can add accidental damage protection to some plans for an added fee.
- Repair procedure: ProtectionPlace will cover your shipping and return costs to send your product to its authorized repair facility.
- Best for: people who need parts and labor and accidental damage extended warranties for electronics.
Mack Worldwide Warranty manages extended and date of purchase warranties. You can purchase their warranties at authorized retailers when you purchase certain electronic devices, then contact Mack to register your warranty and make claims if needed.
- Devices covered: Mack warranties cover many types of electronics, including cameras, laptops, PDAs, televisions, audio equipment, gaming equipment, portable electronics and more. They also cover small and major appliances.
- Extended or date of purchase: Most of this company’s warranties begin the day your manufacturer warranty ends, but there are a few exceptions. Three-year, five-year and seven-year camera; seven-year lens; and five-year digital still warranties begin on the date of purchase.
- Coverage: Mack Worldwide Warranties cover repairs and labor. It does not cover damage from accidents, liquids, grit, impact or improper care or use.
- Obtaining service: Most equipment must be mailed to Mack’s repair center in Springfield, New Jersey. If you live in the area, you can take it there yourself to save the shipping.
- Dealers: Warranties through Mack Worldwide must be purchased when you buy a new eligible device at authorized retailers.
- Best for: people who want extended or date of purchase warranties and who purchase electronics at authorized retailers.
Assurant Phone Insurance offers phone and tablet insurance through providers in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina and Italy. It offers a wide range of plans that cover device protection, data restoration and technical support.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.