Feeling Lucky? Why Extended Warranties are a Gamble
Tired of being asked by the cashier at Best Buy if you want to buy an extended warranty? Seems like they want to sell you a warranty on everything they sell even inexpensive, disposable products like headphones or printers.
My clients often ask me if they should buy an extended warranty. My answer is always this: purchasing an extended warranty is a gamble. You’re placing a bet that the item you’re insuring will fail sometime during the warranty period which is usually 2-3 years. If the device fails during this period, then you win the bet and the cost of the warranty is justified. However, if it doesn’t fail (which most modern electronics don’t) then you lost your bet and your money is gone with nothing to show for it except for maybe some piece of mind.
My advice is that if you’re that worried about a device failing within 3 years you probably shouldn’t buy it in the first place. However, if you buy it anyway, why not take the cost of the warranty and instead put that money into a savings account? In that scenario, you have money to fix the item if it breaks, and best of all if nothing goes wrong you still have your money. Seems like a much better strategy to me particularly over the long run.
Now, there are some exceptions to this rule. The biggest being accidental damage. Most modern electronics are portable, small, and light but not durable. If you are hard on your electronics then purchasing a warranty that includes accidental damage, loss, or theft protection may make financial sense. These exceptions notwithstanding, I still lean towards passing on all extended warranties in general.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Hopefully, I gave you new some things to think about when making your decision.