First of all, even if your laptop only
includes a 90-day warranty (and assuming youíve purchased a reputable
brand- name system), the chances of your laptop dying on the 91st day
are very, very slim.
Manufacturers donít offer a 90-day
warranty with the expectation that their product will malfunction
shortly thereafter. A shorter warranty is likely, at least in part, to
be a marketing ploy to push you toward an extended warranty.
All major laptop manufacturers offer a
long menu of extended warranty options, each menu item with its own
price tag. The two biggest components that factor into the cost of an
extended warranty are duration and location.
Through extended warranty, you
typically have the option to extend the duration of the standard
warranty from one to three years. The first extra year is always the
most expensive, with each subsequent year costing significantly less.
The longer the extended warranty, the better the deal.
As for location, the least expensive
extended warranties require you to ship your laptop (at your expense) to
a remote repair facility. With the most deluxe extended warranty
packages, a service technician will meet you at your own front door to
attempt the repairs. This type of coverage tends to be on the expensive
At this point, you might decide to
research manufacturer websites to determine their standard warranty
policies. Donít bother, because most laptop manufacturers donít have
standard warranty polices. Warranties vary from line to line and product
to product. Even with a particular model in mind, itís still going to
take some digging.
So how do you decide whether an
extended warranty is right for you? Your best bet is to consider your
If youíre buying a laptop as a second
computer for occasional use when you need to travel, you can probably
pass on the extended warranty and still feel relatively safe.
At the other extreme, if you use your
laptop day in and day out as your primary system, with half your life
spent in airport terminals, you should consider adding as much extended
warranty as you possibly can. Fortunately, unlike automobile warranties,
laptop warranties donít put any restriction on mileage.