So now for the answer to the question you came here to have answered:
Note that these recommendations are based on the idea that you've already picked a decent warranty as described previously
Always buy it:
- If you have your products professionally maintained/cleaned yearly anyway, then your plan will either pay for itself or close enough that the extra coverage makes up for the differenece.
If you're one of those people who usually doesn't buy plans because you just replace after a year or two anyway, tell me this: what do you do with the old one?
If you usually sell it, the price difference when it has a service plan can be close to the price of the plan.
- For products with a battery pack that costs nearly as much as the plan (many digital cameras, camcorders, and laptops), you are practically guaranteed to get your money back. If the replacement isn't limited to one, even more so.
- If you live in a place that's known for killing electrical appliances because of bad power, the surge protection on most plans will make it worth it for you.
If your're buying an open/used/display item and the store manager is desperate to keep his "numbers" up, you may be able to arrange a lower cost on the product as long as you buy the plan.
While most store policies prevent managers or salespeople from doing this, it doesn't always stop them from doing it if you're lucky.
Never buy it:
You may have noticed that there's a fair amount of effort and legal savvy required to get your warranty honored in some cases and to even know if a warranty is worth getting in the first place!
If you're not the kind of person that can clutch on like a pit bull on a steak, you may need to pass warranties by as a rule.
- Most retail warranties take several days to several weeks to use and that's assuming they are able to fix it the first time. If you can't be without the item for that long, don't bother with a warranty unless you can find one that offers next day service or you have a back-up product to use while you wait.
- If you don't have the time or ability to read and understand all the terms and consequences of the warranty agreement, don't buy it.
And that, as they say, is that. If you have any questions about the process, just leave them in the comments.