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Are extended warranties worth the cost?

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By Jason Alderman

Are these costly add-ons worth the expense or simply a sucker bet intended to boost the seller’s bottom line? It depends on whom you ask.
According to consumer watchdog organizations like the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Reports, extended warranties and service contracts often don’t make strong financial sense. However, some people find extended warranties reassuring, especially for large purchases with electronic components that can go awry and are expensive to repair or are easily broken.
Before you buy an extended warranty, do your research and consider these points:
• Does it overlap with the manufacturer’s warranty? Don’t pay twice for duplicate coverage.
• Many credit cards automatically extend the manufacturer’s warranty for up to a year on purchases — for free.
• Before purchasing, check the company’s track record with your state’s Department of Insurance, the Better Business Bureau and independent reviewers like Angie’s List.
• Service contracts might not cover specific product parts or repairs. If the terms don’t list a part or function as specifically covered, assume it’s not.


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