Extended Warranties – Should I or Shouldn’t I?

When making a purchase as large and expensive as a flat-panel LCD TV, you may be considering the Extended Warranty option. Despite any qualms you might have, it may very well be a good idea to purchase one.

Although the manufacturer tries to eliminate all defects from their televisions, nothing can be 100%. Some products have complicated and brand-new technology that could fail. For example, LCD displays have several ” transistors” that can fail, which leads to pixels failing. This failure rate is usually small “0.00008% for a 1024×768 television, for example” but still present.

For this reason, manufacturing companies expect a small number of damaged pixels and don’t automatically mark it as “defective”. However, once the broken transistors are in the LCD display element, they can’t be repaired.

In most cases it is obvious if your LCD TV is damaged is when you open it, which places you well within the typical 1-year warranty most manufacturers provide. Please be aware that even if the display is fine in the beginning, after a year other problems can arise.

Tuners can malfunction, or the backlight can become dimmer. Purchasing the optional extended warranty can cover problems like this that come up long after the manufacturer’s period of coverage is over.

Think of optional extended warranties as insurance; they are indispensable service contracts that protect you from spending a huge amount of money on pricey parts and labor.

Tips on choosing an extended warranty:

*To ensure your warranty will be valid when problems arise, check out the credentials of the company that provides the warranty. Aim for a company that has been in business for a while and that has a reputation of excellence in its field. For example, Philips and Warrantech have been around for over two decades. Avoid shady companies that offer bargain-basement pricing that might have just opened recently.

*Take note that the extended warranty plans go into effect only after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. So if your television has a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer, and you purchase a 5-year extended warranty, your television will still only be covered for 5 years, not 6. There’s just a 1-year window where the warranty company should not be contacted, rather call the manufacturer when you’re experiencing problems.

Important: If you don’t purchase your television from an authorized dealer, the manufacture’s warranty is rendered null and void. Similarly, if the television has been clearly mishandled and destroyed, the extended warranty will also not apply.

*Be aware that not all LCD television makes and models are covered by extended warranty coverage. Reputable warranty providers refuse to cover products manufactured by companies that do not provide good service and make replacement parts available. Do not be swayed by Chinese- or Taiwanese-produced counterfeit products simply because they have unbelievably low prices. You’ll pay for it in the long run with astronomical repair, labor and perhaps even full replacement costs that neither the manufacturer or an extended warranty company will cover.