TV's Answer Man
Should I Buy an Extended Warranty For a TV?
Washington, D.C. (February 3, 2013) --
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Q. My friend just
bought a 60-inch TV for around $1,200 and the store told him he
should get the extended warranty for an extra $150. He did. Was
that a good move? -- Mickey, Prince Frederick, Maryland.
Short answer: No!
For years, electronics stores have boosted their profits by
selling extended warranties to TV shoppers, sometimes using fear
to make people think their sets will fall apart the day after
the manufacturer's warranty expires.
But it's not a good deal for the consumer and here's five good
1. Nearly every TV set comes with a one-year warranty on parts
and a multiple-month warranty on labor. If the set is a lemon --
ready to collapse into a thousand pieces with a single touch --
you'll find out shortly after you bring it home. And if that
happens, your manufacturer's warranty will cover any repairs.
2. Some credit cards will extend a product's warranty for an
extra year for free. Check with your credit card company before
buying a store's extended warranty.
3. TVs, even today's sleeker flat-screen sets, are built to
last. The number of sets that need repairs in the first few
years are estimated to be around five percent. That's not a high
number. And, as we just noted, if your set does need a repair in
the first year or two, it's likely it will be covered by your
manufacturer's warranty plus your credit card's warranty
4. Most TVs are priced under $1,000 and the extended warranty,
which often covers repairs up to three years, usually costs from
10 to 20 percent of the purchase price. So let's look at the
Let's say you need a repair in slightly less than three years
and you spent an extra $100 to $200 for the extended warranty to
cover that repair. Well, the price of any specific TV model
starts to fall as soon as you buy it. So the chances are good
that your original set now costs roughly 50 percent of its
original price. In other words, you could buy your TV now for
around $500. But you may have already shelled out $100 to $200
to fix a nearly three-year-old set. When you consider that only
about five percent of sets need repairs in the first few years,
that just doesn't make much
5. Some warranties come with fine print that let the retailer
off the hook. For example, if your set has a pixelation problem
or a screen cracks, it may not be covered.
Those are five good reasons NOT to buy an extended warranty for
Now I'll give you one for why it MAY be a good reason to buy
If you're buying a very expensive set -- let's say one that
exceeds $3,000 or more in price -- it might be worth getting an
extended warranty if the warranty is not too expensive itself.
If you can get the warranty for 10 percent or less of the
purchase price, it might be worth it for your peace of mind.
After all, even with depreciating set prices, a $3,000 TV will
still cost around $1,500 in three years or so. So, again, for
peace of mind, you might want to consider paying $300 (or less!)
to cover any possible repairs.
But before you do, make sure the warranty is comprehensive --
and be sure your credit card company doesn't already offer the
extension as part of your policy.
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