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The truth about extended warranties

When you buy a new smartphone, tablet, computer, TV or even car stereo, it’s a given the sales person will try to sell you an extended warranty. You never know when something terrible might happen to your gadget, after all!

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While it’s no secret that extended warranties are a money-maker for stores – otherwise they wouldn’t push them so hard – does that mean they’re a bad deal for you?

Before you even consider any extended warranty, check with your credit card company. It might give you an extended warranty or extra benefits automatically when you buy with certain cards. Some cards will extend the manufacturer’s warranty another full year!

You also might want to shop around. Some stores will throw in an extended warranty or extend the factory warranty for free when you buy from them.

Companies like SquareTrade and Protect Your Bubble offer third-party warranties on electronics. These can be more comprehensive and cost less than a store’s extended warranty.

Of course, you might not even need one. Data from Consumer Reports shows that most gadgets don’t even fail during the extended warranty period.

Most manufacturing problems with a gadget will show up in the first year. If your gadget makes it through that, it often won’t hit wear and tear failures until after the extended warranty expires.

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