Should you get the extended warranty for your computer?

Most warranties are 1 year for new computers.  But, should you cover your computer for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year?  Desktops are able to be fixed for a reasonable computer service charge since most of the parts are easily swappable.  However, laptop fixes are usually more expensive since everything is compartmentalized.  What does that mean? 

Usually, everything is connected to the motherboard on a laptop.  So, if your video card, sound, usb port, or power are dead, more times than not, you cannot just replace those individual parts since they are integrated on the motherboard.  So, the only fix you can perform is to replace the motherboard to get your laptop up and running again.  A laptop motherboard can cost $350 – $850 depending on the model.  So, based on that premise, it makes reasonable sense to splurge on at least the 2nd year and preferably the 3rd year of hardware warranty for your laptop.  Each additional year on the warranty will cost app. $100 – 150.

Another route you may try is to see if your credit card will cover additional years on computer equipment.  For instance, American Express has an offer to double your equipment warranty.  With AMEX, if you purchase a computer with their card, and say you purchase a 1 year warranty, they’ll double it to 2 so the 2nd year is on them. 

In sum, we recommend 2-3 years of hardware warranty on laptops, and for desktops you can get by with a 1-year warranty with a low-end one.  Obviously, if you purchased a rocket ship of a desktop, you might want to add a couple of years warranty to support it and its expensive parts.

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