Warranty extension for electronics: is the insurance worth it??

When is it worthwhile to extend the warranty on electrical appliances??

For high-quality cameras, dealers often offer a warranty extension. Whether this is worthwhile depends on the individual case

Dealers often offer extended warranties for high-quality cameras. Whether this is worthwhile depends on the individual case

N otebook, television or washing machine – some things simply cost a lot of money. Not infrequently, buyers ask themselves the question: What if the new expensive part breaks down and then costly repairs are required?

Around such hardships know also dealers. Therefore, they often offer customers an extended warranty in the form of an insurance contract. "This means that beyond the two-year statutory warranty period, the warranty is extended," explains Kai Falk of the German Retail Association (HDE).

Sounds good at first. But the extra protection is not quite cheap – and often it is not worth it either.

Warranty insurance is often not worthwhile

The lawyer Christian Solmecke from Cologne gives an example: a new laptop costs 1000 euros when purchased. Extending the warranty to five years costs around 250 euros. If the laptop breaks down after four years, many warranty contracts only replace the current value.

Insurers do not have to pay for every repair of a damaged display

"This means that in the end, a necessary repair can be more costly than the insurance reimbursement amount, despite the warranty extension," explains Solmecke.

In any case, customers should not be pressured into taking out warranty insurance, emphasizes lawyer Gerrit Cegielka from the Bremen consumer advice center. Rather, they should take their time to find out the scope of coverage beforehand. "Above all, it must be clear what happens in the event of a claim," says Cegielka.

No question, laptops are not cheap. But most of the time the warranty rights are enough

Will be repaired in any case or only if this makes economic sense? If a repair is uneconomical, will a replacement device be provided, will the current value be refunded in money, or will even just a voucher be given? "Only when the general conditions are clear, it can be estimated whether the price for the extra warranty is worthwhile."

Terms and conditions of warranty insurance

Also important: Before concluding a warranty extension, it is essential to pay attention to the General Terms and Conditions (GTC). In this, the provider often excludes certain things.

For example, damage to batteries and wearing parts is often not covered by the warranty, or only to a very limited extent. "However, it is precisely these parts that often lead to the inoperability of devices," says Solmecke.

A washing machine is one of the larger purchases. Therefore, an extended warranty may be worthwhile here

It may also happen that in case of damage, the supplier requires that the repair be carried out in an authorized repair shop. "Here, too, the consumer should weigh whether this is worth it for him in relation to the new price."

Generally speaking, "Additional, chargeable protection against product defects only makes sense if consumers intend to use a product for longer than two years and the product still has a certain market value after two years," says Cegielka.

This means that for large household appliances such as a tumble dryer, electronic appliances such as a coffee machine or expensive TV sets, an extended warranty may be considered.

Warranty insurance for small electrical appliances

In the meantime, such extra protection is also available for small electrical appliances. "For example, it is possible to buy a warranty extension for 30 euros for a Blu-ray player that costs 60 euros," Solmecke tells us. However, this usually does not pay off.

Consumers should, before they spend additional money on warranty promises, also consider that product defects usually occur relatively quickly. In the first two years, the buyer can complain about defective goods to the seller under the statutory warranty. "Manufacturers often also give free warranty services," says consumer advocate Cegielka.

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