11 Types of People Who Should Buy the Extended Warranty


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An extended warranty might seem like a sensible insurance plan for products such as electronics and appliances, but the reality is, they're usually not worth the money. Still, an extended warranty or protection plan may be a completely rational purchase for certain kinds of people. Before confronting a shattered smartphone screen or cracked pair of sunglasses, consider whether an extended warranty might make sense for you. Just be sure to read the fine print.

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Even the most responsible of parents can't avoid the biggest threat to their belongings: wild, rambunctious kids. Sure, kids enjoy peacefully watching movies on that new LED TV. But they also enjoy careening around the house like bulls in a china shop. Parents who buy "kidsurance" might sleep a bit easier knowing their TVs are covered.

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Most products don't break down within the timeframe covered by extended warranties, according to Consumer Reports. But don't expect this rule of thumb to apply to products owned by klutzes who couldn't keep a smartphone screen intact if their lives depended on it. For the terminally clumsy, an extended warranty is probably a smart purchase.

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If a TV breaks down a month after purchase, chances are the manufacturer's warranty will cover it. But that process might entail hours on the phone with a customer service rep. Extended warranties, on the other hand, often have a "no questions asked" policy on returns and replacements, so they're probably worth the investment for those who would rather hand over some cash than spend an hour on hold.

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Past a certain age, people just don't want to spend time fixing broken appliances or talking to customer service reps. And for seniors, getting things fixed or replaced might take a whole lot of energy that could have been spent on other things. Extended warranties can eliminate all the hard work, so precious energy can be spent on enjoying the golden years.

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Headphones are fragile enough to break if they're yanked, soaked, stepped on, or played too loudly. And the risk increases during kinetic activities, like biking or hiking. Audiophiles might argue that cheap drugstore-variety headphones are unacceptable for listening to music, but then again, so is dropping $200 on earbuds only to snag them in a bike wheel. Play it safe: Consider the extended warranty when dropping serious money on headphones.

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Buying an extended warranty is usually unwise. But it's also unwise to worry so much about your stuff breaking that it becomes a burden to own nice things at all. More than anything, worriers need peace of mind. An extended warranty could be the first step in that direction.

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Frequent travelers share a common problem: Their belongings tend to take a beating. Sometimes it's because they're backpacking in the mountains, and sometimes it's just because airport baggage handlers are careless. Either way, an extended warranty could be a lifesaver if a holiday junket results in a broken laptop or smartphone.

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People deal with anger in different ways. Some bottle it up inside, consult therapists, or talk it out with friends. Others hurl their smartphones against pavement. For those in that group, extended warranties are probably a rational investment. Depending on the type of coverage, it might even be kind of cathartic to launch that chirping phone into oblivion. There are healthier ways of dealing with anger, of course, but rest assured: This is an option.

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If "leveling up" is a major priority in your life, consider getting an extended warranty on your computer and gaming gear. The more a component is used, the more likely it is to break down. Even a high-end gaming mouse with a 20-million-click life span conks out eventually, and an extended warranty could get you back on the battlefield for less money.

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Many single parents are pressed for time and energy. And even though many are also pressed for money, the initial outlay for an extended warranty might be easier to manage than an unexpected hit to the budget down the road. When appliances break down, replacing or fixing them won't be as much of an ordeal, especially with no partner to help deal with the crisis. In the end, time saved and headaches dodged can amount to a fortune.

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Investing in home gym equipment can save a fortune over the long term by eliminating gym membership fees. But if an elliptical machine breaks down after the manufacturer's warranty expires, hiring a technician to come repair it is expensive. Gym equipment tends to go through exceptional wear and tear, so an extended warranty could make fiscal -- and physical -- sense.