Should you buy an extended warranty with your laptop? You may not want to think about it now, but sooner or later, something is going to go wrong with your laptop. When it does happen, the main question will be who gets stuck with the bill, you or the maker.

The standard (free) garauntee on a new laptop usually runs around the 90 day  mark. That probably doesn’t seem like alot when you consider how long you expect to own your laptop. What happens when your laptop busts on the 91st day?

First of all, even if your laptop only includes a 90-day warranty (and assuming you’ve purchased a well known brand - name system), the chances of your computer dying on the 91st day are very, very slim.

Manufacturers don’t offer a 90-day warranty with the expectation that their item will malfunction shortly thereafter. A shorter warranty is likely, at least in part, to be a sales gimmick to push you towards an extended warranty.

All major laptop manufacturers offer a long menu of extended warranty options, each menu item with its own price tag. The two biggest components that factor into the cost of an extended warranty are duration and locality.

Through extended warranty, you  have the option to extend the duration of the standard warranty from one to three years or even five in some cases. The first extra year is always the most expensive, with each subsequent year costing significantly less. The longer the extended warranty, the better the deal.

As for location, the least expensive extended warranties require you to post your laptop (at your expense) to a remote repair facility. With the most deluxe extended warranty packages, a service technician will meet you at your own front door to attempt the repairs. This type of coverage tends to be on the dear side.

At this point, you might decide to go online and check out each manufacturers websites to determine their standard garauntee policies. Don’t bother, because most laptop manufacturers don’t have standard garuantee polices. Warranties vary from line to line and product to product. Even with a particular model in mind, it’s still going to take some digging.

So how do you decide whether an extended garuantee is right for you? Your best option is to consider your anticipated usage:

If you’re buying a laptop as a second computer for occasional use when you need to travel, you can probably pass on the extended warranty and still feel relatively safe.

At the other extreme, if you use your laptop day in and day out as your major system, with half your life spent in airport terminals, you should consider adding as much extended warranty as you possibly can. Fortunately, unlike car warranties, laptop warranties don’t put any restriction on mileage.

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