Third Party Extended Warranties
If you've bought a laptop, desktop, HDTV, or even video game at a major electronics retailer lately, you were probably hit up with an offer for a replacement plan. These extended warranties usually cost about 1/5 to 1/4 the total price of the product, and they're often sold on the promise that you'll be protected from both accidental damage and manufacturer defects.
For those who are leery about spending a lot of dough on a laptop, these offers sound great. But in fact, they're often a raw deal.
A warranty is nothing more than a promise made by a company to a consumer - but promises can be broken, or they can be worked around. In a perfect world, making a warranty claim would be as simple as calling up the company you bought the warranty from, telling them there was a problem, and having them immediately issue a repair, a new product, or a refund. Unfortunately, the process of making an extended warranty claim sometimes turns into a battle.
This is particularly true with extended warranties offered directly from retailers. The retailers offer those warranties to improve their profit margins, and have little interest in providing great warranty service. For example, Best Buy denied a warranty claim on an accidental protection plan when a laptop was dropped into a pool. Apparently, the accidental damage from handling warranty only covers normal accidents - whatever those are. Definitively not the best Laptop warranty!
If you do want some form of extended warranty, you should look into buying it from a company that is no involved in the purchasing process, such as SquareTrade. Extended warranties direct from the manufacturer, such as AppleCare, are also relatively painless. The best laptop warranty is that which suits your need at affordable costs!