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Do I Really Need That Extended Warranty on My Digital Camera?

written by: Terri Cassidy•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 2/26/2009

You've finally found the digital camera you want and now the sales rep is wanting you to purchase an extended warranty for it. Are they really worth the money?

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    Do I Need an Extended Warranty?

    You've put good money out on the camera you've finally decided on. The sales rep now wants you to purchase their extended warranty plan. Before you agree to it, here are some points to consider when deciding if it really is worth the extra money.

    Most new cameras come with a manufacturer's warranty, but these are usually a "limited warranty". They're pretty basic, with coverage typically limited to one year and standard terms such as manufacturer's defects, and no coverage if there is evidence of abuse or tampering with the product, loss or neglect. Read the warranty that comes with your camera to see the complete coverage supplied and what is not covered under the original agreement. It is also a good idea to find out what your responsibilities are concerning your original warranty coverage.

    What the Extended Warranties are offering range from one to three years of coverage that can either start on the date of purchase and will run concurrently with the manufacturer's warranty (which means there is an overlapping of coverage) or starts after the manufacturer's original warranty expires. It can be supplied by the retailer, a third party provider or the manufacturer itself. The cost of this extended warranty will depend on the price of the camera you purchased, how long the coverage will last as well as where you purchase your camera. Each retailer will offer a different extended warranty plan which will affect the cost depending on who is actually providing this service and what is being offered.

    One of the questions you should ask yourself is how long do you intend to keep the particular camera you've purchased. If it's just an inexpensive point and shoot, and you've purchased it for a specific reason and don't intend to keep it long, you may not want to buy the extended warranty. Check the Terms & Conditions though, because some offer a transfer option. This can be a nice selling feature if your plan is to sell the camera within a short period of time. If it's a more expensive point and shoot or DSLR camera, you may wish to purchase the extended warranty to protect your investment.

    Please continue on to page 2 to find out what options to look for when considering an Extended Warranty Plan.

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    Do I Need an Extended Warranty? Digital Camera Buying GuideHow many times have you purchased an extended warranty, only to find that you never needed it, or that it didn't cover what you hoped for? On page two of this digital camera buying guide, learn what different warranty terms mean and find out if you really need to spend the extra money on an extended warranty.
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    Extended Warranty Options Available

    If you do decide to purchase the extra warranty offered for piece of mind, consider some of these options and check out different retailers to see what their plan covers. It might help you decide where you want to purchase your camera to maximize the best coverage possible.

    • Parts and Labour Guarantee. Will the warranty cover parts and labour, or just one or the other? What parts will it cover? Lenses can be costly and may not be covered and it's best to know this up front so there are no surprises if something does happen.
    • Power Surge Protection. If you have your battery charger plugged in to recharge your batteries and a power surge happens, it can render your batteries completely useless. Not a big deal if they're the inexpensive type but if they're the more costly type, like those found in DSLR's, you might want this coverage.
    • No Lemon Policy. If your camera has been repaired a specified number of times for the same problem it can be replaced under the terms of the policy.
    • Transferable. This allows the policy to be transferred to a new owner should you decide to sell your camera before the warranty period is up. This, as mentioned before, can be a great selling feature. Check your policy to see if there is a transfer fee involved.
    • Replacement Guarantee. If your camera takes longer to repair than a specified number of days it can be replaced under the terms of the policy.
    • Accessory Coverage. This will provide coverage for certain accessories outlined in the policy. A list is usually provided, so be sure to read what is covered and what is not.
    • Global Coverage. If you are out of the country and your camera needs repairs, this option will cover the costs involved. It is usually available on a limited basis, and you may have to pay for the repairs up front and submit receipts for reimbursement upon prior authorization.
    • Cancellation Policy. If you decide you no longer want the extra warranty you can cancel your policy for a full or pro-rated refund, depending on how long ago you purchased the camera.
    • Price Protection. If the camera you purchased drops in price within a set period of time you may be able to claim the difference between what you paid and the new price.

    This list is certainly not all the options that are available. Policies vary from state to state and province to province so be sure to read the policy in full so you know what is covered and, most importantly, what it will not cover, so there are no surprises. The ultimate decision is up to you and whether you feel it's worth the extra money to invest in an Extended Warranty.