There are many adjectives that can be used to describe my spending habits: thrifty, frugal, cautious, modest, or as I like to say, smart. But there is something I always make sure to purchase when it comes to major electronics or gadgets – the longest extended warranty available with accidental damage protection. I haven’t ever had to use these warranties except for when it comes to laptops. I have owned four laptops, one dell and three HP. I am about to own my fifth laptop – and I have only purchased three laptops my entire life – thanks to these warranties.
I am not accident prone with anything I own, and haven’t had terrible experiences hand down lessons I had to learn the hard way. But I am a worrier. For me, my laptop is similar to how some people think of their smart phones. My entire life is on it: my writing, my work (I own my own business, so this means my financial wellbeing), personal stuff, pictures, etc. so if anything happened, whether it be something just stops working or I dropped my computer or spilled something, I have no idea what I would do. The answer: purchase a warranty to make me not worry about any of this.
So how do you make a worrier not worry? I just purchased the longest and most inclusive warranty offered: 4 years extended warranty with accidental damage protection. I have never actually had to use the accidental damage aspect before (well there was this one time with my ex-boyfriend’s new puppy, but that was on my power supply cord, not the actual computer – and that was the only time) but I never have to worry about the what ifs. If I (or someone else) spill something… no big. If I drop it – it will be all right. Some people have teased me for paying a couple hundred dollars for peace of mind, but peace of mind of all things is priceless and I never hesitate when it comes to buying that warranty.
For example, let’s say I buy a laptop for $2000 (I always customize my laptops). I look at it as an investment, and I expect to keep it for a minimum of four years (the same duration as the longest warranty). I might pay another $350 for this warranty, but combining them both, I am still only paying less than $600 a year for it ($587.50 to be exact). And for something as big of a deal as this that is all right.
Whenever I purchase a computer, I make sure to pimp it out to suit my needs. I don’t care so much about graphics, but things like memory, its processor, hard drive, and operating system – I am not afraid to upgrade. For me, it isn’t just about what I need right now, but what I might need in three years (because again, I’m keeping it for a minimum of four years). This is to ensure the warranty pays off, so when all is said and done, after the cost of the warranty I am spending between $500 and $600 a year. This is a lot of money (again I am frugal with a capital F) but I have to say that for the last six years it has more than paid off.
I last bought a laptop in December 2007 from HP and purchased the 4-year extended warranty with accidental damage protection. I did so, just so I wouldn’t have to worry, no big deal… but then in June 2011 the part that you plug the AC adapter into (in the computer, not the one on the wall) no longer worked. I figured it would be like any other time when something failed (extended warranties are totally worth it since I have had to replace a few hard drives and other random parts with the warranty – just because they stopped working) – I would send it in, they would repair it and then they would send it back.
Except there was a problem in this case – they no longer made the computer, and didn’t have any compatible parts for the computer I had. When I was told this I remember thinking “Crap, what are they going to do?” But before I could verbalize such a question they told me what they intended to do… I was getting a brand new computer.
At first I couldn’t believe it. Because a part that should have been a cheap and easy fix could not be repaired because they no longer made anything compatible I was just getting a brand new machine – just like that. I felt I scored on a majorly sweet deal. My new computer was definitely an upgrade too. They matched what would be the ‘equivalent’ to my machine and what I received was a lighter, more compact laptop (I didn’t like of this as a perk at the time, but it SO is) – a 14 inch screen when I had a 17 inch screen before, and went from a 120GB hard drive to a 500GB hard drive, and 2 gigs of DDR RAM to 6 gigs of DDR RAM.
Because this was a ‘trade-in’ that my warranty allowed I couldn’t upgrade anything, but why argue when it is a brand new (and much better) computer for free! I didn’t. But I was worried about one thing: my warranty. I wanted to be able to purchase a new warranty because again, peace of mind. HP seemed surprised, but didn’t have a problem with it (after all it is the only money they would be getting on this transaction 😉 ) and I spent $350 on another 4-year extended warranty with accidental damage protection.
And then last week, oops – my computer did it again. This time it is the CD/DVD drive, but again they no longer have something compatible, so I am once again getting a brand new computer, which is again quite the upgrade. This time I am going from 6 gigs of DDR RAM to 12 gigs, getting a 750GB hard drive and the computer is just overall better technology. And again, it is completely free because of that $350 I spent on that warranty. (And I have had to get a few replacement parts in the last year so those parts alone already paid for the warranty – this is just gravy.)
I am totally psyched about my new computer and can’t wait to receive it (which will be at the end of August or beginning of September). Once I receive it, guess what the first thing I am going to do will be?
Buy another warranty! 🙂