Items you SHOULD consider extended warranties for

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Attention, shoppers! While the peace of mind that comes with the extended warranty comes at a hefty price (boosting your cost by 30% or more!), and experts generally advise against them, there are some exceptions to the rules.

Here’s what you need to know:

Failure rates

What is the failure rate of the product(s) you want to buy? If the cost of repairs is going to exceed the warranty, consider getting that extra protection.

“We do not recommend paying more than one third the sales price of an extended warranty--ever,” says Mark Kotkin, Director of Survey Research, Consumer Reports.

Among those categories with the highest failure rates (upwards of 28%): computers, refrigerators with ice makers, and certain lawnmowers.

Categories with the lowest failure rates include dryers (12%), push lawnmowers (12%), and plasma TVs (10%-15%).

Product Longevity

According to Consumer Reports, items that last the longest before needing repair tend to be: digital cameras (5+ years); home theater systems (7+ years); electric dryers (9+ years), and gas ranges (8+ years).

Your personal history

Do you lose - or damage - your phone often? In our analysis (We looked at warranties for the top three cell phone providers.), we did find Apple Care to be worth it for the iPhone (but not the laptop). It extends the initial warranty to two years, and for an extra $49, you’ll get a brand new iPhone if you do lose or damage your old one.

Accidental coverage

For those of you who can’t afford to have your laptop down, we compared the warranties for the top five laptop brands, and the bottom line is that you have to pay premium prices for protection. While there aren’t any deductibles (as there are for cell phone plans--all require a deductible of upwards of $100, depending how expensive your phone is), you’re not covered at all if you drop or damage your laptop--unless you pay an additional, costly monthly fee. While prices can vary depending on the model, you might just want the accidental coverage.

Are you already covered?

Figure out if you’re already covered. Many cards offer this protection, and it’s complimentary. Some of the higher-end cards even double the standard warranty period--at no additional cost to you. Call your credit card company, Savvy Spenders, and find out what you’ve got because there’s no point duplicating coverage! For more on extended warranties, click here

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