A Fresh Look at Extended Warranties

Your tech toys are pricey and precious. What can you do to protect them?

These days we take our tablets, e-readers and smart phones with us everywhere. That means our gadgets are more liable to be damaged, lost or stolen. Is it time to rethink buying extended warranties, long thought to benefit retailers at the expense of consumers? We recently surveyed protection packages peddled at the point of purchase to see what they offer.

Pricey plans. Retailers’ extended warranties and service contracts are often expensive. Take Staples’ tablet-protection plan. When you buy the iPad-like Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for $500 and add Staples’ optional two-year service plan, which covers accidental damage from spills and drops, you’ll pay an extra $240—nearly half the cost of the tablet itself.

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Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance