Is an Extended Warranty on a TV Worth It?

Opinions on extended warranties vary wildly from “waste of money” all the way to “absolutely essential. Asking “is an extended warranty on a tv worth it” is a question that comes with several other questions, and the answer can vary a great deal depending on the TV and the owner.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Extended warranties may only be a good investment for higher-end TVs in households with more damage risk factors
  • Most damage where repairs are necessary occurs within the first year of ownership
  • Your credit card may offer an extended warranty on electronics purchases at no extra charge

Knowing what extended warranties mean from TV to TV and manufacturer to manufacturer will help you decide whether it’s an option you should consider when purchasing your top-rated TV or whether you can skip it and save yourself what can be a considerable extra cost.

Insider Tip

Most repairs, when repairs are possible, are not expensive enough to justify the cost of most plans.

What is an Extended Warranty

An extended warranty on a product generally covers accidental damage and other things not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Many extended warranties on TVs include service plans to cover repairs and sometimes replacements, and are usually sold by the vendor where you purchase your TV.

Given that the cost of an extended warranty can be considerable, understanding exactly what is provided with one and measuring that against the cost of your TV and any factors in its use that could cause premature wear or damage are essential when making the decision to invest in it.

Is It Worth It?

According to many sources and studies, the answer is generally: not really- at least for most people Consumer Reports found in one study that it’s essentially money wasted, and there’s one major reason why- most repairs, when repairs are possible, are not expensive enough to justify the cost of most plans. Consumer Reports found the median price of an electronics service plan to be $136, but that the average repair was less than $20 more than that.

Insider Tip

The median price of an electronics service plan to be $136, but that the average repair was less than $20 more than that.

Extended warranties on TVs are often offered by the vendor you’re purchasing from, and on average are about 10% the cost of the TV for one year. A 5 year warranty may seem like a better investment, but studies have found that most kinds of minor issues that require repairs happen in the first year. This may also be a great investment if you buy an expensive TV such as one that has a wide color gamut.

Lastly, though there are some extended warranties that cover the replacement of your TV, it’s uncommon, whereas damage bad enough to require replacing the entire TV are quite common- especially since repairs on major damage are often more expensive than the original cost of the TV.

Given all these factors, an extended warranty may only really make sense for a high-end, high price point model, more so still if it’s going to be used in a home where damage is more likely (lots of foot traffic, kids, pets, or other activity, or households in more extreme weather areas.) You should also consider screen size and TV weight if you wish to get an extended warranty for your TV.

Alternatives

Though extended warranties are more often than not worth the extra expense for most consumers, there is an alternative that may actually not cost you anything. Many credit cards include coverage of electronics repairs as part of your purchases, at no additional cost. Though they may not be comprehensive insurance plans, they’re often good enough to eliminate the need for an extended warranty, at no additional cost past the TV purchase price.

Warning

A 5 year warranty may seem like a better investment, but studies have found that most kinds of minor issues that require repairs happen in the first year. This may also be a great investment if you buy an expensive TV such as one that has a wide color gamut.

F.A.Q.S

What isn’t covered by an extended warranty?

It varies from vendor to vendor, but things not covered in an extended warranty can include normal wear and tear, power surges, and even accidental damage. Therefore it’s strongly advisable to always carefully go over the Terms and Conditions of any warranty you’re considering spending money on, instead of simply going by what a salesperson might say.


Should I get an extended warranty on a TV?

For most consumers, the answer will be “probably not”, for multiple reasons, including the fact that minor repairs will often be less or not significantly more than the cost of the extended warranty. Depending on risk factors and the cost of the TV, it might be worthwhile, but they should always be considered carefully and with a full understanding in writing of what’s covered.


Where can I buy an extended warranty for a TV?

The store or vendor from which you purchase your TV will usually try to sell you as you make your purchase, and most such vendors can sell you one even if you bought your TV elsewhere. Plans can also easily be found on the internet regardless of where you bought the TV.



STAT: Extended warranties on electronics is a $40 billion industry (source)

STAT: The typical cost of an extended warranty on a TV is about 10% of the price of the TV (source)

STAT: Most major damage on TVs occurs within the first year of ownership (source)

Jed Smith

I'm a musician and recording engineer and live in Queens. I have a cat. Her name is Elsa. I love to write about consumer tech and musical instruments.

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