Extended Warranties

What is an extended warranty?

Written by Gail Bjork

When you buy a camera you will almost certainly be offered the option of buying an extended warranty. Find out if purchasing one makes sense.

fineprintExtended warranties continue the protection offered by the manufacturer’s original warranty for one or more years. Warranty prices vary according to what you paid for a camera, length of the plan and type of coverage and deductible.

Digital camera extended warranties are sold by independent repair shops, camera dealers and sometimes the manufacturer. The warranty typically must be bought at the time of camera purchase or within a given time frame, usually 30 days, after the purchase date.

Proof of camera and warranty purchases are required to get service, so save sales slips and the warranty contract.

What extended warranties do and do not cover

Warranties generally cover parts and labor costs resulting from a mechanical or electrical failure of the camera caused by defects in workmanship and/or materials. Some parts however, such as the lens and LCD, may be excluded. Extended warranties generally do not cover damage due to accident, loss, misuse, tampering or improper care.

Costs of extended warranties

Prices of extended warranties vary according to length of the warranty, the original price of the camera and type of coverage. For example, a three year warranty of an inexpensive digital camera can cost about $25 U.S. For a professional digital single lens reflex camera, a three year extended warranty can cost $250 and more.

If a warranty has a deductible, make sure you can live with it.

Obtaining service under an extended warranty

To obtain service, you bring or mail the camera to an authorized location. If repair is made in a foreign country, you may have to pay for the repair and later submit the bill to the warranty company for reimbursement.

Renewals and transfers

Most warranties can be renewed or transferred to a new owner, though there may be a transfer fee.

Should you buy an extended warranty for your digital camera?

Only you can decide!

Keep in mind that most problems with a digital camera become evident before the original warranty runs out. Two main factors in deciding whether or not to buy an extended warranty are the price you paid for the camera and how long you expect to keep it.

Before purchasing an extended warranty, ask lots of questions. Read the fine print. Find out what is, and is not, covered under the plan. Comparison shop, get the coverage you need and be certain to buy from a reputable company.

Be sure to find out what happens if a repair company deems your camera “not economical to repair.”

Some large electronic stores offer their own extended warranties at the time you purchase a camera. The advantage is that you can bring the camera to the store instead of shipping it out to an authorized dealer. Still, they can be costly, so weigh all the pros and cons.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.