Woman choosing perfect electric mixer

“Would you like the extended warranty?”

“Uhhhhhhhhhhh …”

You just wanted to get some shopping done, but now it feels like you’re on the wrong end of a police investigation. And to make matters worse, the people in line behind you are staring daggers as they wait for you to hurry up and make a decision.

The decision may be easier than you think.

Extended warranties, or protection plans, can offer nice peace of mind when it comes to protecting big-ticket items, such as a refrigerator, but is it worth it? The way these warranties are pushed at the checkout line, I’d lean toward probably not. Would stores be constantly offering extended warranties if they weren’t making money off of them? Again, probably not.

I didn’t always have such a pessimistic view on extended warranties; in fact, I had the opposite. I used to always purchase the extended warranty, no matter what, because I feared the dark day when my item would break. But after many warranties unclaimed, I have been giving the idea more thought.

And usually that extra thought has led to me decide against purchasing the extended warranty.

Here are five reasons to confidently say no the next time you’re popped the question at the checkout line.

You Can Purchase It Later

Part of the warranty-induced anxiety is making the decision on the spot. I’m usually caught up in the excitement and stress of purchasing a high-value item, rather than focusing on said item breaking. The good news is that some stores allow you to come back later to add on the warranty. Policies vary, but many stores give you a grace period to add on the warranty. If you happen to make an impulse purchase, this is a great option that gives you more time to research if an extended warranty might be a good idea.

Manufacturer Warranty Could Be Enough

Since I had always purchased the extended warranty, I had never paid much attention to the separate manufacturer warranty, which was my mistake. When I’d buy the extended warranty, I’d have the convenience of being able to go back to my local store and swap out the defective item rather than the hassle of having to mail the product back to the manufacturer for an even trade.

But, just like everywhere else, convenience comes at a cost. A reason to turn down the extended warranty is if the item has a solid manufacturer warranty. So be sure to research common problems of the item you’re buying and compare them against what’s covered by the manufacturer.

It Doesn’t Cover Accidents

One of the good reasons to opt for the extended warranty, aside from the peace of mind, is if it offers accidental coverage. For me, unless the warranty provides accidental coverage, I’m not going to purchase it. (Turns out my cellphone has a higher chance to suffer from my clumsiness rather than a manufacturer defect.) So if you’re purchasing a portable item that’ll get a lot of usage, or if you know you have a tendency to drop things, make sure the warranty you purchase covers accidents. If not, just say no.

Your Credit Card May Offer a Warranty

I didn’t find out about or take advantage of the credit card point game until way too late in life – same thing with the extended warranties that some credit cards offer. As I was reading through all the benefits of the last credit card I opened, I discovered that it offers its own extended warranty: Anytime I use this card to purchase an item and the item has a manufacturer warranty of 3 years or less, the warranty is automatically extended by my credit card for an additional year.

As long as you’re able to pay off your credit card without racking up interest charges, it could be worth your while to check out the benefits your credit cards have so you can confidently deny that extended warranty.

There’s an Alternative Third-Party Warranty Available

If you want the protection of an extended warranty but the only thing holding you back is the cost, check out a third-party warranty not offered by the store, like one from Square Trade. It’s not as convenient as the store warranty, but it’s likely cheaper. Their website claims you can save 35% on phone insurance, compared to buying it through your mobile carrier. Square Trade is also a good option for purchases made through online retailers that don’t offer their own extended warranty options, such as Amazon.

Now that you know how to handle extended warranties at the store, see how a home warranty can be a good option for first-time home buyers.

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