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What Is a TV Extended Warranty?

Get Optional Protection for a HDTV with a TV Extended Warranty

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Wouldn't it be great if you could buy something like a TV extended warranty -- also known as a TV service plan -- for relationships?

Think about it. Heartache wouldn't last as long because when the relationship broke you'd be eligible to get a replacement just so long as you had an extended warranty. The extended warranty could make it that much easier to dive into the next relationship. If only.

The reality is that you can't but an extended warranty for a relationship. You can, however, buy an extended warranty for a TV.

What Is a TV Extended Warranty?

A TV extended warranty is a fixed-price insurance policy for a television that is usually sold at the same time the TV is purchased. It's purpose is to provide financial protection for you -- the consumer -- in the event that your expensive, new HDTV breaks.

In addition to TVs, other electronic components, like a Blu-ray disc player or video game system, usually have some sort of extra protection available.

Extended warranties generally provide the consumer with benefits like preventative maintenance, free replacement, no or low-cost repairs, and power surge protection.

The lure of the extended warranty is that you can say goodbye to the costly fees associated with TV repairs. Many extended warranties offer in-home service and pickup for defective products, so you won't have to haul your big, broken big screen LCD TV back to the store.

Just remember that an extended warranty is in no way affiliated with your TV's manufacturer warranty. It's a completely separate and optional service that you will pay for in addition to whatever you pay for your new TV.

What Does a TV Extended Warranty Cover?

If you go online and read various message boards and customer review polls then you might think that nothing is covered by an extended warranty. That's just not true.

The extended warranty for a TV should act much like a bumper-to-bumper warranty for your car. This means that the picture screen (burn-in), buttons, inputs, outputs, internal components, TV stand, IR sensor for the remote control, on-board circuitry/software, and more are all usually covered under a typical extended warranty.

The extended warranty will often include convenience features like in-home service or free pickup should your TV need to go to the repair shop. Some extended warranties, like Best Buy's premium protection plan, might also cover other convenience features like preventative maintenance, telephone trouble shooting and recalibration.

Most extended warranties will include one free lamp replacement for the duration of the warranty -- one lamp means one lamp, not a lifetime supply of lamps. Be sure to confirm the specific details by reading the terms and conditions for the warranty.

Where Can I Buy a TV Extended Warranty?

You should be able to buy some sort of extended warranty or TV service plan anywhere a TV is sold. Usually, the store will try to sell you the extended warranty at the time you buy the TV. If you refuse to buy it then you can usually return to buy it within 30 days.

If the store doesn't sell extended warranties or if you don't trust the company selling the extended warranty then you can turn to the Internet to solve your extended warranty needs. Websites like DTV Express, Ted Unlimited and Amazon sell third-party extended warranties - meaning they sell warranties for a TV that you bought somewhere else.

Since these online companies weren't involved in the TV sale, there is usually a time limit on when you can buy an extended warranty in relation to when you bought the TV. The time limit could be within 30 days or it could be within nine months in the case of DTV Express.

Something else to consider about online warranty companies is their customer rating and reliability. My recommendation is to only buy an extended warranty from an online retailer when that retailer has a good Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating.

Should I Buy a TV Extended Warranty?

Only you can decide if you should buy an extended warranty. Points to consider before buying an extended warranty include:

  1. Value of item being purchased
  2. Price of extended warranty
  3. Length of manufacturer's warranty
  4. Length of extended warranty and date coverage begins

Most TV manufacturer warranties cover parts and labor for one year from the purchase date. So, it's important to know how long the manufacturer's warranty is before deciding whether or not to buy an extended warranty. Extended warranties can cover a TV for years.

Coverage for extended warranties begin the day you buy the warranty. If you bought the extended warranty at the same time you bought your TV then this means that your new TV is covered by two warranties for its first year. Once the manufacturer's warranty expires then you'll be covered solely by the extended warranty.

The first year might seem like you're paying for two services but only getting the protection from one. So, why not just start the extended warranty after the manufacturer's warranty expires?

This is a fair request and it's one of the downsides to buying the extended warranty while still under a manufacturer's warranty. However, extended warranties tend to pick up the slack for manufacturer's warranties, and they're a lot more customer-focused than a typical manufacturer's warranty.

Determining the value of an extended warranty is in the eye of the beholder. For some, it offers security and peace of mind knowing their investment is protected long after the manufacturer's warranty runs out. Others believe it's a worthless product sold only to raise profits while appearing to provide a value.

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