Thursday, February 23, 2017

Should I Get A Warranty For My Device?

Many medical students will end up purchasing various devices such as tablets over the course of their training. When purchasing the device, a question that inevitably arises is: should I purchase additional coverage for any damage to my device? Admittedly, this topic is indirectly related to medical education. However, given that many of you are on limited budgets, it is a fair issue to consider. Buying a warranty vs. saving your money and being careful both have merit. Consider your own situation specifically before making a final decision

Why You Should Get A Warranty

As a medical student, your device is going to be more mobile and in more varied environments than someone who merely uses their device to binge on Netflix. Not only should definitely buy a case to protect your investment from minor scratches, wear, and tear, you should definitely consider a warranty in the event that your device is lost or stolen. Another major factor to consider is your own track record with devices. If you often drop items or otherwise damage them, you should be more inclined to purchase an extended warranty.

Why You Should Avoid A Warranty

Given the ever-shortening upgrade cycle in tech, you will most likely upgrade your device by the time you may incur any damage worthy of replacement. As prices are generally falling over time, the money saved up front may be enough to cover a brand-new replacement device. A rule of thumb for determining whether a warranty is worthwhile is to calculate the implied risk. The formula is simple:

100 x (Insurance Premium / Item Cost)

For example, if a device costs $200 and the extended warranty costs $40, then the implied risk is 100 x $40 / $20, or 20%. Now, ask yourself: is there a 20% or greater chance that I will break this device or otherwise invoke this policy? If so, you should buy the warranty. If not, then save your money and avoid the policy. Need a tie-breaker? Well, do you have children that will ever use the device? That alone probably makes the warranty worthwhile!

Where To Purchase A Warranty

After weighing the pros and cons above, let's say you decide to opt for a warranty. For simplicity sake, purchasing the warranty offered at the time of your purchase is probably easiest. For example, let's say you were purchasing an Amazon Fire Tablet:

You can purchase additional protection for 2 to 3 years from Amazon, provided by SquareTrade:

Looking at reviews online, SquareTrade is well reviewed with reasonable prices. Similarly, for Apple products, an AppleCare service plan / warranty is also a reasonable option.

Have you purchased an extended warranty before? What has your experience been like? Please leave comments below!

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