Buying the best laptop requires a significant financial investment. You will spend at least $1,000 on a high-end laptop, and potentially a lot more. It is worth it, considering that this is an investment you will use nearly every day for up to eight years. That is, at least, if nothing goes wrong.
When you buy your laptop, you will be given a warranty by the manufacturer. This warranty usually lasts a year, with the option to extend it for an extra year. But what does a warranty actually cover?
A manufacturer’s warranty exists to serve a specific purpose. It is a commitment to fix any technical faults that were not caused by negligence or misuse. However, a manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t cover laptop theft or accidental damage. That is the domain of insurance.
Let’s get into the finer details of what a laptop warranty covers, what voids the warranty, and whether it is worth it to pay for an extension.
What technical faults are covered?
While manufacturers will talk about a warranty as if it is an added feature they are giving you, it is actually just ethical business practice. Essentially, they are saying that if there is anything wrong with the product they are selling you, you can bring it back and they will repair or replace it. This is true of almost any product from any retailer.
The reason electronics require warranties is that it is not always obvious that there is something wrong with the product. The screen of your laptop may seem fine when you get it, only to stop working a few months later. As long as this is through no fault of your own, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to fix it.
For this reason, a warranty covers any technical fault that was not caused by misuse or accidental damage. This should apply to any part of the laptop, from the hard drive to the power cable.
When is the warranty voided?
A warranty is valid as long as the technical fault was there from the start. The screen that lasted a few months was faulty from the start or it would not have stopped working. However, if you do something that causes a fault, you are on the hook for it.
When you tinker with your laptop, it becomes possible that any future fault is due to your tinkering. As such, doing certain fixes or upgrades to your laptop may void the warranty.
That being said, there has to be some level of cause and effect at play. If you replaced the battery a month before your screen breaks, the manufacturer cannot realistically blame you for tinkering. Most laptop manufacturers do not have blanket clauses voiding a warranty for making your own repairs or upgrades.
Upgraded parts, however, are no longer the manufacturer’s responsibility. You should get a warranty specifically for the new part when you buy it. Your laptop warranty will still apply to other parts, but you will have to go to the manufacturer of the specialist part if it stops working.
Is it worth buying an extended warranty?
Many manufacturers attempt to upsell you on the warranty. Extended warranties can have a high asking price, especially from a company like Apple. Are they worth it?
Taking into account what a warranty is supposed to do, the answer is probably not. A warranty is meant to protect you from buying a faulty product. Warranties generally last as long as it is reasonable to attribute faults to the manufacturer. Paying for an extra year could theoretically help if something breaks down during that year. But much of the time, any repairs that need to be done at this point will not be connected to manufacturer faults.
Nonetheless, manufacturers may have specific clauses in their extended warranties that make them more worthwhile. Do your research, but it is worth remaining skeptical.
A laptop warranty is not a coverall for anything that could possibly go wrong. Rather, it provides specific conditions under which technical faults can be attributed to the manufacturer.