Notebook Warranty Guide

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Are you thinking about buying an extended warranty with your new notebook but aren’t sure about it? Warranties can be confusing investments, even for more experienced buyers – in this article we explain basic warranty terms, what they cover and don’t cover, and what kind of coverage is practical for your needs.


Basic Warranty Terms

I need to start from the beginning and explain what a warranty is and what it is designed to do. The book definition of a warranty is:

A guarantee given to the purchaser by a company stating that a product is reliable and free from known defects and that the seller will, without charge, repair or replace defective parts within a given time limit and under certain conditions.

Applied to notebook computers, this means under normal operating conditions (not subject to drops, extreme temperatures, and so on) it should work without problems for the length of the warranty period; if anything happens the company will make good on the warranty and fix the problems.

This is what is known as a limited warranty – that is, a warranty with limitations on what is covered.

What Does a Basic Warranty Include?
The outright majority of consumer notebooks sold today come with a one-year limited warranty. In general, the following should be included with the warranty (all for one year):

  • Parts and labor coverage (that is, a guarantee on both the parts and the workmanship)
  • Mail-in service (so you can ship your notebook to the company for service)
  • 24/7 phone and email support

Basic warranties only cover items the company is at fault for; if they put in a defective screen, that would be covered and the company would replace it. On the other hand, if the laptop does not function correctly because of something YOU did (such as spilling water on it), in all likelihood it will not be covered.

Accidental Damage Warranties
Accidental damage warranties cover as the name implies – accidents. They are an add-on to basic warranties and make the warranty less limited by covering more things. Always read the warranty text of what is covered; in general, accidental damage warranties cover liquid spills, drops and falls, power surges, screen breaks, and other collisions.

Something an accidental damage warranty does NOT cover is theft. There are companies that sell insurance for notebooks and other devices that cover theft; Safeware Insurance Agency is one example. In some cases your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance will cover theft, but check with you provider.

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