What Coverage Will Your Laptop Warranty Provide?

Hardware warranties vary depending on the manufacturer

The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
Introduction

You've found the shiny, new laptop of your dreams and you're ready to hand over the money or credit card. STOP! Have you read—and reread—every word of the warranty? The first step to buying a laptop should be to read and compare warranties (you can find them on the laptop manufacturer's website).

Before buying your laptop, use this guide to know and understand the kind of repair services you're entitled to.

Laptop Warranty Coverage

The majority of laptop warranties cover hardware problems that were not caused by the owner, such as defective keyboards, monitor problems, modem malfunctions, and other internal component problems. The laptop warranty generally covers the parts and labor for repairs.

A laptop warranty also spells out what actions, on your part, will void the warranty. Something as simple as opening the case and breaking a seal can be enough to void a warranty, even if you only wanted to take a peek inside.

Will removing, changing, or adding new internal components void your warranty? You have to know this kind of information before buying your laptop; this is not what you want to learn after the fact.

The coverage section also covers how to return a damaged laptop, who's responsible for the returned unit's charges, what type of telephone support is available, and how long support is available. You'll want free telephone support for a minimum of 90 days with 24/7 access.

Person looking at laptops in a store.
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What Isn't Covered

If you damage or lose data, these issues aren't covered by a laptop warranty. A laptop warranty will state clearly that any problems associated with the software aren't covered.

You won’t find coverage for theft, damage, or breakage caused by the owner in a laptop warranty, either. Those problems are covered by an insurance policy.

Warranty Term Length

While comparing laptop warranties, investigate the term of the laptop warranty. Is it for one year or more? We suggest a laptop warranty that lasts for more than a year, as long as it doesn't involve additional costs.

Extended Warranties and Retail Service Plans

An extended warranty is a way to continue coverage beyond the original term of the warranty; an extended warranty also typically adds to the purchase price of your new laptop. Some laptop manufacturers offer extended warranties.

If you purchase your laptop from a retail outlet, they may offer you a retail service plan. Retail service plans differ from warranties in that service plans may cover additional exposures and can be purchased for different periods of time (one to three years). A retail service plan provides the best value in most circumstances.

International Warranty Coverage

Those who travel frequently are advised to carefully read any mention of international warranty coverage. International warranty coverage is also referred to as "limited" coverage. This section may explicitly list which items are covered, and in what countries you will have coverage. Many laptop manufacturers will list by component (modem or power adapter) and where it's certified to operate.

Another item worth investigating with an international laptop warranty is how repairs will be carried out. While traveling, can you take your laptop to a certified repair service where you currently are (wherever you travel to), or do you have to return to the country of origin for repairs? Good international laptop warranties have provisions for repairing or servicing wherever you are.

Repairs and Service

In the laptop warranty, the manufacturer will state how repairs will be completed and whether they'll use new, used, or refurbished parts. Choosing a new laptop that will be repaired with new parts is always preferable. The warranty should also provide details regarding servicing locations.

Used or Refurbished Laptops

If you buy a used or refurbished laptop, there should still be a warranty in place. Normally, this warranty period will not exceed one year unless you purchase an extended warranty or retail service plan. Most laptop warranties for used or refurbished laptops are for 90 days.

So, before you put any money towards a new or not-so-new laptop, be sure to check the warranties. Also, research the reviews and experiences of other laptop users. Search for reliability and service ratings to get a good indication of what to expect with your laptop warranty coverage.

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