Is a protection plan worth it? Should I buy a SquareTrade Plan? We are often asked about protection plans because gaming monitors are such a large investment. Consumers face the dilemma: are they worth it or a plain waste of money? Most of the devices we get are big ticket purchases even for some people with bigger budgets, so confidence and assurance that the money spent will go a long way is a big plus. Let’s dive deep:
Why Would I Need To Purchase Protection Plan or Extended Warranty?
An old friend of mine who used to work with some of the distributors of the biggest peripheral brands once told me that most of this new generation of peripherals had limited eighteen-month lifespans. A lot of different products aren’t even meant to last that long, with some having 6 to 12 months of perfect use before mysteriously dying or breaking down. He said it was insider knowledge and he was merely advising me, so there was no way to prove if his statements were true.
Of course, I did not believe him since most of my older computers from the 90’s were built like tanks; they lasted well beyond eighteen months. So I went on with my purchase without spending for the extended warranties being offered and happily gamed on and worked on my school projects with my shiny new dream rig. Lo and behold, after only six months, my first GPU failed, and three months later the second one produced artifacts on the screen and eventually died.
This issue was not the case for the rest of the build. Everything else lasted for more than five years, and I eventually sold them as surplus parts to save for another build, so maybe the eighteen-month lifespan theory is half correct. Although, if you think about it, if these gadgets did not fail at some point, no one would ever have the urgency to buy newer and better monitors or motherboards so the companies who make them wouldn’t have any annual income.
The store told me I had no warranty left when I brought it to them, so they only offered to try and send the cards back and then have it repaired for a price. If I heeded the tips I got from that guy, I might have happily continued my gaming and school work in a few days after the protection plan replaced the GPUs. An Excellent protection plan or an extended warranty would have been beneficial to save me from the hassle back during that time, so even if I liked the next upgrade I bought, I would have preferred to save the money for a newer build than buying replacements.
My most accurate guess was I was just part of the unlucky few. Statistics from consumer reports state that Computers and their parts have an almost 25% repair rate which is unusually high when compared to TVs at around 7%. 25% is alarming, but computers are made up of several peripherals, so the chances are slim. A formula to rate your unlucky chances in computer peripherals is to divide 25% by five main items in your computer setup, such as the motherboard, processor, graphics card, power supply and the monitor itself.
The resulting 5% chance is too vague even to consider paying for extended warranties, but that depends on your situation. For example, if you live in a thunderstorm-prone region, a strike can cause a power surge can kill your monitor. Or if you live with a big group, the chance your monitor can get tipped over dramatically increases since a lot more people move around the vicinity.
Regarding monitors, there is no way to compute the likelihood of failure currently. Different brands and companies have their methods and benchmarks regarding their product and its manufacturing process, so there isn’t any way to tell. The most common defect buyers can experience such as dead or stuck pixels and backlight bleeding are not covered by any manufacturer or aftermarket warranty or protection plans, unless the flaws exceed each company’s standard.
For example, Dell will only replace or repair your monitor if your screen has six or more dead pixels, except for the upmarket products from the UltraSharp, Professional, and Alienware lines which have a Premium Panel Bright Pixel Guarantee which means even a single dead pixel warrants a screen replacement. As mentioned, each company allows repairs and replacements depending on their rules, so it is best to check their terms before you decide.
You also have to remember that these devices have hundreds if not thousands of components in them, such as transistors and microchips. Each one goes through design, manufacturing and quality control as the rest of the gadget, so you can’t do anything besides either trusting your chosen brand or buying a protection plan or extended warranties.
Pros and Cons of Protection Plans and Extended Warranties From SquareTrade, Amazon’s Insurance Provider
Amazon’s additional insurance policies for anything other than their proprietary products like the Kindle are covered by external companies such as SquareTrade. This brand offers protection plans or extended warranties from two to three years running alongside the manufacturer’s guarantee, priced according to your device’s bracket. The Company does not release its actual terms for each particular item unless you buy their plan, but they clearly state that they will cover mechanical failures and burnouts well beyond the manufacturer guarantee.
The greatest advantage you can get from availing these offers is peace of mind. Each company or salesperson will pitch this to you, claiming you can rest easy at the cost of only a few cents per day. If you worry a lot about breakdowns, getting plan could help alleviate your anxiety regarding your device’s demise.
The San Francisco-based company also claims to have revolutionized the warranty industry since their methods seem to make things easier. Instead of mailing paper contracts which can deteriorate or get lost, you get a digital file containing your terms and receipt for the plan you bought, and you only need to contact the claims department via email and to upload the mentioned documents.
SquareTrade also offers a five 5-day guarantee upon receiving your device, which states that they will either refund your purchase price via an Amazon gift card or check if they could not fulfill the turn around time. That sounds excellent, but it does not come without any caveats. They can easily deem your product unrepairable or irreplaceable so what they will do is refund your protection plan cost, since they advertise that if they cannot repair, replace or refund your item, your program is free.
There are also horror stories on their feedback list, such as endless cycles in phone calls for claims, immediate cancellation of protection plans and website-related problems. Most of the terms the company sells do not include ADH or Accidental Damage from Handling, so the purpose of protecting your monitors or other peripherals from accidental drops and breakages are instantly defeated.
But perhaps, the biggest flaw of this product lies in the real chance you will need it. As stated in the previous section, the chance your monitor or PC part will fail and die are rather slim at five percent. Despite the common claim that they don’t build them like they used to, products nowadays are capable and better equipped to avert disaster. Modern designs include several layers of protection, so you don’t find people rushing to buy new appliances after a thunderstorm or power surge.
Even if the sales pitch claims you only pay a few cents per day for peace of mind, it’s more about paying for something which they can easily refund or cancel. Simply put, it’s like you are lending them money and once problems arise, they pay you back.
SquareTrade Basic Coverage for Desktop PCs and Peripherals
Square trade offers varying tiers of insurance plans depending on your gadget’s price bracket. For example, the Asus PG278QR costs around $670 at the time of this writing placing it in the $600 to $699 bracket which costs more or less $20 to insure. For instance, if you want to create a triple-head setup with the PG278QR, you need to pay for three policies as well, bringing the total insurance price to $60.
To give you an idea, here are some of the basic problems with monitors SquareTrade will solve:
- All Mechanical and Electrical Failures – There are times where gadgets mysteriously die or stop working due to unknown causes, and sending your unit back to the manufacturer for an assessment or possible repairs. Customers frequently get rejected based on typical reasons such as the defect is outside the limited warranty or the latter expired are prevalent between customer service and its clients. If your brand refuses to repair any issues under these categories, SquareTrade’s protection plan steps up to save you.
- Power Supply Burn Out – If your monitor gets fried due to reasons such as surges or lightning storms, you can’t rely on typical warranties to repair your screen for free. SquareTrade helps you with this since they accept RMA requests with any issue regarding the power delivery of the product.
- Bulb Failure – Monitors have backlight bulbs you can’t normally replace on your own. These parts have 50,000-hour lifespans which equate to around 10 years of regular use. It is highly unlikely that your screen’s backlight will conk out, but it if does, SquareTrade will replace it for free.
- Speaker Failure – Some midrange to high-end monitors include a pair of speakers which hardly get any attention, but even so, SquareTrade will fix or replace them for free.
- The SquareTrade protection plans start as soon as you get your monitor, so it runs alongside the manufacturer’s warranty and replaces it after it expires.
These facts here are quite broad, but the insurance company emails you a two-page document containing the insurance specifics. Terms, conditions, and pricing vary from item to item or price categories.
But the biggest concern for consumers when they consider these offers for extended protection is mostly left out from the contract. You don’t get accidental or liquid-related damage protection from most of these contracts, unless stated by a specialized agreement, like what they provide on their mobile phone guarantees. So if you drop your monitor or somehow pour coffee on it, SquareTrade will not honor your claim.
Do I Need To Purchase Any Protection Plans and Extended Warranties For Every Device?
If you ask me today, my answer would still be a big no, but it could depend on a few different factors. Every electronic device you can buy off retailers include warranties from the manufacturer, and some of the better offerings allow immediate replacement without an inquisition-level investigation of why and how their product failed. Although always remember to read the terms or fine prints of these guarantees since most of the time, they do not include accidental or theft protection, including force majeure situations.
Usually, our monitors and gaming rigs sit safely on desktops at home or in the office, so they are safe from accidents such as dropping them resulting in catastrophic damage or failure. Unless you lug your battle stations around like laptops and tablets to LAN parties with your friends, mostly you are safe from these problems. If you can take extra care of the things you own, you wouldn’t need to spend extra cash on a protection plan or extended warranties with accidental coverage, so trying not to be a total clutz could save your money.
Theft is a different subject altogether, since securing your devices and your home or workplace is your responsibility for the most part. Some warranties may cover the previous issue, but almost every company out there would not blink an eye if you lost your mobile phone or if your house got robbed, so in these situations, you won’t have a choice but to rebuy everything if you don’t have a protection plan or extended warranties.
Some of the products we buy for our precious PCs may include monitors which cost well over a thousand dollars, like the Asus PG348Q for example. Including an additional layer of protection aside from the warranty should be a no brainer for something so expensive, but you have to think that displays usually last two to three build cycles or even more. The LG monitor I’m using as I write this more than six years old, but the PC it’s attached to has replacements bought last month.
Knowing which peripheral would benefit the most from a protection plan or extended warranty is essential in the digital age since buying additional plans for every device you have might cost as much as a new PC. The saying “you get what you pay for” comes into play regarding durability, since pricing almost always dictates quality. Getting a product from a reliable brand which has fantastic offers when it comes to warranties is a smart move, and if you do, buying a two or three-year plan for a hundred dollars or more might be a big waste of money.
The competition level between brands are intense nowadays, and the several players in the market race to offer the best they can make for your money’s worth. Technology had also come a long way from when I used to suffer from product failures within half a year, so the improvements are faithful and noticeable. Companies also strive for excellence in customer care since a simple negative comment or a bad review can ruin sales so that you can rest easy most of the time. Choosing where to put your money is critical to your financial situation, so be smart by doing your research about a particular product before spending your money.
Protection Plans and Extended Warranties Cost and Their Worth
Most products already include warranties which last anywhere from thirty days to a year, and extending that offer into a full coverage, two or three-year plan could cost a hundred dollars or more. Sometimes, upgrading can cost up to half of your selected device, which isn’t a practical way to go about things. If you divide these prices by how many days you are covered, the result could only amount anywhere from a few cents to a dollar or two, but overall, it still isn’t a fair deal especially if you have other matters like upgrades or bills where your money could be well spent.
The amount these retailers and brand are asking could also be enough for a repair you might or might not need in the future. For example, if you break your monitor’s included stand, a VESA mount with improved ergonomics or stability could cost from ten to a hundred dollars, so you’re better off saving your cash for a replacement or a repair along the way. Statistics say that protection plans and extended warranties cost around $130 on average, while repairs are around $150. The fear of expensive repair bills always drive consumers nuts but based on the figures mentioned; it could be a false economy, to begin with.
The only real reason paying for a protection plan and extended warranties is for peace of mind. Nothing beats a worry and hassle-free state where you can sit back and relax, and enjoy your purchase to its full potential. Even if display products such as monitors and TVs typically last thousands of hours, confidence in having protection can still be considered priceless especially if you are a worrier or neurotic about these things. Protecting something you cannot easily replace is also a smart notion, but this does not apply to peripherals which have shorter lifespans such as motherboards, CPUS or gaming mice, depending on how you use them.
How Do I Get Around the Need to Buy Protection Plans and Extended Warranties?
The easiest workaround is to buy smart by reading up on the item you covet. Reading reviews and user feedback is always a fantastic first step before spending your hard-earned cash, and that’s how I start my purchasing rituals for anything from underwear to a new gaming monitor. I sometimes take a few weeks or a month before deciding, and so far, most of my purchases are successful. There are times I still suffered from premature failure when I tried to get a cheap item because I believed the hype in the customer feedback, and later on found out that that particular item was faulty from an enthusiast website.
Also, don’t forget to invest in your device’s protection. Spending real money on voltage regulators, power supplies, and surge protectors is always a wise choice to avoid fires and death by power fluctuations. You can also spend for high-quality mounting options and stable desks, which ensures you operate your expensive gear in a safe environment.
Another backup plan is to know a few repair guys or shops around your area. Just like car repairs, you can save money if you choose to go to the local store than the dealer. These people usually only ask for a fair fee and lead you where you can find spare parts, so you can avoid disastrous spending and any misleading or hyped recommendations from salespeople who are sometimes guilty of exaggerating these things so you would be willing to part with your dough.
You can also try and repair your stuff on your DIY style. Websites like Youtube have several how-to videos for anything under the sun which can help you. You only need basic tools like screwdrivers most of the time, and tinkering is an educational and fun experience by itself. Just remember to check if you still have any manufacturer warranties remaining since opening most devices on your own will void any support or replacement and repair option you might have left.
The last resort is to consider whether reviving your device is still worth it or not. Reliability has risen over the years, but as each product became tougher, when they do break or fail, the issues usually are severe enough to warrant a repurchase. A good rule to go by is never to spend near or over 50% of what a newer product will cost, so you should know when to cut your losses and just get a shiny new peripheral. Devices which fail or break down again have also undergone previous repairs should be replaced all throughout, since that will make the most sense instead of wasting money and time trying to revive it.
How to Claim the Benefits of My Protection Plan and Extended Warranties?
SquareTrade claims to revolutionize the process of warranty claims since they virtually eliminated the need for any processing hassle. You simply have to visit this link and follow the instructions on the website. You need to input which retailer sold you the defective item and the email you used for the transaction, or you can simply create an account on the website. Normally, everything goes through email but there are instances where you might need to call them or wait for their representatives to contact you.
After settling the terms of your claim, you can avail of free two-way shipping of your item for repair or parts replacement. Each contract states that your coverage includes all fees for parts and labor. However, if they cannot repair or replace your item within five working days of delivery to their service centers, SquareTrade will award you with either an Amazon Gift Card or a cheque which amounts to the price you paid for the particular item.
Another way SquareTrade can compensate you is to instantly replace your device without any delay or fees if it is still available on the retailer where you purchased it. Another option is to contact Amazon customer service and have them mediate the claim on your behalf. Once confirmed, you simply have to wait to hear from SquareTrade and their representative will provide you with specific instructions.
However, if they cannot honor the contract, SquareTrade will simply refund the cash you paid for the insurance contract since they claim that if they can’t help you, your extended warranty purchase is free. This direction happens way too often for a lot of consumers on the website, so this problem alone can make the whole process worthless for consumers.
Buying plans and extended warranties are not worth it for most buyers. Mechanical failures and manufacturer defects are already included in manufacturer warranties or your credit card company’s protection policy. Monitors and peripherals have drastically improved over the years, so they now include multiple levels of protection from common factors which can render them useless.
99% of the time, defects, and flaws show up within the covered warranty periods for these products, so if your purchase outlasts its warranty terms, chances are you are safe. As for accidental damage, you can easily avoid any by taking extra care of your belongings because after all, they cost you your hard-earned cash.
But then again, there’s the unbeatable and priceless nature of peace of mind. Not having to worry about breakages or exaggerated repair bills is a pleasure by itself, and for some people, that’s worth a lot of money. But even so, that confidence could be an illusion which wastes your money, judging from the pros and cons mentioned above.