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Computer warranties can be tricky, and most don’t cover many things you might think they do. So before you purchase a new computer, be sure to read the fine print on the warranty and know exactly what is covered. Here are some things to look for.


  1. Read your warranty and register your warranty if required.
  2. Every warranty expires at some point. Resolve hardware problems before the warranty expires.
  3. Warranties do not cover Acts of God like lightning, floods, tornadoes, theft or fire. Check your insurance coverage and deductibles to determine if you need an insurance rider to protect your computers and related equipment.
  4. Warranties do not cover reloading operating software, computer specific software or application software.
  5. Warranties do not cover removing malware and viruses.
  6. Warranties do not cover recovering data that is lost due to power problems, hardware failure, malware, viruses, software updates or user error.
  7. Warranties do not repair things you tried to repair.
  8. Warranties do not cover physical damage unless you have an extended warranty that specifically covers physical damage.
  9. Extended warranties have the same provisions unless they include Accidental Damage Protection.
  10. Most Accidental Damage Protection warranties cover one damage claim per year. Many have per incident deductibles.
  11. There are some hybrid warranties that seem to cover everything, but be sure to read the fine print. There are exceptions, and these warranties are typically “depot warranties” that mean you could be without your computer from four days to several weeks.
  12. When you set up your computer, create “recovery disks.” Back up your data, operating system and application software on a regular basis. You should have a primary and secondary backup solution.
  13. Keep your software and license keys in a safe place. You may need to re-enter them after some repairs.

Here’s a handy table from ZDNet comparing Accidental Damage Protection policies.


Do you have any other tips from your computer purchasing experience? We’d love to see your comments below!