Understanding protection plans: what you should know

apple-iphone-applecare-protection-plan-main-viewBy Natasha Rocci

 When thinking about electronics for college, there are certain trends—and not necessarily good ones—that we may be unaware of.

Adam Christie, Tech Sales Supervisor at the Staples in Gardner (store #1227), speaks about what students may be doing wrong when buying these expensive tools. He notes a common mistake they make is neglecting to take into consideration the importance of purchasing a “protection plan”, otherwise known as an extended warranty.

While most products will come with at least a one-year warranty, often times this excludes accidental damage such as cracked screens or drops. Apple’s one-year warranty, for example, only covers out-of-the-box damage as explicated on their website.

“Students often come in and are looking to purchase an Apple iPad, a laptop or another electronic device which can cost upwards of $800, and then decide not to spend an additional $99 on the protection plan,” Christie explained. “These students typically return in a matter of months with broken iPads, baffled that these items can’t be returned.”

Without purchasing a protection plan for a product, any accidental damage, water damage or otherwise can’t be reimbursed by Staples or additional stores you may go to in order to get your college gear. Staples’ protection plan is through SquareTrade, one of the leading protection plan sales companies in the country.

Another one is AppleCare+. With this plan, if you were to spend $229 on an iPad, buy the $99 extended warranty and then drop it in water twice, you’d spend an essential total of $197 in warranty and repairs; therefore, the plan allows two repairs for accidental damage for a set fee of $49 per repair.

Geek Squad’s accidental damage protection plan varies by how many years you want to subscribe for. The options are $59.99 for one year, $129.99 for two and $149.99 for three. The plan won’t charge additional fees after the initial purchase. As with AppleCare+, any accidental damage is covered. The difference lies in the fees after you sign up for the plan.

“With the protection plan, which can be a fraction of what the actual item will cost you, you are covered for anything that could possibly go wrong with your electronic device,” Christie adds. “If students were more keen on purchasing the protection plan, they could save themselves a lot of stress in the long run.”

As college students, it might be a stretch for some to say that they have the money for such a purchase. However, when weighing out the price of the item and the hazards of college life, a protection plan could be a viable use of funds.

“I always urge people to give in and buy the warranty, especially students,” Christie concludes. “The prospect of spending more money appears to be the biggest deterrent as far as buying the protection plans go, though. I’ll see them in a few months and there’s nothing I can do for them without that plan.”­