Nearly any piece of technical hardware you buy on Amazon these days comes with another window before the purchase is complete. “Do you want fries with that?” No, not fries. Insurance in the form of an extended warranty.
Such product insurance is everywhere these days. Walmart has it. Best Buy, too. Sometimes the insurance is cheap, other times expensive, but all are designed with the same purpose in mind? To help you when something breaks. And to separate you from more money. “Fries” indeed.
Pay The Piper
There is an old adage that something breaks only when it’s out of warranty, and that’s what product insurance does. It extends the warranty beyond whatever the manufacturer provided. That’s what AppleCare does, too. Nathan and I make sure we pay the piper and have AppleCare on each product for at least a couple of years after the one year Apple warranty expires.
Do we need AppleCare? It’s more of a want than a need, but AppleCare can pay for itself under the right circumstances, even if the price tag on multiple Apple products seems more like highway robbery at first.
Most Apple hardware comes with a one-year limited warranty and up to 90 days of complimentary telephone technical support.
We had an iMac dies a few months after the warranty expired. AppleCare took care of it. The SSD on Nathan’s older MacBook Air died. AppleCare took care of it.
AppleCare products give you one-stop service and support from Apple experts, so most issues can be resolved in a single call.
Well, perhaps a single visit to a nearby Genius Bar.
AppleCare can add up, though, particularly if you’re an Apple customer with one or two of everything. Here’s what we have in the Nowak Compound:
- 2 iPhones on iPhone Upgrade Program (with AppleCare)
- 1 iPhone (old, no longer on AppleCare)
- 3 iPads (two Pros, one older)
- 1 iMac (desktop sits at home, ages well)
- 2 MacBook Pros (newer models, still in warranty)
- 1 MacBook Air (floats around the house; AppleCare, of course)
- 2 Apple Watches
- 1 Apple TV (no AppleCare)
- 2 iPods (no AppleCare)
- 1 HomePod (still in warranty, but with AppleCare)
Add it all up and we’re giving plenty of money to Apple every year. The rule of thumb is simple. If we use it, it gets AppleCare.
Yes, we pay Tim Cook’s piper.
What I would like to see from Apple is a Home AppleCare; a blanket coverage care plant for a specific number of products; not much different than a health insurance plan. Think HMO for Apple kit. Pay a monthly AppleCare fee, and everything up to a specific number of products is covered.
Nathan did some math. Based upon a rough estimate of hardware problems and parts replacements, he thinks we’re at breakeven with AppleCare. That means we’ve spent about the same on AppleCare for each product we use as it would have cost us in repairs when taken back to the Genius Bar in the Apple Store.
Is that insurance worth? So far, yes. That’s why we love AppleCare and put it on every new product for a couple of years. We would prefer a static monthly payment for our products, though.