As digital cameras increasingly become a must-have item for every home, the question of whether to purchase camera extended warranties naturally arises. Should you spend the extra money and purchase camera extended warranties-or take a chance that your camera will operate for years without defect?
Will My Camera Be a Lemon?
The chances of your digital camera having manufacturer defects are fairly slim. According to the 2006 reader response survey conducted by Consumer Reports magazine, the three- to four-year failure rate of digital cameras was only 10 percent. In their survey, the only products with greater reliability were direct-view televisions.
Your television, however, doesn't go outside, sit in the car, or stay in your pants pocket. Like your TV, however, if something goes wrong with the circuitry inside, it will likely cost a lot of money to repair your camera.
What is Covered?
If you purchase camera extended warranties, it extends the warranty offered by the manufacturing an additional number of years, depending on the length of time that you choose. Common extended warranty lengths are three or five years.
You'll have coverage for parts and labor resulting from a defect in the camera. If an electrical problem causes your camera to stop taking photos, that is a manufacturing defect and so you would be covered.
If your camera stops working because it fell out of your pocket onto the hard cement street-that is not covered because it was not a defect in the camera. You are out of luck in a situation like this, unless you purchase a warranty that covers accidents.
Your greatest concern for the camera may be the lens or the LCD screen. These parts aren't always covered by the manufacturer, so check with the manufacturer first before making your purchase.
Purchase Camera Extended Warranties: Factors to Consider
Before deciding whether to purchase camera extended warranties, you should take the following factors into consideration:
- How expensive is the camera? It makes more sense to buy a warranty for an expensive SLR camera than a cheap point and shoot.
- How long will you keep the camera? If you are someone who likes to buy the latest technology every few years, an extended warranty will not be very useful for you.
- How risk-tolerant are you? Some people are able to sleep better at night knowing that they have extra insurance coverage. If you fit that description, then you should consider buying an extended warranty.
What if I Drop the Camera?
Most extended warranties do not cover damage resulting from accidents-except for the extended warranty offered by Ritz Cameras. Called the ESP, or, Expanded Service Policy, the ESP covers manufacturer defects and the following:
- Wear and tear resulting from use of the camera
- Damage resulting from shock (dropping the camera)
- Moisture problems from water damage
- Chemical damage
To purchase the ESP, you must buy a new camera from Ritz and purchase the ESP within 30 days of your camera purchase. You'll also pay high insurance rates for this comprehensive coverage.
What About Coverage for Theft or Fire?
Most extended warranties, including the Ritz Camera ESP, do not provide coverage if your camera is stolen or burned in a fire. For protection from these hazards, contact the insurance company or agent that provides your homeowners insurance or renter's insurance. You should be able to add the camera to your policy to have it insured.
Where to Purchase Camera Warranties
One of the best places to purchase camera extended warranties is Mack Camera. They have been in business since 1938 and are the company that camera stores such as B&H Photo and Adorama have chosen to partner with.
To purchase an extended warranty from Mack Camera, simply buy your camera from one of the many authorized dealers listed on their website. Like the Ritz Camera ESP, you must purchase a warranty within 30 days of camera purchase.