The benefits of hardware warranties

Overhead shot of a woman at her desk. She is typing on a keyboard while looking at two monitors. Her laptop is on a stand to her left.

Whenever you purchase a new electronic device, you will hear, “Would you like to add an extended warranty to your device?” It’s one thing to buy a personal device warranty, but what about for business equipment? What exactly is a warranty, and is it worth the price?

WEBIT Services has helped clients succeed in IT management, security, and strategy for over 25 years. We find that warranties can be an essential part of the IT roadmap for the lifecycle of a piece of hardware.

In this article, we wanted to outline the definition of a warranty, how to use it, and how it can help your business.

What is a warranty?

A warranty is a protection policy for your device. It guarantees that the manufacturer will repair or replace the device if it is damaged or proved faulty within a contracted time frame.

It’s important to note that the warranty usually does not come into play if the device is lost or stolen.

A warranty can save you time and money in the long run. So long as a device is under warranty, you don’t have to worry about purchasing a replacement for faulty hardware. The manufacturer will take care of it for no additional charge.

For instance, if you purchase a new laptop and the speakers don’t work, you can speak with the manufacturer, and they will either repair the laptop speakers or send you a new laptop. However, if this problem or one like it occurs after the warranty has expired, the manufacturer will no longer assist in the device repair or provide a replacement.

A warranty policy can be purchased for an additional fee if a complimentary warranty is not guaranteed with a new device.

Hardware Warranty FAQs

How long do warranties last?

In most cases, you can buy additional warranty coverage for timeframes between one and three years.
Generally, most new hardware comes with a warranty of anywhere between 1-3 years and sometimes up to five. You can speak with your IT provider to see if your devices include a manufacturer’s warranty. They can typically use the equipment serial number to look up warranty status for you.

How much do warranties cost?

Prices will vary based both on the device and the warrantied timeframe purchased. As the length of coverage and the value of the equipment increase, so does the price. For example, one year of coverage will cost less than the three-year package, and five years of coverage would be more expensive than three if a manufacturer or third-party service will even offer that length of time. Regardless of the time frame, the warranty will cost less than the device.

Can warranties be extended?

Some warranties can be extended, but it largely depends on the manufacturer. If the manufacturer is still creating that device model and its replacement parts, purchasing an extended warranty is usually possible. However, the manufacturer will not offer an extension if that model and its parts are no longer in circulation. But there are third-party providers such as Service Express who stock replacement parts for some equipment and sell extended warranty services.

A warranty and its extensions are typically only available from a manufacturer so long as the hardware is still being manufactured. Once a device is removed from the market, the availability of a warranty extension decreases as there may not be any available replacement parts.

What happens when my warranty expires?

When your warranty expires, your device is no longer covered by your manufacturer. In this case, you will be fully responsible for repairs and replacements.

Two men in business casual clothing discuss images on a computer screen.

Warranties and your IT provider

Who is responsible for warranty service?

Depending on the type of warranty, it may include having a service technician come out to perform the work or it may only include shipping a replacement part for the defective part.

It’s important to understand the type of warranty and coverage you have, especially for mission-critical equipment like servers.

If you purchased your hardware directly from the manufacturer, you would need to contact them for warranty service under the terms of the original or extended warranty.

If you purchased your hardware from your IT Provider or another vendor, you would need to contact them to engage the manufacturer for any warranty work.

Can my IT provider repair my hardware if I don’t want to get a warranty or if my warranty expires?

In most cases, quality IT providers can repair your device so long as they can both find replacement parts and repairs are possible. Often, providers will end up using third-party replacement parts rather than the manufacturer parts you’d get through the warranty.

Typically, it is much faster for a manufacturer to replace damaged hardware parts through a warranty. Manufacturers have access to the specific, branded parts for their hardware, so there’s no time wasted testing pieces that may or may not fit the hardware.

While adept at hardware repair, your IT provider will likely need to use third-party parts to repair the device. Unfortunately, this often takes more time than going straight to the manufacturer because your provider may need to test various parts to find a suitable replacement.

You are guaranteed parts built specifically for your computer brand and model through your warranty. Because the parts are readily available through the manufacturer, repairs tend to be speedy. Your IT provider will repair your device as quickly as possible, but they will need time to find comparable pieces.

What kind of warranties do IT providers recommend?

Warranty recommendations will vary based on the device in question and available warranty policies.

Generally, IT providers recommend maintaining a current warranty for mission-critical devices such as servers or computers used in mission-critical processes, throughout their working lifespan. This will cover the device for most of its life as most business computers will run for roughly five years.

But, of course, you may be able to purchase a more extended policy.

If you are not sure you would like your computers under warranty, IT providers recommend at least having your servers under warranty. Ideally, servers should have a warranty policy that guarantees resolution within 24 hours of an issue report.

Unlike a computer, a server affects multiple employees, if not the entire office.

If a computer goes out, one employee’s productivity is affected. If a server goes out, your entire office could be out of commission until it’s repaired. Because of their influence, servers greatly benefit from an active warranty.

Choosing the right warranty for you

Warranties can be an excellent resource for prolonging the life of your hardware and reducing stress. If your item is under warranty, you don’t have to buy a brand-new device; the warranty will cover it.

Some warranty highlights include:

  • Warranties will guarantee the repair or replacement of faulty equipment.
  • Extended warranties can usually be purchased for between one - three years of additional coverage after the initial warranty period expires.
  • Warranties can typically be extended if the device is still in circulation.
  • Warranties are fulfilled through the manufacturer or a third-party service provider.

IT providers typically sell and recommend hardware that includes three years of coverage and emphasize extended warranties for servers and mission-critical devices. If a warranty expires, your IT provider may be able to assist with repairs though these will take more time to resolve than repairs under warranty and may cause unplanned downtime in the process.

A warranty may be a fit for you if:

  • You want quick, guaranteed repairs with manufacturer parts.
  • You may not have the budget to replace new hardware if it is damaged.

A warranty may not be a good fit for you if:

  • You have older hardware that is due for replacement.
  • You are comfortable with longer repair timelines and downtime.
  • You have the budget to replace damaged hardware.

If you would like additional assistance, your IT provider can help you find warranties and evaluate the hardware that would benefit from warranty protection.

If you are looking for a new IT provider in the Chicago area, you can schedule a thirty-minute consultation with WEBIT Services.

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