You’re buying a Fire Tablet (the Fire HD or Fire HDX), after much research and anticipation.
Your first decision, even before you download your movies, books, and music, is if you should add to the one-year manufacturer protection which comes with the device, and purchase an additional warranty plan.
This article will help you make that decision.
1. What is the Plan?
Who is the warrantor?
SquareTrade was founded in 1999. It is one of the few warranty providers that has been consistently awarded five stars by consumers on Amazon. As a company, it holds itself to a high standard of accountability to its customers and it shows. As a matter of fact, SquareTrade has been regarded as a top-rated warranty plan provider by USA Today.
The company also offers warranties on a variety of other products, including tablets and other electronic gadgets sold both on and off Amazon.
What do these warranties cover?
These plans cover all most common accidents that occur with products of this kind: being dropped on the floor, water damage from being dropped in the toilet or bathtub, or even if your dog tries to eat it.
SquareTrade will even replace your device if its battery longer holds a charge of 50% or more, which happens when these devices age. The plans will also extend their coverage in case of mechanical and electrical breakdown, meaning that no matter what hinders a device’s operation, a claim can be made against the warranty, and most likely will be honored.
Note that the SquareTrade’s warranty does not cover intentional damage, loss, or theft. Additionally, if you have any software issues with your device, the warranty will not cover that, either. They only cover hardware and the parts that may or may not need replacing. Any software issues should be reported to Amazon.
Difference from manufacturer’s warranty
Now let’s compare what the manufacturer offers in its warranty to what SquareTrade offers.
|Coverage Type||First Year||Additional Years Purchased|
|Drops & Spills Accidents||SquareTrade's Fire Tablet Protection Plan only||SquareTrade's Fire Tablet Protection Plan only|
|Normal-use Failure||Manufacturer's Warranty||SquareTrade's Fire Tablet Protection Plan only|
|Loss or Theft||Not covered by either plan||Not covered by either plan|
What happens if I need to make a claim?
In the event of a claim, a replacement tablet will be sent to you within two or three business days. They won’t wait to receive your old, broken device, so you won’t have to survive without your tablet for that long.
You pay no shipping, so you don’t have to pay for a courier fee to send your old tablet back to the manufacturer.
One drawback, though, is that if your replacement doesn’t work, you’ll have to return it and request another one, lengthening the time spent without a tablet, something none of us likes.
Any other benefits?
The warranty plan, no matter how long, can be canceled at any time, with a full refund within 90 days after purchase. After 90 days, refunds are pro-rated.
The warranty is fully transferable, meaning that if you give your tablet to someone else as a gift, or if you sell it, he or she will be able to enjoy it as well. This can’t help but add to the tablet’s re-sell value.
During the warranty’s coverage period, a total of three claims can be made.
2. Things to Consider before Buying
SquareTrade’s reviews on Amazon were mostly positive. Many reviewers thought that SquareTrade’s services were excellent and reported that they received their replacement tablets quickly, within one week or less.
Price of the Warranty vs. Price of the Product
According to the Service Contract Industry Council, a national trade association for the protection of consumer rights, most extended warranties are 10 to 20 percent of the sales price. Therefore, we do not recommend you to buy any protection plan that costs more than 20% of the purchase price of the product, unless it is really necessary.
It’s apparent that although the most expensive Fire HDX 8.9 warranty is barely a good buy, the least expensive Fire HD6 is not.
It would seem that no matter what model you purchase – with or without Sponsored Screensavers, or 4G or no 4G, the warranty price is the same along the same product line (with exception to the Kindle Fire HDX 7 which is a year 2013 model). As a result, the more expensive tablet you buy, the more cost effective it is to purchase a warranty for your device.
Cost of Replacing vs Fixing
Another piece of advice is to weigh the pros and cons of a warranty based on its price and historical reliability, and how much it would cost you to replace or repair your tablet if it should break.
Indeed, it may not be easy to find a shop that repairs Kindle Fire Tablets, and it can be quite expensive.
If you’re handy with tools, you might want to think about “doing it yourself” (DIY), but remember that any repair you do yourself always voids any remaining warranty you might have. See this guide on fixing different Fire Tablet models, which include the prices of replacement parts and the tools you may need to repair your tablet.
Your credit card may already take care of it
It is often the case that most credit card companies already provide extra coverage.
It’s true that although many credit card companies’ warranties for tablets don’t cover as much or provide as much as SquareTrade, many companies double the manufacturer’s warranty anyway. You could get two years warranty for free, just for purchasing your tablet with your credit card.
This is the case when an American Express card member charges an eligible product to his or her account. The result is that this person can enjoy one extra year of protection, as long as the manufacturer warranty is less than five years. AMEX’s extended warranty kicks in only after the original warranty expires, which is often double the original warranty.
However, the manufacturer’s terms will apply, so if it states that it won’t cover water damage, for example, the credit card’s extended warranty won’t cover it, either. Therefore, for Amazon Fire tablets, the extended warranty on credit card won’t cover damage from drops and spills, that SquareTrade’s warranty covers.
Any claims you make after the extended warranty takes effect must be made to the credit card company, not to the manufacturer. In that case, you’ll have to provide details about the problem and then have you send in your device to be fixed, or more likely, direct you to have it repaired yourself, and have you send in a check for later reimbursement.
You’ll have to fill out lots of paperwork to record and to provide evidence that your purchase was destroyed. Don’t expect an instant turnaround; you’ll most likely have to wait a few weeks, even with cell phones and laptops. You can check here if you want more information.
Theft not included
If you want theft covered, whether you’re at home or on vacation, purchasing homeowners or travel insurance would be a good addition to ensure complete coverage of your device.
However, not all these insurance plans will cover mobile devices including tablets. For those that they cover, most have a deductible and a maximum limit per device. Other than theft, some may also cover electrical and mechanical failures, while some of them don’t.
So if you’re planning to get homeowners or travel insurance, you should check each policy to see what it specifically covers.
3. Top Reasons to Buy the Warranty & Protection Plan
Peace of mind. Even if you never use it. It just takes one incident of dropping your device out of your car and onto the hard concrete, accidentally leaning on it, something large and heavy falling on it, or dropping it in the bathtub or toilet bowl, and it’s worth it, especially if the alternative is a completely new purchase.
Your device’s LCD screen display can be fragile. People have claimed in Amazon’s own customer reviews, that LCD screens can be broken when they’re dropped three or even less feet to the floor, despite Amazon’s claim of durability on a very attractive YouTube video.
We tested it out ourselves and found that when dropped at three feet, an LCD screen can indeed shatter. Having a warranty for your device, then, may be necessary.
- The manufacturer warranty is insufficient. It doesn’t cover accidental damage and 12 months, the length of these warranties, is just too short.
- SquareTrade’s warranties are fully transferable when you gift your device and adds to its resale value. If you give away your Fire tablet or sell it, the warranty continues. Confidence in a product, as any salesperson will tell, adds value. This is something to take into consideration if you intend on upgrading your devices annually.
4. Top Reasons not to Buy the Warranty & Protection Plan
Amazon sells very good covers for electronic devices. A good protective cover provides plenty of protection if you’re carrying your device in a backpack, purse, suitcase, or briefcase.
However, it’s still different from what the insurance plan covers. For example, it won’t cover battery failure.
Peace of mind can be a trap. My dad taught me to take care of what I own, treat them well, and don’t break them. Most of the time, if you go around with that attitude, you’ll get a long life out of your devices. It’s true that if you have a back-up like an extended warranty, you tend to not take good care of your stuff.
Another word for this phenomenon is moral hazard. In other words, taking good care of your stuff may save you money so that you don’t have to purchase extended warranties.
5. Who should buy the SquareTrade Plan?
- The person who carries the tablet everywhere he or she goes, or the frequent traveler.
- The particularly accident-prone.
- Those who anticipate using their Fire tablet for more than one year, without reselling it or upgrading it, even after two or three years.
- Those who belong to certain categories. According to SquareTrade, these categories include people in large households, motorcycle riders, and homeowners with hardwood floors. Their risk of breaking a smartphone (and by extension, a tablet) is high.
- Those who can’t afford the cost of a new device should something happen.
6. Who should not buy the SquareTrade Plan?
- Those who are very careful with their devices, and who tend to rarely drop or otherwise damage the other portable electronic devices they own; i.e., laptops, smartphones, other tablets, cameras, etc.
- Those who use their tablet casually, or if it’s optional, or use their tablet as a secondary device, or if they don’t care if the device breaks.
So we’ve covered everything we believe you should consider, on whether you need the protection plan. To help you decide easily, here’s our recommendation:
If you are getting the Fire HD 6 or HD 7:
- If you’re getting the device for kids, go for the Kids bundle on Amazon for its added values. It comes with the protection plan, a good kid-proof case, as well as the Freetime Unlimited subscription.
- If you are not getting it for your kids, we don’t recommend you to buy this protection plan for these low-priced tablets. It’s better to get another low-priced tablet, probably a newer generation of Fire tablet, if this one breaks.
If you are getting the Kindle Fire HDX 7:
- We don’t recommend this protection plan. The protection plan is comparatively expensive.
If you are getting the Fire HDX 8.9:
- We recommend you to buy this protection plan, especially if you’ll use the HDX 8.9 as your main tablet and you plan on using it daily. That way, you can get a replacement ASAP should something happen to it.
- Amazon recommends the 3-year extended warranty, and we agree, since this product tends to last up to three years, anyway.
You can check the latest offers for the protection plans on Amazon here:
- Extended Warranty Plan for Kindle Voyage and Paperwhite?
- Fire HDX 8.9 4th generation vs Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
- Kindle Fire HDX vs Amazon Fire HD
- Fire HD 10 Review
- SquareTrade Warranty Review – Extended Warranties and Insurance For Gadgets & Electronics – Erik Folgate, Money Crashers
- iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 insurance: Should you get AppleCare or something else? – Allyson Kazmucha, iMore, October 21, 2014
- Skip the extended warranty use a good credit card instead – Jason Fitzpatrick, Lifehacker, November 23, 2010
- 11 hidden credit card perks – Melody Warnick, CreditCards.com, October 23, 2013
- When you should and shouldn’t buy an extended warranty – Aaron Crowe, U.S. News, December 19, 2013