Kindle eReaders – Do you need the Warranty & Accident Protection?

After doing research on the internet and getting advice from friends and family, you’re buying a Kindle, a Kindle Paperwhite, or a Kindle Voyage. It already comes with a one-year protection warranty, but should you purchase any additional protection?

 

1. What is the Plan?

Who is the Warrantor? – SquareTrade

SquareTrade, which was founded in 1999, is a trusted company that sells warranties for Kindle e-readers and other electronic gadgets. It has consistently been given high marks in Amazon’s customer reviews. USA Today has given the company high ratings as well, stating that it is one of the top-rated warranty plan providers in the country.

 

What Do These Warranties Cover?

These plans cover all the most common accidents that occur with e-readers: from accidentally putting it in your washing machine, to dropping it on the ground, or even damage from your toddler getting a hold of it.

All devices like e-readers lose battery capacity as they get older, but SquareTrade will pay to replace your battery if your battery drops below 50% of its original life. The company will also cover your device if it breaks down under normal usage.

However, SquareTrade only covers hardware and whatever needs to be replaced. It won’t cover intentional damage, loss, or theft, or any issues with the device’s software. For any software issues, you’ll have to report them to Amazon.

 

Difference from Manufacturer’s Warranty

See below for a comparison between the manufacturer’s warranty and SquareTrade’s:

Coverage TypeYear 1Additional Years Purchased
Drops & Spills CoverageSquareTrade's Kindle Protection Plan onlySquareTrade's Kindle Protection Plan only
Normal-use FailureManufacturer's WarrantySquareTrade's Kindle Protection Plan only
Loss or TheftNot covered by either planNot covered by either plan

 

What Happens When I Need to Make a Claim?

The most important thing to know is that shipping is free.  If you need a replacement, SquareTrade will send one to you immediately, without any charge. SquareTrade will also pay for the shipping fee for returning your damaged e-reader. You’ll be given 30 days to ship your damaged e-reader back, and you can make up to three claims.

 

Anything Else I Need to Know?

You can cancel your warranty within 90 days after your purchase and you’ll receive a full refund. If you cancel after 90 days, SquareTrade will give you a refund but it will be pro-rated.

The warranty travels in case you give your device to someone else, or re-sell it. A maximum of three claims can be made, during the coverage period of the warranty.

 

2. Things to Consider

Customer Service

We found that most customers are satisfied with the service SquareTrade provides. For example, this Amazon customer reported that she received her replacement device within a few days. Such review seems to be typical among the customer reviews for SquareTrade on Amazon.

 

Price of the Warranty versus the Price of the Product

According to the Service Contract Industry Council, a national trade association for the protection of consumer rights, most extended warranties on the market are 10 to 20 percent of the sales price. As a result, unless it’s really necessary, we recommend not buying any protection plan that costs more than 20 percent of the purchase price of the product

The price of the warranty for the 3G model is the same as for the Wi-Fi only model, meaning that you’ll pay the same price to protect a more expensive product. Therefore, the warranty for Amazon’s more expensive models, or for the 3G model of any device, is a good buy.

Another way to think of it is as if you’re paying a monthly protection fee. For a 2-year protection plan, you just need to divide the warranty fee by 24 and then you can decide whether it is worth to pay a few dollars each month to protect your device.

Some customers thought that there was no protection plan for the 3G model, but actually the same plan for non-3G model covers the 3G model as well according to the Amazon customer.

 

Theft

You may buy travel, homeowners, or renters insurance if you want to cover theft of your e-Reader. Not all insurance plans cover mobile devices like e-Readers, though.  Many insurance companies require you to pay a deductible and have a maximum limit per device coverage.  Some companies may cover mechanical and electrical failure as well.

 

Which is Better: Replacing or Fixing?

If you fancy yourself a “do-it-yourselfer”, or DIY-er, fixing your device may be the way to go, but keep in mind that any repairs you make will void your warranty. Click here for instructions for fixing different Kindle models, including the prices of the tools you’ll need and the replacement parts.

You can also hire someone to repair your e-Reader, but this can be quite expensive.

 

Credit Company Coverage

Most credit companies often already provide extra warranties for their products.  Although their warranties don’t tend to cover as much as SquareTrade, many companies double the manufacturer’s warranty anyway. This means that depending on your card, you may get one additional year of warranty coverage for free, since many companies double the manufacturer’s warranty.

For example, when you purchase a Kindle with an American Express card, you get one more year of protection.  AMEX’s extended warranty starts after the original warranty ends, which could double your coverage. We found that VISA and Master Card (Titanium, Platinum and World) offer similar protection, although with different terms.

However, if the manufacturer’s warranty states that it won’t cover something, your credit card won’t cover it either. For example, Amazon doesn’t cover damage caused by water, so your credit card company also won’t cover it. If you want to make a claim after the extended warranty begins, you have to submit it to your credit card company, not to the manufacturer.

Keep in mind that credit card companies tend to require more documentation than SquareTrade. They also tend to reimburse you after you repair or replace it yourself. Expect to fill out more paperwork than if you submitted a claim to SquareTrade, and to provide evidence that your purchase was damaged. You’ll most likely have to wait a few weeks for a replacement to arrive as well. You can check here for more information.

 

3. Why You Should Buy the Protection Plan

  • The manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t cover accidental damage. Plus, the length of these warranties—just 12 months—isn’t enough.

  • SquareTrade’s warranties are fully transferable if you sell or give your Kindle away. In other words, your warranty will continue. This provides confidence, which also adds to the re-sell value. It’s always something to think about, especially if you upgrade your Kindle every year.

  • Most importantly—peace of mind, even if you never use your warranty. It takes just one accident to make a warranty worth it, especially if it means you have to buy a replacement.

 

4. Why You Shouldn’t Buy the Protection Plan

  • A good cover provides plenty of protection from scratches, it also adequately protects your device when you carry it in a suitcase, backpack, or purse. Though not all covers provide equally good protection, you have to choose your cover wisely.

    We checked the Customer Review of the covers recommended by Amazon for each Kindle device, and found that the recommended cover for Paperwhite offers good protection, but we cannot say the same for the recommended covers for the basic Kindle and the Voyage on Amazon. Be sure to read their reviews before making your choice on which cover to get.

    Nevertheless, buying a cover is not a replacement of buying an insurance plan.  A cover can only protect from scratches and small falls, while an insurance plan protects everything from battery failure to fall damage. 

  • We were all taught since we were a child, that we should treat everything we own with care. Perhaps if we lived out those lessons, our stuff would last much longer. It’s true that if we have a back-up like an additional protection plan, we tend to not be as careful. In that case we wouldn’t have to waste our money buying replacements as often, and we wouldn’t throw away as much.

    It’s also the right thing to do. Remember that we’re stewards of everything we own, and that we’ve been given the responsibility to take care of all the earth, even small, handheld devices we use every day.

 

5. Who Should Buy the Extended Warranty?

  • Those who carry the e-Reader everywhere they go, or the frequent traveler.
  • Those who are prone to accidents and those who can’t afford to purchase a replacement.
  • Those who plan to use their e-Reader for over a year.
  • Those who belong to certain categories. According to SquareTrade, these categories include the following: people who are members of large families, homeowners with hardwood floors, and motorcycle riders.

 

6. Who Shouldn’t Buy the Extended Warranty?

  • Those who take good care with their e-Readers—those who don’t, as a rule, drop or damage their devices.
  • Those who use their e-Readers casually or rarely.

 

7. Verdict

Based on what we’ve covered thus far, here are our recommendations about purchasing a warranty for your e-Reader:

  • For the Basic Kindle, we don’t recommend buying a protection plan because it’s not worth it to buy protection for an inexpensive device. If you want to buy a basic Kindle for your children, you should purchase the Kindle for Kids Bundle, which already includes a two-year warranty.
  • For the Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Voyage, we suggest you only purchase the protection plan if you choose their 3G model. If you’re buying the Wi-Fi only versions of these models, don’t buy a warranty.
  • Nevertheless, purchasing a warranty is a good idea if you plan to use your device daily, or at least very often. That way, you can get a replacement immediately if your e-Reader is damaged.

 

You can check the latest offers for the protection plans on Amazon here:

 

A Parting Note: “To find what you seek in the road of life, the best proverb of all is that which says: “Leave no stone unturned.” – Edward Bulwer Lytton

 

 

 


Further Reading

You might be interested in the following articles too:

 


Further References

  1. Are extended product warranties worth the money?Michael Haltman, MoneyCrashers.com
  2. SquareTrade Warranty Review – Extended Warranties and Insurance For Gadgets and ElectronicsErik Folgate, MoneyCrashers.com

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