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Should I Get An Extended Warranty For My Treadmill or Elliptical?

If you are thinking of buying an extended warranty for your exercise equipment, here are the things you need to help you decide.

The first thing to determine is if it's even legal. The sale of extended warranties is prohibited in Vermont. Florida prohibits their sale except from licensed brokers, which means that manufacturers, stores, and online sellers based in other states will rarely sell them there. The legislatures in these states made the sale of extended warranties illegal because shady outfits in several industries overcharged and underdelivered. The warranties almost always come from the manufacturer, not the retailer so buying only brand names avoids most problems in other states. The store or website just passes the warranty on to the customer.

What Does Does An Extended Warranty Cover?

It is also important to understand what a warranty covers. Typically, particular parts will be covered for particular lengths of time. For example, treadmill frames and motors will likely have long warranties, up to "lifetime." Lifetime means the lifetime of the purchaser. Of course, what that tells you is that you’re not likely to have a problem with the frame or motor so it’s probably not worth getting an extended warranty just for just those parts. Parts and labor warranties are shorter and more likely to be needed.

Because treadmills have more intricate parts than ellipticals, they usually have more service needs than ellipticals. Thus, for treadmills, you really need your warranty to cover "parts and labor." That's where the extended warranty really makes sense. It costs a significant amount of money for any skilled technician to fix anything these days and you can save a lot of money by not having to pay one. The best warranties are "in-home service programs" that will get a technician to come to your home to fix your machine for no additional cost. That saves you the hassle of having to bring the equipment somewhere.

So should you buy an extended warranty? It helps to think of an extended warranty as being like an insurance policy. You hope you don’t need it, but it may be better to buy it anyway and it makes you feel good to have it. You can feel even better buying it when you realize that the insurance company and equipment manufacturers do a lot of research to figure out that spread out over a number of sales, they will make money selling you these agreements. That means they believe that, in the case of an inexpensive warranty (about $100 warranty, like the kind you can get at it less likely than not that a given machine will need $100 or more in service. Based on that factor alone, it seems the buyer should take the same bet as the manufacturer and not buy an extended warranty.

The missing important elements are the cost and quality of the equipment. As with other products, more expensive machines tend to be higher quality. It first seems that it makes more sense to protect your greater investment in a higher priced machine buy buying the warranty. However, higher cost machines tend to cost no more to repair than lower cost machines and they may even be less likely to need repair. The best overall value may be to buy a lower-priced machine with an extended warranty. That way, you insure against most quality problems, while laying out relatively little money.



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