If you just got a shiny new Apple iPad 2, we recommend getting some protection for the thing. We’re not talking about a case, but a warranty or insurance plan to cover it in case of accidental damage or malfunction. While Apple covers manufacturing defects for the first year, they don’t cover accidental damage like drops or spilling liquids on it.
Check out our iPad 2 Review
Immediately after you buy your iPad from Apple they will try to up-sell you on Apple Care saying, “Hey it’s only a few bucks a month and extends your warranty.” They will make you think that it covers most of the problems you might have. But just read Xavier Lanier’s story in which he covered this issue with the iPhone 4 last month. Things like water damage are not covered, as he found out with a MacBook ending up in a $1000 repair bill one month after purchase. Drop your iPad in the sink or leave it on a table where someone spills a Coke and you are out of luck with Apple Care or your Apple Warranty, even after spending the $80 on the plan.
For those who buy at Best Buy, the temptation to purchase their extended warranty is big because they promise you that they will cover accidental damage. Sit on your iPad accidentally and crack the screen? Covered! But at a cost. For a $500 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad 2 the additional year from the “Black Tie Protection Plan” is $109. That’s not too bad. There is a nice list of benefits you but the only valuable ones are the extended warranty and the accidental damage protection. The last one is not even part of the cheaper plan. You will pay above the $109. So again, we cannot recommend it.
If you have an American Express Card, one option is to pay with the card, even if you don’t need or want to finance it. They offer extra coverage on electronics purchased with the card. For example they typically extend the warranty for an additional year. To learn more check out their website.
Check with your home insurance policy if you have one. The insurer might cover it as part of your home insurance. Even if they don’t, they will likely offer a computer warranty on it for less than Apple Care costs.
But your best bet, if your insurance won’t cover it or you don’t have an American Express Card, is to go with our final recommendation – SquareTrade. They offer insurance for products you buy anywhere. And they are usually pretty inexpensive and cover accidental damage so long as it is not intentional. Throw your iPad at a wall out of anger and your out of luck. Drop it while using it from a tall building and your golden with SquareTrade.
Notice above we got a quote on the most expensive iPad 2 that money can buy. It only costs $95.99 for a two year warranty. It includes accidental damage and their Buy Back plan, which will give you a fraction of what you could get on eBay or Craigslist. They Buy Back portion is honestly not a good deal unless you are desperate for money and don’t want to bother with selling it. But the other coverage makes it easily worth the cost.