Laptop Warranties: What To Know To Protect Your Tech

Computer repair service. Hardware support. Electronic technology. Cropped shot of technician fixing laptop cooler.

Key Points

  • Laptop warranties are always included with new laptops.

  • Laptop warranty coverage varies between one year to three years.

  • You void your laptop warranty by inappropriately handling your laptop.

When purchasing a shiny new laptop, laptop warranties are probably not the first thing on your mind. A laptop warranty is a promise from the laptop’s manufacturer that for a certain amount of time, they will cover specific issues like faulty parts. Warranties give you peace of mind that despite any problems, your laptop should operate properly and if it doesn’t, you don’t have to pay to get it repaired or – in some cases – replaced.

Before purchasing a new laptop, research the brand and find out what kind of warranty the device comes with. This will help you understand what to do if your new laptop stops working because of hardware issues after purchase. Read on to learn more about laptop warranties and what to expect from them.

Standard Laptop Warranty Coverage

You’ve heard talk of warranties but what exactly is a warranty and why should you care?

If you buy a new laptop, it should come with a warranty from the manufacturer. A warranty is a specified period of time following purchase in which the device is covered for certain kinds of damage or defects.

Laptop warranties vary by brand, but they usually all fall within the industry standard, meaning they cover the same things for a similar amount of time. Many warranties last one year, but sometimes they last up to three years depending on the manufacturer — that's a significant amount of time to use your laptop relatively stress-free!

According to the CEO of Ripple IT Mike Landman, "On average roughly 1 in 5 laptops fail in the first 3 years (1 in 3 if you include failures due to accidents)." That's why having a warranty is so important. But be sure to read the fine print: Most warranties that come with new laptops are limited warranties. This means they are limited to certain kinds of issues like manufacturer defects related to the hardware of the device and not necessarily damage from drops or spills.

Spilled coffee on an Apple Macbook

The standard limited warranty typically covers the cost of repair to defective parts of the device. This usually requires you to ship it back to the manufacturer so they can replace the parts. Your warranty stipulates that the manufacturer can replace damaged parts with the same parts or parts of a similar value — so be aware that you may not be getting the same part that the laptop originally came with.

If the manufacturer cannot repair the device and it is under warranty, they often offer a refund (minus depreciation of the product). Sometimes the warranty allows you to receive a new computer that’s of similar price and specifications.

How To Check Your Warranty

To perform a laptop warranty check, register your laptop with the manufacturer’s site. From there, it’s as simple as pulling up the manufacturer’s website and filling out a form on their "Check Warranty Status" page. You’ll need your device’s serial number or service tag to perform the check.

If you have trouble finding the right page, just Google the phrase “check warranty status” and the manufacturer’s name. Some manufacturers like Dell automatically identify what computer you are on and provide immediate access to your warranty information.

The "Check Warranty Status" page usually includes advertisements to buy more years of warranty – sometimes including additional warranties such as accident protection.

Repairs and Service

Warranties often offer specific services and repairs. They cover hardware issues that you, as the owner of the laptop, didn’t cause. Each warranty is different, so when you have an issue with your laptop, check your manufacturer’s warranty before attempting to send it in for repairs or replacement.

Common issues covered by most standard warranties are:

  • Keyboard malfunction

  • Modem problems

  • Monitor issues

  • Battery failure

Some manufacturer warranties offer hardware technical support in person, online, or via phone. This support diagnoses the device’s problem, resolves those problems, and reinstalls the factory-installed operating system and software if needed.

A laptop repair worker returns fixed hardware to consumer

Voided Warranty 

Beware! Warranties wind up voided for a variety of reasons. Every warranty provider specifies different things that void the warranty. Some companies void the warranty if the laptop is opened by the consumer or an uncertified technician.

Upgrading your laptop is one of the most common ways to void your warranty. Consumers often damage their laptops while upgrading things like the RAM or hard drive, so the company protects itself from having to cover damage by automatically considering the warranty void when a device is upgraded. You might want to add that extra storage space, but you’ll have to pay for any repairs needed when you do so.

Returning a Laptop

If you need to return your laptop for a full refund, most warranties stipulate that it must be within 30 days of purchase. Be sure to read your warranty carefully as some companies offer 90-day returns. That gives you more time to make sure your laptop works as it should.

If you’re returning your laptop to the manufacturer for repairs, your warranty provides you with specific return instructions and the shipping address. You don’t need to worry about the 30 or 90-day return policy but it must be shipped back within the timeframe the warranty covers otherwise you'll be forking over the cash for new parts.

Extended Warranties

Your manufacturer (or the store from which you bought your laptop) may offer you the opportunity to purchase an extended warranty after your original warranty runs out. An extended warranty is just what it sounds like — an addition to the warranty the computer comes with. Extended warranties are great for laptops in higher price ranges. However, never purchase a warranty that is 20% of the cost of the laptop; that’s simply too high a price tag.

If you're considering an extended warranty, it’s best to purchase it after the first warranty runs out. You waste precious dollars by buying an extended warranty that covers the same period as your free warranty.

International Warranty Coverage

If you’re traveling and need a laptop warranty in the UK or elsewhere around the world, an international warranty covers you. With an international warranty, you're able to take your laptop to a technician that's certified to handle repairs for that brand. Major brands like Dell have stores and easy access to technical support all around the world. Each manufacturer is different, however, so check out their website for more details on how you can protect your device abroad.

Laptop with broken screen visualization

How Different Brands' Warranties Compare

Every manufacturer offers a warranty‌, but not all warranties are equal. They are difficult – and frankly, pretty dry – to read and have complicated legal jargon that protects the manufacturer and promises things to the consumer. The most important question to answer when purchasing a laptop: What does your warranty cover?

To cut through some of the confusion, below you'll find more about specific brands and their general warranties.

Acer

Acer offers a variety of warranties based on the type of laptop you purchase. The company’s longest laptop warranty is two years for the Acer Predator brand. The other warranties offered for consumers are one-year limited warranties. 

Acer’s warranties cover product repair and allow you to choose whether to use a certified technician that falls within the warranty scope or send it to Acer to be fixed. Replacement of the product or product parts is also covered — pay attention here because the warranty states Acer can replace parts with the same item or one of comparable specs. If the device cannot be repaired, Acer will refund the cost (minus depreciation).

You pay shipping, insurance, taxes, fees, and anything else that may be associated with sending the device to Acer for repair. The company covers return shipping.

Apple

Apple warranties are best for consumers who live in areas where the Genius Bar is readily available. Otherwise, the laptop has to be shipped out of town, and while you're not responsible for shipping costs, it can take longer for the laptop to be returned to you. The warranty offers basic coverage against manufacturing defects, such as a faulty hard drive, faulty RAM, or faulty laptop fans.

Apple’s standard warranty doesn’t cover accidents, fire damage, water damage, or damages caused by repairs and upgrades by an unauthorized repair person. It also doesn't cover defective parts that Apple deems consumable, such as batteries, cosmetic damage, or damage caused by other products malfunctioning (such as mice, third-party accessories, and cables). 

You can always take your laptop to an Apple-authorized Genius Bar for repairs. The company also sometimes offers DIY repair services. Approach DIY repairs with caution. You will receive specific instructions, but if your laptop is damaged during a DIY repair, the damage is not covered under the warranty.

Wrenches lay on top of laptop computer

ASUS

If you have an ASUS laptop, the warranty period is listed on a label on the back of the device. ASUS provides warranties that last up to 36 months for defects in the laptop, but the battery may only be under warranty for 12 months. Be sure to read your warranty carefully for these small but important details.

ASUS warranties cover defects but do not include bundled accessories like cables, bags, external keyboards, or mice. The warranty only applies if you purchase a new laptop. When an ASUS service center handles repairs to your laptop, the replaced parts are under warranty for three months.

Depending on your purchase, ASUS may or may not cover shipping if the device needs to be sent in to the manufacturer. If the laptop is especially expensive, then ASUS will most likely cover shipping both ways. ASUS' warranties are void if the device is upgraded, and the warranty is void if the device is opened by an unauthorized person.

Dell

Dell laptop warranties are the standard one year from the purchase of a new computer or a 90-day limited warranty for refurbished devices.

The type of service offered under warranty may differ based on the type of computer that you’ve purchased. For example, if you have an Alienware laptop — Dell's premium gaming laptop — you will need a specific kind of service for its gaming-focused software which may cost more than a regular laptop. Alienware laptops typically require on-site service for any defects. If you have a regular laptop, you can simply ship it off to the manufacturer for repairs.

Dell pays to ship both ways for mail-in repairs or replacements. You can supply your own box or Dell will send you one. Dell allows you to upgrade the hard drive and RAM without voiding the warranty, but the damage incurred during the upgrade is not covered.

Hand holding a wrench reaches through laptop screen

Lenovo

Lenovo offers several standard warranty options based on the type of device purchased. The warranties also vary based on who pays the shipping cost when a device is sent in for servicing. Their standard warranty for the mainstream consumer is a one-year mail-in.

Lenovo’s warranty covers parts and labor, but accidental damage is not covered. If the defective part is self-repairable, Lenovo might opt to send you a part (such as a battery, RAM, or hard drive) with instructions for repair.

Lenovo allows you to upgrade the hard drive and RAM if neither bears a warranty seal. However, if there is a seal and it is broken, the warranty is void. Lenovo does not cover shipping and packaging when an item is mailed in to be serviced — it is your responsibility. 

MSI

MSI’s standard warranty is one year long, but specific parts have longer warranties like the motherboard and CPU.  Upgrading your RAM or hard drive will void the warranty.

For laptops, MSI offers two-year warranty coverage for the replacement of defective parts. MSI advises that you bring the device to the store you purchased it from so they can ship it to the company for servicing. You must, however, package the device yourself.

Toshiba

Toshiba’s warranty is nothing new, the typical one-year guarantee on parts and labor with no protection against accidental damage. If you need to ship your laptop for repairs, you’re responsible for shipping costs and packaging. However, Toshiba covers the cost of shipping it back to you. 

If you upgrade your hard drive or RAM, be sure not to break or remove the warranty sticker. Otherwise, the warranty is void.

Laptop owner throws up hands in frustration

Prepared For the Worst

Even though the legalese involved in laptop warranties seems scary, it’s important and protects your computer against manufacturer defects like a bad monitor, mousepad, or keyboard. The good news is laptop warranties usually follow an industry standard, protecting against the same issues and defects for similar periods.

Now that you’re prepared for any laptop mishap and understand whether your warranty covers said mishap, you can make an educated decision about sending it back for repairs, replacing it completely, or purchasing an extended warranty. Amazing Laptops has great reviews to help you decide which laptop is best for you.