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Turns out: Apple offers prorated AppleCare refunds

Glenn Fleishman | Oct. 14, 2015
Did you know you can get a partial refund from unused portions of AppleCare and AppleCare+? Neither did we.

The most particular advantage is that if you get a battery that starts to sputter during the coverage period, charging no more than 80 percent of its capacity, the plan covers its replacement.

Consumer advocates typically advise never purchase extended warranties. The price ranges from $99 for an iPhone 6/6 Plus for AppleCare+ up to $349 for a MacBook Pro. If something goes wrong in year two for a mobile or years two or three for a Mac or similarly covered equipment, will it pay back all those costs across multiple warranties you purchase?

If you own enough hardware, on average it should not. I have never, ever taken the offered and super-expensive rental-car insurance that is mostly profit for those companies. Over many years of car rentals, I’ve saved thousands of dollars, and thus any future accident not covered by the limits of my own insurance policy will still leave me ahead. (Pro tip: Many premium credit cards with annual fees include a variety of free rental-car insurance when used to pay for the rental.)

However, I’ve always bought AppleCare for laptops. The one time I forgot to do so in time, I had a $300 repair (AppleCare was $249) in its third year. On other covered laptops, I’ve sometimes had the equivalent of thousands of dollars of “free” repairs for particularly troublesome models, one heading back to the Apple shop at least three times that I can recall. I also typically buy AppleCare+ for iPhones, and it’s paid off with nearly every model I’ve kept for more than a year. For desktops, it’s never seemed worthwhile, and I’ve never had a problem within three years I couldn’t fix cheaply myself.

AppleCare can seem like a plus when selling a used piece of hardware, because the buyer gets the assurance that anything non-obvious about the device they are purchasing is likely a defect that would be repaired for free. It’s an extra bit of good luck. This is why I wouldn’t retroactively change my behavior or my advice: I’ve either used the warranty for a repair past the first year; owned the hardware past the warranty period’s end; or used its remaining months as a feature when selling a device.

But if your Mac has bit the dust because someone hit it with a baseball bat, you’re trading in an iPhone to a carrier for an upgrade, or you’ve lost equipment entirely, refunding AppleCare makes a lot of sense.

 

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