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Laptop Warranties Explained

Written by Jared on April 18, 2011

Laptop with smashed screen.Before you shell out hundreds of dollars for that new shiny laptop, check the fine print on the warranty. Do you know what is covered, and more importantly, what isn’t? If you laptop breaks in a country other than the one you bought it in, will the warranty cover the repair costs?

In many cases, laptops aren’t sold with international warranties. Manufacturers are getting better at it, but the devil is in the details. An international warranty that requires the repair be performed in the country you bought it in is not much help. Neither is being stuck in a country without a “certified” repair shop.

It’s smart to check whether your laptop is sold in the countries you’ll be visiting. Even if there are certified technicians, they may have to order parts if the laptop isn’t available in that country. If it isn’t sold locally chances are you’ll have to ship it off to be repaired and you may be forced to pay import taxes after it's sent back to you.

What does your warranty cover?

In most cases is this simple. If your laptop hardware is defective, the warranty-holder will pay for the cost of replacement parts and service fees.

What doesn’t it cover?

Not as simple to answer. It certainly won’t cover the loss or damage of your programs or files. Most warranties don’t cover damage caused by you or someone else, but you can usually buy accidental damage coverage for an extra fee. This may include theft or loss insurance as well, but you should assume the loss or theft of your laptop is not part of the standard warranty.

Certain parts of your laptop my have different warranty coverage terms. For example: your laptop battery may not be covered at all, your hard drive for under a year and dead pixels on your screen for 30 days. Check the fine print!

There are also ways you can void your warranty. It varies by manufacturer, but in some cases if you open, modify or otherwise upgrade your laptop, it may void the warranty unless you’re a “certified technician”. Manufacturers put tiny stickers on the inside of your laptop that tear when you remove certain parts, you won’t know until it’s too late. To be safe, if it’s not in the manual that came with your laptop, assume it may void your warranty and seek advice from the manufacturer before proceeding.

Manufacturer, Retail and Third-party Warranties

A manufacturer warranty is a guarantee given by the company that made the laptop. A retail warranty is a guarantee given by the company that sells the laptop. For example: if you buy a new Asus laptop at Best Buy, you may have a one year manufacturer warranty from Asus and the option to buy an additional retail warranty from Best Buy to extend the warranty coverage.

When shopping for a new laptop, you absolutely need at least a one year manufacturer’s warranty. Half of all laptop defects occur within the first year. Anything less than a one year warranty is asking for trouble, the machine may be refurbished or otherwise unreliable.

Whether or not you choose to extend the warranty, either by paying the manufacturer or the retail store is up to you. Retail warranties may come with perks like in-home repair or accidental coverage, but force you to have your laptop serviced only by that retail outlet. I’ve never paid for a retail warranty and never will. I would rather pay for 2 or 3 year manufacturer extended warranties. You can always buy extended warranties from the manufacturer within 30 or 60 days of purchase.

Your last option is a third-party warranty. This means you buy a warranty from a company that neither builds nor sells the laptop. I would never, ever go for this. Avoid third-party warranties like the plague! These companies exist to make money. They pay nearly the same cost you would to repair a laptop without a warranty, so they will resort to any means necessary to screw you out of your money. Most won’t even cover a repair that costs more than you pay them for the warranty.

Laptop Manufacturer Warranties

Disclaimer: This information is current as of April 2011 and applies to new laptops bought in the U.S. Warranty availability and details change all the time. Check with your manufacturer before buying!

Apple logoApple

Apple offers a one year limited warranty with all laptops. It can be extended by purchasing an AppleCare Protection Plan up to 3 years. All coverage is international. Repairs must be performed by a certified technician which may be rare in certain countries, especially in parts of Asia, Africa, Mexico and Central/South America. If you can’t repair locally, you must mail your laptop home for repair and potentially pay import taxes when you get it back.

Apple's Warranty Policy

Dell logoDell

One year basic service warranty for most new laptops. Option to add up to 3 more years of basic or in-home service, as well as accidental coverage on most models. International coverage is available, but only if you purchase the three year next day on-site extended warranty. Furthermore, if you are outside the country of purchase for more than six months you must file an International Ownership Transfer Form to notify Dell that the laptop should be serviced where you currently reside.

Dell International Service Plan
Dell Next Business Day On-site Warranty
Dell International Ownership Transfer Form

Asus logoAsus

By far the best warranty in the business. Asus offers a one or, more typically, two year global warranty on all new laptops AND one year of accidental coverage. A similar offer from other manufacturers would cost over $200. This is a big reason my last laptop was an Asus. Service centers are pretty much everywhere, and there is little hassle involved with relocating out of country. Asus also offers warranty extensions up to three years from the date of purchase.

Asus Online Service Center

Lenovo logoLenovo

One year basic warranty on all new laptops. With options to add up to 3 more years of basic, on site or next business day coverage. Support for an international warranty varies depending on the model, whether it was bought pre-configured from a reseller or directly from Lenovo (the later usually having the better warranty) and whether it is available in the country you are visiting. See the link at the bottom of this section for a website you can use to look up availability based on your specific laptop. If support is not available at your destination, you will have to ship your laptop to the nearest shop that can perform the repair.

Lenovo's Warranty and License Agreement
Lenovo's International Warranty Fine Print
Lenovo International Warranty Service - Service Availability per Country

Toshiba logoToshiba

One year standard warranty included with new laptops. Option to add up to two more years of basic or on site coverage. Without a doubt Toshiba has the worst international warranty. Technically, the one year standard warranty is international, but any additional warranties purchased will only be valid in the country the laptop is purchased. This means you will have to ship your laptop back home for repair. Complaints and poor customer service stories are all over the place, and getting clear information from Toshiba seems to be impossible without repeated telephone calls.

Toshiba's Online Support Center

Fujitsu logoFujitsu

One year is standard, with options to increase the warranty to four years. You can additionally purchase four year on site service and accidental damage coverage for up to three years on select models. All warranties are international, although this varies depending on where you buy the laptop and who you buy it from. The standard “depot” warranty requires you to mail your laptop to the nearest repair facility. Contact Fujitsu for availability of service centers and information about your specific warranty coverages, there isn't much detailed information available online.

Fujitsu Warranty Terms

HP logoHP

One year warranties are standard on most laptops. Like other manufacturers, HP offers an array of warranty add-ons to cover accidental damage, and extensions up to 3 years. I haven’t had any luck finding HP’s specific international warranty process. They do state that most laptops sold after 1999 have a global warranty that is valid in over 150 countries. However there are conflicting reports online. Some say that only business models are covered internationally. One thing is certain, if your model isn’t sold locally, you won’t be able to have it repaired locally.

HP Total Care Warranty Information
HP Product Warranty Check


#6 Kobus 2013-08-19 04:18

I recommend contacting the ASUS warranty department. Because some manufacturers will void the warranty if you modify or otherwise upgrade your laptop.

Contact them to be sure, and then let us know how things turned out. we would love to update the article.
#5 Kelly 2013-08-19 03:27
I bought an ASUS laptop last year on July 10 so that means the warranty expires this year on the 10 of July. But my laptop was damaged before that date but I haven't had time to bring it in to get repaired until now. If I can prove to them that it was damaged and I tried to get it fixed with someone else but then things did not work out, would they still repair my laptop under warranty?
#4 Bharath 2013-02-10 22:01
Fantastic that you cover the issue of warranties - ultimatley laptops are extensions of our brain to help us to work, and minor stuff like how shiny it is are almost irrelevant after the first couple of weeks. Having a decent warranty to get stuff fixed fast is vital! So even though I am no fan of Dell, their ready responses in the UK and India, make me go back to them to buy stuff, though I want the "sexier" laptops from others......:-(
#3 Juergen 2012-12-27 04:17
One of my reasons to buy an ASUS (3rd in row!) is their warranty.
BUT, and that's a BIG But: the only time I needed the warranty ASUS had absolutely no distribution or service anywhere in Central America (back in 2007; I don't know if this has changed now). I lugged a laptop with problems all the way to Colombia...
But ASUS also makes solid well designed notebooks, which usually outlast competitor's = my other reason to stick with this brand.
Jared McCaffree
#2 Jared McCaffree 2012-08-09 17:29
Hi Joel,

I'm almost certain that you can buy an extended warranty from Asus at any point before your first year expires. However I think that the warranties will only be good from the date of purchase. So if you buy two extra years it will last three years from the date you bought the laptop, not two years from the date you bought the warranty.
#1 Joel 2012-08-08 12:23
Hi there,

I have bought an asus laptop from my country and it had an option of extended local warranty of 1-2 yrs over the 1year manufacturers global warranty. I am leaving the country in 6 months so is it possible to buy an assus local warranty from the new country while its still under the 1yr warranty period

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