Should I get Extended Warranty on my C-Arm?

What’s the biggest waste of money in the world?  I say Insurance… until you need the coverage.  Then it’s a saving grace, and you’re suddenly glad you’ve been paying all those years toward your insurance.  As you can imagine, an Extended Warranty or Service Contract for your C-Arm works identically.

There are 2 types of customers from my experience… Ones that insist of having a full 5 year Parts & Labor warranty in place for any purchase.  And then those who will never buy any warranty, no matter how enticing the deal may be.

Many studies & articles have shown that buying extended warranties on electronics doesn’t really payout since most electronics tend to last a while as long as it’s not a lemon.  And by the time you start having issues (3~4 years later), there are new models available, and you might be ready for an upgrade.  So yes… maybe skip on the extended warranty on your next electronics purchase.

But what about C-Arms?

Chances are, you rely on your C-Arm to run your practice!

And C-Arm technology doesn’t change as fast as your phone or TV.  A C-Arm you buy today and one you buy 5~6 years from now may be very similar, minus few small differences.  Given how critical it is for you to have a working C-Arm (compare to the minor inconvenience of having a TV with issues), it makes sense to extend the life of your C-Arm through proper maintenance & service contract,

But what about the cost?

Typically, the C-Arm warranty is priced at around 10% of your purchase price for one-year coverage.  And this can definitely add up.  (4~16K/year)  And having that for 5 full years (purchasing 4 years + 1st year included) can cost up to 40-50K!  That’s a LOT of money, especially if you’re buying a refurbished C-Arm, to begin with.

Here’s Jay’s Suggestion

Parts or Labor.  Believe it or not, labor costs tend to be more predictable when it comes to C-Arm service.  Biomed or C-Arm engineers are not cheap; however, you know how much they charge per day.  Or you can ask to find out.  However, it’s not as easy to figure out what parts cost will be since we can’t predict which parts will go bad first.  And while some common parts like screen or joint handle can only cost a few hundred, if failure comes from core parts like Camerica, Detector, Tube, etc., it can cost thousands!  So if you can, at least consider getting a parts warranty.

Multi-year Discount.  Ask if you’ll get a discount if you purchase multi-year upfront.  Customers who like to have a 5-year warranty often ask for a multi-year discount and financing the whole amount, making it easy to manage & making sure warranty coverage is available during the financing term.

Buying Refurbished?  Ask for at least a 1-year warranty.  This ensures that you have enough coverage while you have a chance to use the system and get used to it.  Plus, to make the system last at least a year, the refurbishing company will put in all the possible effort to refurbish the system correctly, versus a system that is sold with only a 30 day or few months warranty.

Lastly, ask if you can purchase an extended warranty later on.  Most companies will allow you to purchase an extended warranty before your warranty expires without any inspection, giving you options down the line.

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