Luck of the Irish or Extended Warranty? Technology Early Adopters First to Protect Devices

Mar 14, 2012, 08:30 ET from Assurant Solutions

ATLANTA, March 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For millions of consumers, grabbing the hottest new device before it turns cold may feel like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That's why throngs of people reserve the latest technology before it hits store shelves or wait in long lines to be the first to buy, own and experience.

These early adopters, as described by Forrester Research, are primarily driven by three primary factors: risk taking (a desire for new experiences), information gathering (researching and sharing advice) and status seeking (social envy).

Still, according to a new survey sponsored by Assurant Solutions, early adopters tend not to rely on Irish luck to protect their new purchases. At least 49 percent of respondents who consider themselves early adopters said they always purchase an extended warranty when offered. The sooner a consumer adopts new technology, the more likely they are to have purchased at least one warranty, the survey revealed. In fact, 91 percent of early adopters had purchased at least one warranty for consumer electronics or a major appliance, compared to 71 percent of early followers and 63 percent of those who wait to see how the technology performs.  

Early adopters are always first in line to pick up a product, and they are willing to pay a premium to be at the head of the technological curve, said Joe Erdeman, president of Assurant Solutions' extended service contract business. Likewise, he said, they understand that the latest gadget may malfunction and have a shorter life span than the versions that follow.

"Today's new consumer electronics and appliances have become more sophisticated and therefore more difficult to self repair," he said. "Early adopters and other consumers rely on extended service plans as a safeguard if there's a problem after the manufacturer's warranty expires."

Extended service contracts were most often purchased for flat panel or high-definition TVs, desktop computers, laptops, notebook or netbook computers, as well as appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators or freezers.  The plans generally cover normal wear and tear plus accidental damage beyond what is provided by the product the manufacturer's warranty, many of which only last 90 days.

"If I love this thing so much, and it's still going to be the love of my life in 90 days, I'll go ahead and protect my investment," said Rod Allen, a Nashville, TN software developer who once dropped and cracked the screen of his latest Android smartphone shortly after purchase.

Allen reluctantly describes himself as an early adopter, yet he reviews the latest releases and researches performance reports. If the device meets his needs, runs his applications and satisfies his specifications, then he buys. And he often protects with an extended warranty.

Extended warranties also offer 24-hour technical support, remote diagnostics, product installation and online data backup coverage. These services are critical to the early adopter especially during an initial release.

"If it's going to be the latest for a while, then I have to be relatively confident in its longevity," said Allen. "That's where the extended warranty comes into play."

Assurant Solutions issues customized plans for consumer electronics, appliances, jewelry and other products that extend service well beyond the manufacturer's warranty. The plans provide millions of customers with the assurance of knowing their products can be repaired or replaced.

About the Survey
The survey was conducted by a third party on behalf of Assurant Solutions.

About Assurant Solutions
Assurant Solutions businesses develop, underwrite, market and administer specialty insurance, extended service contracts and other risk management solutions through collaborative relationships with leading financial institutions, retailers, automobile dealers, funeral homes, manufacturers, wireless carriers and other entities. With operations in 25 locations, including executive offices in Atlanta, Assurant Solutions serves clients and their customers in 12 countries throughout North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Assurant Solutions is also part of Assurant, a premier provider of specialized insurance products and related services in North America and worldwide markets. Assurant, a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AIZ. Assurant has approximately $27 billion in assets and $8 billion in annual revenue. Assurant has approximately 14,000 employees worldwide and is headquartered in New York's financial district.

SOURCE Assurant Solutions