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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Do you have any high tech gadgets on your holiday shopping list? If it’s a big ticket item you might be tempted to buy an extended warranty. But how do you know if they’re worth the cost? 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan has a look at some things you should consider before you spend any extra money.

Extended warranties might promise added insurance but Amanda Smith says they don’t usually pay off for her.

“Every time I do get some type of warranty, when something breaks it’s actually never covered,” said Smith.

Generally, a warranty is issued by a manufacturer and ensures the product you’ve purchased will be free of defects for a certain amount of time.

“I think most of the times what you’re actually buying when you go into an electronic store is a service contract even though it’s called an extended warranty,” said Michele Ashamalla with MomLogic.com

Ashamalla recommends going online to check out the dates on the manufacturer’s warranty.

Chances are the protection that comes with the product could overlap with an extended warranty. Look into your credit card protection too.

“If you purchase a service contract for two years or past the manufacturer’s warranty you may realize that the credit card you use also gives you that same year free,” said Ashamalla.

Also, see if the extended warranty covers parts and labor.

Fine out whether you’ll have to spend money to ship your product for repairs and find out exactly what it covers

In some cases these warranties can pay off. Elizabeth Vargas relies on them when she makes purchases.

“Oh I always get the extended protection. I bought a refrigerator and thank God I bought the extended warranty because otherwise I would have been really stuck with it,” said Elizabeth Vargas, who regularly buys warranties,” said Vargas.

But you don’t always have to buy them right away.

Sometimes there’s a period after purchase in which you can still get the extended warranty. This way you can take the time to determine if it’s right for you.

“Electronic stores are making a lot off of those service contracts and that’s not to say you shouldn’t buy them, that’s just to say that you should really think about them,” said Ashamalla.

A recent consumer reports survey found… Most products from reliable manufacturers don’t break down during the warranty period.

Watch the video…

However, when you make your decision, you should factor in how much wear and tear the item might get.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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