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I've just taken the plunge & ordered a refurbished Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 lens. Refurbished & on sale, it's still expensive -- about as much as my T1i + other lenses put together! I think my primary usage warrants it, but this still makes me a bit tense.

The Canon warranty on refurbished products is just 90 days. In that time, I'll certainly play with it, try to test sharpness, etc., so I will hopefully feel confident it's not a lemon. But given that this is a small, valuable, highly portable item, is it worth getting a third-party warranty on it?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

It would help to know if you're an amateur or professional. If it's for professional/paid use then it should be listed on your insurance anyway. Insurance takes care of liability and equipment problems.

If you're an amateur then you might consider a personal articles policy for insuring your equipment. In the US camera equipment is not generally covered by homeowners or rental insurance. If you obtain third party insurance then it will cover not only damage but also theft and misuse. In my opinion, this is much more valuable than a third party warranty.

Here in the US a good option is a personal articles rider on your homeowner's insurance. You can cover a pretty significant dollar value of equipment for a small yearly fee.

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I'm an amateur, and this is just ("just") for kid pictures. We have a personal insurance rider for my wife's engagement ring, but haven't looked at covering cameras or computers that way yet. Thanks! – khedron Mar 22 '12 at 17:56
Yeah, it was a surprise for me, too, when I learned that homeowner's won't cover it by default. Same thing is true for coins, collectibles, and computers. – nwcs Mar 22 '12 at 18:16

It's a question of what the warranty covers and what you expect to need it for. IMO, 90 days is enough time for you to test the lens thoroughly enough to know it's not a lemon and to give it a work out.

If the extended warranty is -- like most warranties -- specifically to cover things like workmanship, I don't think it's worth it. After you've had enough time to verify the lens works as expected it should keep working, if properly cared for. If the AF stops working, for example, a warranty won't necessarily cover it. Maybe you dropped the lens or banged it against a wall, or maybe their is now sand in the assembly or water damage from taking it to the beach -- all things that an extended warranty will almost definitely not cover.

I would look at your homeowners/renters policy to see what coverage you have, and perhaps look into a photography equipment rider if you really want some protection.

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Homeowners policy - good idea. I know that didn't cover rented lenses, but ones I've bought may be different. – khedron Mar 22 '12 at 17:54
Right, the warranty covers defects in manufacture and design, workmanship, etc. It does not cover you shooting a football game and having a linebacker run into you, sending the camera into the concrete. – Pat Farrell Mar 23 '12 at 2:37

I don't think its worthwhile.

In 90 days, you can shoot lots of photos and see if the lens has any defects that impact your shooting.

Most of the time, third party warranties are just extra markup for the retailer who is selling it to you.

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In this case I'd be getting the warranty independently from SquareTrade, not sold through Canon. So, you think that the initial purchase conditions are basically the important ones? What about damage a year from now? Or is that not normally covered well? – khedron Mar 22 '12 at 16:15
Damage is never covered by a warranty. The warranty covers manufacturing defects. You may be interested in damage insurance, in case you drop it on concrete, etc. That is available and not too expensive. – Pat Farrell Mar 23 '12 at 2:35

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