Best answer: Given the (relatively) low entry price of the Mac mini, spending another $99 for Apple's extended warranty is a smart choice for the coverage that you get.
Protect your Mac: AppleCare+ for Mac mini ($99 at Apple)
What is Apple's standard warranty?
Like every Mac, the Mac mini comes with a standard warranty that offers limited coverage:
- One year limited hardware warranty
- 90 days of free technical support
If something isn't working right or your Mac's built-in apps aren't running as they're supposed to within the first three months that you own your Mac mini, you can call 1-800-APL-CARE and get help troubleshooting your issue over the phone.
If any part of your Mac mini fails in some way other than purposeful or accidental damage, including the RAM, storage, or power cord, Apple will repair or replace it.
For example, if the internal hard drive just fails in the first year, Apple will cover the cost to repair or replace it. If, however, you manage to step on the power cord of your Mac mini and send it flying hard into the wall, you're out of luck unless you have AppleCare+.
For an additional cost, you can add AppleCare+ and get additional coverage for longer. AppleCare+ for Mac mini includes:
- Three years limited hardware warranty
- Three years of technical support
- Coverage for two incidents of accidental damage (subject to a service fee of $99 for exterior enclosure damage or $299 for other damage)
You'll get technical support over the phone, over text chat, and in-store at your local Apple retail store for three full years. If you're having software issues with any built-in apps on your Mac, or the operating system itself, you can call 1-800-APL-CARE for assistance.
If your SSD fails after two-and-a-half years, AppleCare+ will have you covered.
So if you somehow launch your Mac mini off of your desk, and then later spill a lot of water on it, Apple will charge you either $99 or $299 for each of those incidents, depending on the type of damage the Mac mini sustained.
AppleCare+ service fee
If you go all-in with AppleCare+, your Mac mini is covered for two instances of damages caused by accidents, but there will be a fee, a hefty one in some cases. The standard service fee for accidents is:
- $99 for external enclosure damage
- $299 for other damage
How much does AppleCare+ cost?
If you want to purchase AppleCare+ protection for your Mac mini, you'll need to shell out an additional $99 on top of your purchase.
AppleCare+ vs. credit card benefits
Some credit card companies provide additional warranty protection when you make your purchase using their card. For example, American Express Gold has a decent warranty extension for up to five years in most U.S. states. Each credit card company is different and has different warranty benefits for some states.
If you like the warranty that your credit card company provides, it might be the alternative you need. Keep in mind, however, that credit card companies can't offer technical support, which is usually what Mac mini owners end up needing the most.
Check out your credit card company's warranty policy, and make sure you fully understand its benefits, before choosing it over AppleCare+.
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