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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- This is always the big question at the time you buy something: Should I buy an extended warranty? Is it worth it and what does it really cover?

First of all, you should know that stores typically make a 50 percent profit on selling you these, which is why they are pushed at you in the first place. It's about selling you something, not protecting the product you just bought. Consumer Reports says that many products are made to be reliable and if they don't break during the standard warranty, they probably won't break during the extended warranty period either.

If you do decide to buy one of these extended warranties, it is critical that you read the fine print, because sometimes sales people will exaggerate what's covered to make the sale.

For example, note the date the warranty takes effect. Consumer Reports found that some extended warranties were dated at the time of purchase, which means the extended warranty you just bought is running concurrent with the manufacturer's warranty that comes with the item. So make sure it starts from the point that the manufacturer's warranty ends.

Don't feel pressured into buying one of these at the time of purchase. Ask if you can do your research and buy it in a week. That way you have some time to look into it and some time to read what it actually covers.

Click the link above to read much more of the research done by Consumer Reports.

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