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AppleCare and AppleCare+ covers much more than you may have thought

Extended warranties get a bad reputation for a good reason, since lots of them are ripoffs. They cost too much money for coverage that's either limited, or just not useful for the amount of time the warranty covers. Still they have their uses. You probably don't need one on your refrigerator, but unless you're made of money, it's a wise idea to get one for your major Apple products.

Almost every Mac user knows AppleCare+ covers repairs for accidental damage to the computers, tablets and smartphones you've purchased the plan for. (Correction: AppleCare doesn't cover accidental damage for computers. Only AppleCare+ for iOS devices covers these issues.) There is a minimal cost to replace broken iOS products, but it's significantly less than buying a new replacement. Of course, that basic coverage may not be enough to sell you on AppleCare+, but there's more to the service than just replacing cracked iPhone screens.

The most immediately useful feature of AppleCare+ for all users is the service coverage for important accessories. iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users with coverage are entitled to replacements for their USB chargers and cables, including EarPods should they glitch out during your two years of coverage. Sweaty joggers take note -- your service plan can help keep you in tunes once you've drowned your first pair of EarPods. MacBook Pro users will be happy to discover that their power adaptors are covered under regular AppleCare. If you purchase an Apple display along with your new MacPro or a Mac Mini, that display is also covered under your AppleCare warranty.

All of these things add up. New EarPods are $29, while a new MacBook Pro charger will set you back $79. When you add that extra value to the money you'll save on repairs, AppleCare becomes more than just another extended warranty. Beyond the physical help, AppleCare also provides users with 7:00AM to 10:00PM phone support. If you've bought an elderly relative a new iPad and don't have time to explain it to them, or perhaps you're just having issues setting up your new Mac Pro, then help is just a phone call away.

We understand the cynicism that surrounds buying an extended warranty -- we really do -- but Apple products are too expensive to leave to chance. Perhaps it now helps to know that the hard-earned dollars you spend on AppleCare also covers replacement of those expensive chargers and provides telephone support. Sometimes it pays to be a cynic when it comes to extended warranties for vacuum cleaners or blenders, but AppleCare+ provides exactly what is advertised, plus a little more you may not have known about.

Correction: The AppleCare phone number is not 24/7. We have updated the story with the hotline's proper hours.

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