With the current economy, many consumers are concerned about costly repairs, especially when purchasing a big-ticket item such as a flat screen television, appliances or other electronics.  Sales of extended warranties on computers, for example, are on the rise, according to the Service Contract Industry Council, a trade association. 

Extended warranties usually cost between 5 and 20 percent of the purchase price of the product, but most experts agree they are not worth the cost.  Why?  Most manufacturers' standard warranty includes labor for 90 days and parts for six months to a year and covers most repairs.  According to Consumer Reports, most products don't break down within the timeframe that extended warranties cover (usually 2-3 years after the standard warranty expires).  You need to weigh the cost of fixing an item versus the cost of the extended warranty. 

Don't forget to check with your credit card company to see whether it offers extended protection.  Some companies offer to extend or even double a standard warranty at no additional cost if you charge the purchase of the item on your credit card.