October 29, 2008
Are Rod Warranties Worth the Price?
By Tim Romano & Kirk Deeter
You realize, of course, that when you buy a fly rod with a lifetime warranty, you're already paying for the replacement (at least in part), whether you break it or not. Here's roughly how the math works: Say the purchase price of the rod is $500. Well, the real price of production, including the wholesale-to-retail markup, etc., might really be about $325. So the extra $175 is the insurance policy you buy, whether you want it or not. Say on average, one in every three rods sold gets broken and replaced. That leaves $350 in the kitty (from the other two unbroken rods) to cover the $325 replacement. The rod company wins, just like the insurance company always wins. Now, that's very rough math, but you get the point. And I'm not necessarily saying that's a bad thing... goodness knows I've busted many rods (in my experience some companies are clearly better than others in living up to their replacement promises, but that's another post for another day)... so I'd probably buy the insurance policy if I were given a choice.
But would you? What if you could accept or decline the rod warranty? Like you do when you buy a television or a computer... you can buy the extended warranty, or not. Would you rather pay much less on the sticker price, sans warranty? Or would you pony up for peace of mind?