When you buy a rod with a lifetime guarantee, you're really buying that rod and a built-in insurance policy. Say a rod company figures one out of every three rods sold comes back broken at some point. Sell consumers 1.33 rods, and the risk is minimized... or sort of. Despite passing the risk/cost on to consumers, and despite having jacked up the "processing fees" to fix broken rods in the past few years (it can now cost $50 or more to get your "free" rod replacement), a lot of the big companies still lose millions a year on rod warranties. One industry insider I talked with (whose company eats about $2 million a year replacing broken rods) said that the rod warranty is still one of the biggest disasters ever to hit the fly rod world. And I'm not sure most consumers even like it.