Are Extended Warranties Worth The Money?

When you're about to purchase a big-ticket item such as a plasma TV, or even a fragile small item like a PDA, you're usually offered the chance to extend the manufacturer's warranty for a fee. But is this insurance really necessary or can it pay for itself? Do you have to sign up while you're signing on the dotted line? The Early Show's financial guru, Ray Martin, weighs the pros and cons of extended warranties.

A few years ago extended warranties were only offered on costly appliances and big-ticket items. But today, these "protection plans" are offered on just about any appliance or consumer electronics products you can buy.

For years, consumer advocates such as Consumer