I worked as a technical support agent for DirecTV for 2 years, learning the ins and outs of all things associated with DirecTV.
Are You Wasting Money on a DirecTV Protection Plan?
If you have DirecTV, you probably have the protection plan that they provide. This protection plan is offered to all new customers during the sign-up process. Since it only costs an additional $8 per month, most people opt to have the service on their account without ever really knowing what it is for or protects. As a former DirecTV customer service technician, I encountered many calls that ended up in having to explain what the protection plan covered, so maybe this will save you a little time during your next call to DirecTV.
Who Provides the Protection?
As stated before, the protection plan is offered to each customer when they originally sign up for DirecTV. This service, however, is not owned by DirecTV/AT&T. The company that actually provides the warranty service is Asurion or rather NEW Asurion. NEW Asurion is a subsidiary of Asurion Inc., that specifically deals in DirecTV warranties. While the original protection plan costs just $8 per month, there are now options to purchase a premiere protection plan for $19.99 or a premiere protection plan with ADH for $24.99, which I will elaborate on later.
What Are You Actually Paying for?
Think of these services as insurance. Where does your insurance money really go? It sits there, right? You may actually never use it. Most insurance companies use your payment to invest in stocks, annuities, or even bank CDs. No doubt, Asurion does the same.
While auto insurance companies will sometimes cut you a check for an estimated amount, Asurion is able to pay subcontractors to come fix your problem. NEW Asurion often has contracts with these different subcontractors, which gives them a discount on their services. While a typical service call may cost me or you $50, NEW Asurion may get the same service for half that price. So, while you may be paying around $100 per year for the protection plan, you may actually never get what you paid for unless you have 3 or 4 service calls per year. Since less than 20% of DirecTV customers require at least one service call per year, it's easy to see how Asurion can make money by providing this service.
What Isn't Covered?
This is where it gets tricky. If you have ever had to deal with an auto insurance company because of an automobile accident, you can understand the runaround that you may get. "Oh, you hit a deer? I'm sorry, that's not covered." You readers in the south know what I'm talking about. The protection plan works the same way. Not everything is covered, even if the problem was not caused by you. Some of the most irate calls I received were from customers who were not covered by the protection plan due to the problem being caused by "an act of God". You heard me correctly. This is an actual term that is used in the warranty contract. I always had a problem with this wording because it used God as an excuse to get out of paying the bill, while most companies wouldn't even acknowledge religion as a deciding factor.
So, what is an act of God in DirecTV's opinion? Acts of God are actually problems that occur due to nature. This includes damage because of fallen trees or tree limbs, misalignment due to strong wind, water damage, damage by an animal, and even limited signal due to growth of trees. Unless you are/were a customer with one of these problems or have been a DirecTV customer service rep, you can't imagine the disgust displayed by a customer after being told that one of these issues wouldn't be covered because it was an act of God. Other problems that aren't covered are issues that arise due to human error. Human error involves but is not limited to: cutting any wires, moving equipment, damaging your dish in any way unless done while troubleshooting with a representative, and several other things.
What Is Covered?
Originally, the protection plan was supposed to cover technical issues due to equipment malfunction or failure and dish alignment issues. Over the years, the plan has been extended to cover just about anything inside your home. Whether you have a faulty cable or phone jack, anything that provides AT&T service inside your home is covered. Accidental damage has been added to the plan as well due to many complaints from having to troubleshoot equipment. The most significant addition to protection plan coverage is the free receiver upgrades every two years. This used to be separate from the protection plan, but in order to encourage more customers to purchase the service, it was eventually included only if you have the protection plan. One thing that many customers don't know is remotes are covered as well, but only if they have been damaged or stopped working. Don't call in and expect to receive a free remote because you lost yours. If anything, tell them that it stopped working. You will have no problem getting a free new remote.
Now, I'd like to talk a little about the premier protection plan. Is it worth having? In most cases, no. This particular protection plan costs $20 per month ($240 per year) or $25 per month for the premier with ADH ($300 per year). If you have the premier plan, but only have your DirecTV equipment and one or two televisions, please revert to the base protection plan. The only people that benefit from either of these plans are those with expensive surround sound systems and multiple TV sets.
While the ADH option is beneficial for those with laptops, a similar protective warranty can be purchased from retail stores for only $25 for a 2-year warranty. In other words, you're paying twice as much as you have to. If you have over $5k worth of electronics, go ahead and buy that extra protection. If not, it's best to save that extra $100–$200 per year and put it towards your bills or anything else you like.
How to be Covered by the Protection Plan Every Time
As I stated before, "acts of God" are not covered by your protection plan. So, how can you be covered every time? When you call DirecTV support with a technical issue, you are asked what caused the issue. The only answer you ever need to provide is "I don't know". They will then ask you to perform troubleshooting steps. I encourage all to complete these steps because you may be able to resolve your issue within an hour, as opposed to having to wait for a service call, which could take several weeks. If you are familiar with the troubleshooting steps or have done them previously, you can fake your way through them with the representative until all steps are complete.
Once all steps are complete and your issue has not been resolved, the customer service rep will issue you a service call, which will be covered under your protection plan. I feel like I shouldn't have to say this but, if you have ripped your dish off of the roof and thrown it onto your front lawn, don't expect the service call to be free. Most of the subcontracted companies couldn't care less if your issue is covered by the protection plan as long as it seems that you are unaware of what caused the problem.
Please feel free to leave comments about your experience below. If you have any questions that I may be able to help with, please use the Q&A feature, and I will respond as soon as I am able.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Jesse James
Tye on June 08, 2020:
Thanks for this valuable info. Much appreciated.
MoxieInDenver@hotmail.com on October 15, 2019:
Why should I pay directv for insurance for their equipment?
I don't care if they call it a lease, as if it's like leasing a car. Well I can't drive it anywhere, it doesn't move in my house anywhere, and when I I'm done with DirecTV I simply turn it in.
I get NO $$ back.
A leased car you get the option to buy it, and it's still a USEFUL viable mode of transportation.
what would you ever do with the DirecTV Genie anywhere else, and it is over two years old, and has already been replaced by something new and updated? No use for an antiquated/out dated piece of equipment.
Cars take years to depreciate DirecTV equipment takes about a year or two, and then the problems begin.
So there is no way I will ever waste $$. I never have bought Insurance since 2010, and I never will buy insurance in 2019 or 20.
If they ever have come out to my house, or come out to my house in the future, I will not pay the fee.
I never have in 10 years.
"In 2018, the traditional U.S. pay-TV providers lost more than 3 million subscribers, according to industry analyst Leichtman Research Group."
So.. buy your HDTV Antennas, and wait to see if the cable companies will do what you need them to do, at no additional cost, or you simply shut them off. ..
You can get all local channels from these antennas just do your research.
More than 70% of us households subscribe to more than 1 streaming service.... Almost 20% sign on for four or more services.
bath and if all you care about is your local TV channels you can get those with an antenna and then you just purchase your streaming service.
or you continue to pay high prices for your cable company and you pay additional for the Netflix or the Amazon prime all for the Hulu or any other service out there, and it's all up to the consumer.. so remember that the next time any cable provider tells you you have to pay for this insurance. N O P E.....GO TO YOUR "RETENTION DEPARTMENT" OF WHATEVER CABLE SERVICE YOU'RE USING.... THEY EITHER ACCOMMODATE YOUR LOYALTY TO THEIR COMPANY BY GIVING YOU THREE IN-HOME SERVICE FOR THEIR BROKEN EQUIPMENT OR YOU GO ELSEWHERE AND DISCONNECT LIKE THREE MILLION OTHERS HAVE ALREADY DONE.
Francisco Alvarez on September 05, 2019:
I have decided, after some thinking & checking my finances, I do not want the Protection Plan. Please cancel immediately. Thank you.
Gus D. on August 06, 2019:
How can I cancel the Direct TV protection plan?
Lynn on August 01, 2019:
Is there a limited warranty on the purchased Mini Geni?
Sonny Yates on July 28, 2019:
A troubleshooting visit where I am is $100. We have had 3 in the last year so the $8.99 was worth it to us.
David Crandon on July 24, 2019:
This is such a rip off. Why the heck should I pay for the repair or replacement or DIRECTV property. Why don't they do it just like any regular cable company. Equipment is their property, never a charge for replair or replacement, free upgrades, and when you leave them, you return the equipment.
Linda Nichols on April 03, 2019:
We just got Direct and ATT, two questions
1. Is AT&T also covered along with Direct on the protection plan for $8.99
2. Your opinion would you get the protection plan if you had Direct, we have no children or pets
Larry M. on March 07, 2019:
Very useful information. Thank You.
Jersey Girl on December 31, 2018:
We recently had a problem that turned out to be a bad screen on an 18 month old TV. We used the Premium Protection Plan and everything was handled fast, professionally and we now have a new TV. It is well worth the cost.
Bill on September 16, 2018:
If my child knocked my tv down is it covered it the premier coverage
Unnamed on August 24, 2018:
Don’t ever pay for this plan!! They scam you out of your money and don’t follow through! The customer service are complete robots with no emotion! They don’t care about you or your feelings! So unbelievably disappointed!
Jesse James (author) from Crooked Letter State on May 27, 2018:
This is a question I received many times when I was a DirecTV tech. The short answer to your question is, you are roped into a contract that requires you to pay for the maintenance of the equipment you possess. Technically, it is still DirecTV property for the first two years, but the contract you signed has a lot of small disclaimers. You have to love that fine print. If it's any consolation, know that you will eventually be the owner of your equipment. The only hook is, DirecTV will try to entice you to restructure your contract with the lure of a new receiver upgrade. This is solely a technique to reduce their costs and get you to pay more. It seems like you did get a good deal with the gift card promotion. I wish there was a better explanation, but the truth is, DirecTV wants more money any way they can get it.
Crandon David on May 19, 2018:
Just signed up with Direct TV at Costco which included a $300 Costco Gift card. Good deal I think.
Anyway, the equipment is Direct TV property, correct. Not like a cell phone which is my property. So, if it's their property, why would they be charging me to fix something that's broken? It's their property. I have to give it back to them if I leave. I can understand having to pay for Acts of God...but not anything else...can you explain this please? Thanks!