Summer 2023 DJI Care Refresh changes give extended warranty program a, well, refresh

DJI Care Refresh, which is essentially DJI’s extended warranty protection plan, got an overhaul this summer. These Summer 2023 DJI Care Refresh changes are generally a good thing for most customers, as it increases the coverage period while also upping the number of replacement drones you’re entitled to.

But for people who quickly cycle through drones and are always looking to upgrade to the newest gear, these summer 2023 DJI Care Refresh changes might not necessarily be in their favor.

Here’s a look at what’s changed with the protection plan — available on certain DJI products for an additional fee — and what aspects of the summer 2023 DJI Care Refresh changes are better or worse:

The graphic above spells out, in a nutshell, what has changed. Exact DJI Care Refresh terms and conditions vary by country, so note that these details are based on U.S. purchases. In short, the biggest changes are:

DJI Care Refresh coverage extends from two to three years maximum

Previously, you could only purchase either a one-year plan or a slightly more expensive two-year plan. But now, there’s an option for folks who want coverage for even older drones. As of July 2023, you’ll have the option to renew your DJI Care Refresh for a third year.

That’s even an option if you had already purchased two years of protection for your device. To renew existing DJI Care Refresh plans to the newly-lengthened three year period, navigate to the Service section of the official online DJI Store anytime during the coverage period or within 15 days after your current service expires.

An extra replacement, too

With an extra year of coverage also brings the option to get one more replacement — and that’s even if you don’t opt for the three-year extension. Previously you were entitled to a maximum of two replacements within the first year, and three replacements within two years. Now, you’re entitled to that same number of two replacements in the first year, but you’ll be entitled to up to four replacements over two years.

Lower replacement fees for second, third an fourth replacements

Speaking of replacement fees, I should note that you don’t get a new replacement for completely free (you also didn’t in the old version of DJI Care Refresh). To ensure you have some skin in the game, you do need to pay money for replacements so you don’t just treat your equipment like garbage.

For example, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine incurs a $239 replacement fee (on top of the cost of DJI Care Refresh). But in the old version of DJI Care Refresh, the replacement fee got progressively higher each time. So, a $239 replacement fee the first time became $299 the second time, and an even higher $349 the third time (so you’d have paid a total of $887 for three replacement drone).

Now, the replacement fee remains steady at $239 every time. So in that example, you’d now pay just $717 for the three replacement drones, which is $170 in savings.

That’s a relief for folks who take advantage of DJI Care Refresh and actually need to replace drones.

How to get DJI Care Refresh

As was always the case, you could purchase Care Refresh alongside DJI purchases made through its online store. Some flagship and authorized stores also sell DJI Care Refresh activation codes, which you can bind with your product after purchasing.

Or, for purchases made through authorized resellers like Amazon and B&H Photo, you can go to the DJI Online Store and navigate to their Service page, and from there click on DJI Care Refresh. That takes you to a new page allowing you to input the serial number of your product to purchase DJI Care Refresh.

To be eligible to purchase DJI Care Refresh, your DJI product must have been purchased brand new and un-activated. For drones and gimbals, it must be purchased within 48 hours of activation, and for handheld product it must be purchased within 30 days of activation.

DJI Care Refresh changes
Photo courtesy of DJI.

The problem with the DJI Care Refresh changes

While the DJI Care Refresh changes should be welcome to most people, there’s always a tradeoff. With the refresh to DJI Care Refresh, DJI is ending a similar extended warranty program it offered called DJI Care Refresh +.

DJI Care Refresh + was wan after-sales service plan that provided the second year of services on the basis of DJI Care Refresh (1-Year Plan). If you already have DJI Care Refresh + and have activated and bound it to your product, then you’ll have it for the duration of the agreement. But for any folks trying to buy in now, it’s too late as new purchases of DJI Care Refresh + will be discontinued.

What about Flyaway Coverage?

And while not necessarily a problem — as it’s not necessarily a downgrade — it’s worth pointing out that flyaway coverage does not increase (even though the length of the coverage and number of replacements you’re entitled to does increase).

To account for the fact that sometimes drones fly away and never return, DJI in 2021 started including Flyaway Coverage automatically when you purchased DJI Care Refresh service. But as was the case then (and is still the case now), replacement opportunities for flyaways do not increase in the new DJI Care Refresh.

DJI Care Refresh (1-Year Plan) provides two replacements, including one for flyaway coverage. DJI Care Refresh (2-Year Plan) provides four replacement opportunities, including two for flyaway.

Does 3-year coverage even matter?

And there’s one more reason why you shouldn’t get too excited abut these DJI Care Refresh changes. The primary change is that coverage extends one year longer. But here’s the thing: DJI technology improves so quickly, and the company pumps out new drone models every year (and sometimes more than once a year). A drone purchased in 2023 is likely far inferior than what will be available by 2026 anyway.

Look at it this way: had you enacted a three year coverage period on a drone purchased back in 2020 (three years ago), you’d be looking at relatively out-of-date models. In the beginning of 2020, DJI gave us the Mavic Air 2. But these days, you’d be much better off with the DJI Air 2S, which has a much better camera.

And in late 2020, DJI gave us the DJI Mini 2. But you’d likely much rather have the DJI Mini 3, or perhaps the even-spiffier DJI Mini 3 Pro drone.

Because you need to pay some money to actually get a replacement drone on top of the cost of adding DJI Care Refresh, you might consider just skipping DJI Care Refresh completely and getting the newest model if and when your existing model breaks.

Do you think DJI Care Refresh is worth it? And are the new changes and improvement or a downgrade to the program? Leave a comment below!

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