Distributor Tech Data (NASDAQ: TECD) is offering add-on IT product warranties to its channel partners through a deal with SquareTrade, provider of protection plans for IT devices and other consumer electronics equipment.

Tech Data lays claim to being the only IT distributor offering the SquareTrade product coverage. To understand this deal, think of going to the checkout counter at your local giant consumer electronics store, and as your purchase is rung up the checkout person asks whether you want to buy extended coverage. This is the same thing, only for channel partners.

Under terms of the deal, Tech Data’s channel partners immediately gain access to SquareTrade’s extended protection plans for tablets, laptops, desktops, printers, scanners, monitors, cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, televisions and projectors. For SquareTrade, the agreement gives it a chance to add to its traditional big box retail customer base.

With Tech Data, the SquareTrade warranties cover all mechanical and electrical failures from normal use, including 100 percent of the cost of parts and labor with no deductibles across all product lines. Channel partners buying a SquareTrade three-year protection plan add extended coverage from date of purchase for laptops, desktops, printers, scanners, monitors, cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, TVs and projectors. Tablet protection includes drops and spills coverage for two years from date of purchase.

Bill Brooks, Tech Data technical services vice president, said the idea is to give channel partners a vehicle to offer their customers to protect their IT product investments. Warranty claims can be processed online, he said, and SquareTrade offers consumers 24/7 support and a five-day-or-less service guarantee. "We understand that products break frequently in the technology-centric lives we lead, which is why we feel strongly about giving our solution providers added assurance by offering protection plans,” Brooks said.

Warranty repairs for IT and other electronic devices is big business. SquareTrade said its research showed that iPhone buyers in the United States have spent nearly $6 million to repair the device since its introduction in 2007, including the cost of repairs, replacement phones and insurance deductibles. Most of the costs result from accidental damage rather than loss or theft. Moreover, repair isn’t typically a one-time event—in 2011, about 30 percent of iPhone owners damaged their device, with 17 percent doing it more than once.

In addition to Tech Data, the SquareTrade extended warranty mainly is offered to consumers purchasing products at Amazon, Costco, Sam's Club, TigerDirect, eBay and QVC among others.

"As the industry's only consumer-branded protection plan, known for world-class service, value and transparency, we believe that SquareTrade will be a true differentiator for these resellers and end users,” said Dina Furash, SquareTrade Strategic Partnerships senior vice president.