MacInTouch Home Page: "just read the fine print for my Visa card and discovered the 'Performance Guarantee' that, for a fee, will extend the manufacturer's warranty for items bought with the card. For about $180, my PowerBook repairs can be covered for four years, compared to $349 for three years of AppleCare. Of course, you don't get the one-stop phone assistance and 'peace of mind'.
The phone operators says that the insurance can be bought anytime during the first two years (which are covered automatically by 'Extended Warranty'), and that failed batteries are covered."
There are serious issues with AppleCare. Apple has outsourced its repair services to some marginally incompetent partners. This might cover repairs by private sources.