Money Saving Tips For New Car Buyers

shutterstock_97010087Money saving tips for new car buyers

Getting a good deal on a new car takes a little patience, a bit of research and some luck. If you’re in the market for a new car, check out the following tips:

Finding the right car

Visit some dealerships and search for the car of your dreams. Also, most car companies offer Internet sites for you to visit. You can flip through electronic brochures full of facts and figures, photos and prices in the comfort of your own home. Once you’ve selected some candidates, take a test drive.

A little research goes a long way!

Once you’re down to two or three vehicles, research their actual cost (as opposed to the dealer’s or manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). In other words, try to find out the cost that the manufacturer charges the dealer.

Obtaining this information isn’t as hard as you think. In fact, some online sites (search Kelley Blue Books for New Car Prices) offer free, comprehensive reports showing vehicle options, dealer invoice and suggested retail price information. Also, most automobile clubs (as well as some popular consumer magazines) offer this information (some charge a nominal fee). Ask for a breakdown of the various options to determine if a package of options is better than selecting them individually.

And of course, don’t forget to call us at Blackwell Insurance Agency to give you a quote to see how your new car purchase will affect your rates.  It only takes a few moments and could help make your decision easier.

Making your move!

Some people say that the best time to make a deal on a new car is the last day of the month or year. Sales people often have monthly and yearly quotas and incentives to meet. They may be more willing to give in on price if they think they can make up their loss in other ways.

When you meet with the sales person and discuss the car (and options you want), the price quoted by the sales person may be very close to the Dealer List Price on your printout! You can then reveal your printout and tell the sales person what you are prepared to offer: the actual cost of the car plus what you think is a fair percentage for commission. (This commission percentage is a personal choice and only you and the dealer can determine what’s fair)

A note about trade-ins

Again, knowledge is power. During your research phase, ask your local Auto Club (or check the Net) for the value of your old car. You should receive (for free) the average trade-in price as well as the price you could expect if you try to sell it on your own. The price to sell independently will be higher, but it will also require time and effort you may not want to expend.

After you negotiate the price for your new car, ask the dealer to offer a trade-in value. By waiting, you won’t mess up your new car negotiations with other confusing variables…keep it all separate. Knowing the price of an average used car (and the current condition of your trade-in) will give you some leverage when negotiating a fair trade-in agreement.

Some final thoughts

Some negotiations go better than others. There are many abstract variables that can come into play. Did you wait for the best possible time to make an offer? If it is a slow sales month, your dealer may be motivated to move some cars. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your first dealer, shop around. The best consumer is an educated consumer! Good luck and have fun dealing!

Source: Insurance Information Institute;

Understanding The Basics of Auto Insurance

Understanding the basics of auto insuranceUnderstanding the basics of auto insurance

Choosing auto insurance that fits your needs and the needs of your family is important, so get to know the basics.

Below are some simplified descriptions of common auto insurance coverages. All coverages are subject to the limits, terms and conditions of the actual policy you purchase.

Bodily injury liability coverage generally pays damages for bodily injuries to the driver and passengers of the other vehicle when you are responsible for an accident. It also provides coverage to defend you if you are sued because of an auto accident.

Property damage liability coverage generally pays for damages to another person’s property (i.e. their car) when you are responsible for an accident. It also provides coverage to defend you if you are sued because of an auto accident.

Medical payments coverage generally covers you, household relatives and your passengers for medical expenses that result from injuries sustained in an auto accident. It also covers you as a pedestrian if you are hit by a vehicle.

Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage generally pays for damages for bodily injury to you and your passengers when caused by another in an auto accident and the person legally responsible either has inadequate or no insurance.

Collision coverage generally pays for damage to your car if it hits another car, object, or overturns. A deductible applies to this coverage.

Comprehensive coverage generally pays for damage to your car if it is stolen or damaged by certain causes other than collision, such as fire, theft, hail or vandalism. A deductible applies to this coverage.

Give us a call toll-free at (866) 574-5301, email, or complete our quick and easy form for a free quote. And remember, combining your Orange County Auto insurance with your Orange County Homeowners policy qualifies you for a multi-policy discount! Thank you for getting an Auto Insurance Quote Orange County from Blackwell Insurance.

Help!!! There’s Water Everywhere

Help!!! There's Water EverywhereHelp!!! There’s Water Everywhere

Hopefully you will never have to say those words by if you do you need to know what to do.

First of all, you will need to determine the source of water and shut off the water in your home.

Then contact a fire/water restoration company immediately to mitigate the water damage and assist you in preventing further damage. Normally the will respond within an hour if the circumstances require it.

Call your insurance company to report what has happened.

In the meantime, you should remove any standing way by sponging or blotting the area, remove saturated rugs from your floors and stay out of rooms where ceiling may be sagging from the retain water.

Do not wait for an insurance adjust to contact you. It is your responsibility to mitigate the damage until an adjuster contacts you; doing nothing will only worsen the damage.

Blackwell Insurance: In the Community

In The Community

All of us at Blackwell Insurance love taking time to volunteer in the community.  Sasha McInnis (personal lines account manager) volunteers at a local animal shelter every weekend.  Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community or explore new interests.  You just might discover your own passion for helping.  Here are some great ways you can get involved and volunteer in the community:

If you love animals like Sasha you might consider offering your time and efforts at one of your local animal shelters.  You can spend your time walking dogs or playing with the kittens. Some shelters in the Orange County area include:

  • Irvine Animal Care Center

6443 Oak Canyon

Irvine, CA

(949) 724 – 7740

  • Mission Viejo Animal Services Center

28095 Hillcrest

Mission Viejo, CA

(949)470 – 3045

  • San Clemente – Dana Point Animal Shelter

221 Avenida Fabricante

San Clemente, CA

(949) 492 – 1617

  • Laguna Beach Animal Shelter

20612 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Laguna Beach, CA

(949) 497 – 3552

Perhaps helping those in need is where your true passion lies.  There are plenty of great local non-profits that provide food and/ or shelter for those who need it:

  • Families Forward

9221 Irvine Blvd.

Irvine, CA

(949) 552 – 2727

  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County

8014 Marine Way

Irvine, CA

(949) 653 – 2900

Is there a specific population you want to help?  There are many specialized organizations that need volunteers.  Laura’s House located at 999 Corporate Dr Mission Viejo, CA 92694 specializes in helping victims of domestic violence.  You can call them at (949) 361-3775.

Finally there are plenty of resources available to help you find the right volunteering opportunity for you. is a great site that allows you to search for specific volunteer opportunities near you.

Agent Corner

            I am sure you all know Judye Blackwell.  She has been a part of the agency for 30 years now and is ready to slow down and enjoy life a bit.  She now only works Monday through Thursday from 8:30 – 5:00pm.  She handles home insurance if your last name starts with M-Z.

Valuable Items and Collections: Are you Adequately Covered?

Valuable Items and Collections: Are you Adequately Covered? Valuable Items and Collections: Are you Adequately Covered?  

Our possessions mean a lot to us, especially here in South Orange County. You certainly cannot put a price tag on sentimental value; however can you ask yourself “How much is my jewelry worth?” Some of us have other hobbies like photography that require camera equipment. Others collect stamps and coins. Chances are, the standard homeowners or renters policy isn’t enough coverage to replace those precious items if they were damaged, lost or stolen. This is where a Personal Article Floater (also known as “Inland Marine”) policy comes in handy.

Some of the perks of adding a personal article policy in addition to the standard homeowners are:

  • The coverage can be customized to your specific type of item or collection. Are you a musician with lots of valuable instruments or equipment? Did your grandmother leave you her antique china set? Perfect!
  • Floater policies are normally written on an “all-risk” basis, meaning they cover pretty much all direct types of physical losses except those that are specifically excluded. (Normal exclusions are typically wear and tear, deterioration, inherent vice and/or losses caused by mice or vermin.
  • Coverage is usually worldwide depending on the insurance carrier. So that means you are protected while traveling with your items.

In most cases these policies are offered as a “stand alone” policy, however some insurance companies can add the coverage onto your existing home policy by endorsement for an additional premium. They will require a bill of sale or recent appraisal showing the item(s) worth and a scheduled breakdown of the property to be covered.

If you choose not to purchase a personal article policy for your belongings, there are a few things you can do to protect your valuables. For example, you can place jewelry items that are rarely worn in a safe safe deposit box. Or, you can have a central alarm system installed for burglary and fire. This will also give you a discount on your homeowner’s policy. Be sure to document your expensive purchases with photos and keep all receipts for your records in case of a future claim scenario. If there is a theft or break-in, always notify the policy and obtain a copy of the police report.

As we grow older and change, our insurance needs change with us. Overall it’s just good idea to know what your stuff is worth monetarily and have it protected year-round. At Blackwell Insurance Agency, we enjoy getting to know the needs of our customers and helping them find quick and affordable solutions. We can provide you with a quote for personal article coverage and we are happy to help!