CBS 5 Advocate

Involve your auto insurer even when other guy is at fault

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Ashley Gonzalez says a Sam's Club auto mechanic damaged her car and the store's insurer has been brushing her off for almost a year regarding repairs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ashley Gonzalez says a Sam's Club auto mechanic damaged her car and the store's insurer has been brushing her off for almost a year regarding repairs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Gonzalez says she duct-taped her bumper in place so it wouldn't fall off, and waited for months. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Gonzalez says she duct-taped her bumper in place so it wouldn't fall off, and waited for months. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Once Dave Cherry got involved, the other insurance company sent her a check for a new bumper. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Once Dave Cherry got involved, the other insurance company sent her a check for a new bumper. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Phoenix woman says a Sam's Club auto mechanic damaged her car and the store's insurer has been brushing her off for almost a year regarding repairs.

When a business damages your vehicle, accepts responsibility and files a claim with their insurer on your behalf, you might think there's no need to contact your own insurance company. There isn't. But if you start getting stone-walled, your insurer can be an advocate to get you justice.

"Every time I get in the car, I just feel like it's going to fall off," Ashley Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez' bumper is hanging in there. She says a Sam's Club auto mechanic knocked it off during a routine service visit while he was backing it out of a bay. The store filed a claim for Gonzalez right away with their insurer - Claims Management Inc. It took CMI two months to send a letter acknowledging the incident.

"I expected to get a callback, to get some kind of contact from them to get this resolved, to get my bumper fixed," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez says she faxed CMI a repair estimate, duct-taped her bumper in place so it wouldn't fall off, and waited. But she says CMI didn't contact her and every call to the person handling her case went to voicemail.

"I left a bunch of messages with the claim number that was on the letter and the incident report; never got any information back," Gonzalez said.

She says emails to CMI have also gotten no response and Sam's Club just refers her back to CMI. Gonzalez says, almost a year later, she's never heard one word from CMI.

"They've just, pretty much, brushed me off and ignored me. I feel like they just don't want to help me," Gonzalez said.

She's concerned her bumper could fall off on the highway, she'll run over it, pop a tire and crash. She just wants it fixed.

"I'm not asking for a new car, I'm just asking for what's fair. I just need my car to be drivable and not be stressed out and worried about this constantly," Gonzalez said.

There's no need for consumers to stress and worry about a claim against somebody else's insurance company. Even though you're not filing a claim with your own insurer, ask for their help anyway; it's their job to help and provide customer service. They should contact the other insurer and keep pursuing the matter on your behalf until it's resolved. Even when it's not your fault, involve your own insurer right away. It won't have any impact on your rates.

According to Walmart, CMI made several phone calls to Gonzalez over the past year and she never answered. Gonzalez says that is not true and CMI did drop the matter without sending Gonzalez a follow-up letter or email. After CBS 5 News contacted Walmart, CMI processed the claim in one day and issued Gonzalez a check for the full amount of her estimate - $2,190. We would like to thank Walmart and CMI for quickly resolving this dispute, in a fair and appropriate manner, after we brought it to their attention.

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