It doesn’t matter that I was hit by a car on one of those app-rental bikes that day in Santa Monica, it doesn’t matter if the person didn’t stop and fled the scene, it doesn’t even matter I was left with over $100k in medical bills.

What does matter is that I called my car insurance inquiring about UMI ( uninsured motorists insurance ) and explain the incident to see if I had any coverage… and they lied to me.

You see if you don’t ask permission to record a call then anything said during that call is illegally obtained and inadmissible should you need it. But I wasn’t recording, why should I be? I trusted my insurance to give me honest advice, you know, like I paid for.

You see this is before I knew that by not hanging up after the “this call may be recorded” message, I was consenting to a recording to potentially be used in court to deny a claim and it was about two weeks before I would reach back out to my insurer and ask to record them too, only to be angrily told “absolutely not!!!!” and hung up on. I was still naive.

On that overly optimistic day I just called to let them know what had happened and left a detailed description of events. The sweet mousy voiced adjuster who called me back could barely form a sentence without stopping to say how sorry she was, finally she gave up on the gushing empathy to inform me the bike wasn’t on my policy, there was no record of the driver, no police report was filed … I was, tragically, she said not covered.

Well that’s the funny thing about getting a call like that while having lunch with a friend who’s a lawyer. He said, between bites of salad and sourdough, call them back immediately, ask for the same adjuster and have them “memorialize what was said on the phone in an email.” You see, while calls can’t be recorded without consent, asking for proof of what was said on a call requires an email, which is oh so very admissible.

I rang back and the poor lady must have terrible hearing because she flat-out denied having said anything of the sort and couldn’t apologize fast enough as to how she must have misunderstood the questions. My heart does break for her, such a strange line of work for the hard of hearing. Anyway.. Long story short, I got the $30k I was rightfully owed and pay for in my policy.

UMI covers a hit and run pedestrian among a long list of other things you might not be aware of. Had my lunch companion that day not been a lawyer I may have accepted that response and just ordered a martini and made my peace with it. Anytime you feel like your insurance is being dismissive, evasive or just plain sneaky, politely request them to “please memorialize that in an email” if they squirm, you got em, if they don’t then what did you lose? If enough people read this, share this and apply this, we might collectively cost the unethical and evil insurance industry in this country millions of dollars. How’s your hearing now?

David Dawson, Santa Monica