Can I Record My Conversation with My Insurance Company?

A THCB reader in San Diego writes:

I am SERIOUSLY annoyed.  I just got off the phone with my insurer. I’d called a day ago and spoken to a representative (who was very helpful) about a claim. I called back today to follow up and check on a detail.

It quickly became obvious that something was very wrong. I realized immediately what had happened. She’d made a mistake.  And left out a minor but important detail on my claim.

But instead of owning up to it, the woman pretended as though nothing had happened.  It was like we’d never met before. After a five minute conversation she accused me of lying.  I  could not believe what I was hearing. I was outraged.  I asked to be transferred to a supervisor.

The super listened to me for a minute and then took the side of her employee.  “Why should I believe you? Can you prove it?”

Can I prove it? I’ve been a good customer for years.  I shouldn’t have to prove it!!! “  How can I stop this from happening?  Can I record my conversation with my insurer? After all, they’re recording me for “quality purposes”!!!

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10 replies »

  1. “Well, actually … you’ve established nothing.”

    I’ve established that if the problem is big enough for you you can probably take advantage of your state’s insurance resolution mechanism – if not the insurance commission. In my state arbitration was free to me and cost the insurance company. Did I get the outcome I wanted – no, were the proceedings fair, not in my view as two of the 3 arbitrators were insurance insiders, but THEY HAD THE TAPE! That’s the discussion here.

    If you want to discuss the unfair intransigent power of insurance companies and their lack of appreciation for resolving customer complaints start your own thread.

  2. Well, actually … you’ve established nothing.

    Only that in a binding legal proceeding you can theoretically, if you’re lucky, and the gods are on your side, and the arbitrator wishes it, maybe obtain a copy of tape from your insurance company.

    Try asking nicely and see what you get.

  3. Well actually Datum, I had a dispute with my insurance company several years ago. I took them to arbitration and guess what – they produced the tapes of the conversation I had with their representative.

    So there – a-hole!

  4. I recommend you try doing that Peter. And see what you get.

    “Hey, I forgot what was said last week while discussing my application – I know you guys are recording this. Can we play back the conversation? “

  5. I recently called chase on a credit card matter. After hearing the blurb, I quipped “I might be recording this conversation for quality purposes too”. The agent stopped, told she had to read a script to me telling to stop recording. When I told her I didn’t know if I could turn it off, I was given a supervisor who told me they would not talk to me until I verbally acknowledged I was not recording the conversation. Would they turn off their recording? No.
    Substitute insurance for banking. Corporations are people too. The people who are more equal than others.

  6. “Can I record my conversation with my insurer?”

    They’ve probably already recorded the conversation. Ask for the tapes to be played back.

  7. Some states have one-party consent for recording conversations (meaning you don’t have to ask, since you are a party to the conversation), and some have all-party consent. Here is a good handbook, with a link to state-by-state regs.


    Separately, even if you are not recording conversations, we always recommend that any conversation with an insurer or a provider about coverage include, wherever possible, a record incorporating details like who you called, what you asked, what the answer was, who you talked to, an ID or badge or extension number if possible, and so on. It helps in cases of a dispute like what you mention.

  8. It depends on the state. Some states allow recording w/o anyone’s knowledge. For states where it is not allowed, you need to inform them that you are recording audio.