I am wondering if there is a word for requesting or requested someone's knowledge of something. This came up in a conversation I was having about car insurance. I had to explain to them that my question did not directly affect me, but I would just like to get to know whatever information or insight they had on the topic. I guess the closest examples I can think of are insight and understanding. But I feel as though both of those give the feeling that there is a secret or not well known portion of the topic. Such as something that would be directly specific to them, rather than universally accepted facts.

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    "How are you with (or on) car insurance?" – FumbleFingers Jan 1 '15 at 21:49
  • Fumble's suggestion or "Know anything about car insurance?" ought to do the trick. – Jim Jan 1 '15 at 22:26

An idiom (as specified in the title) used for this is:

'Can I pick your brains?'

pick someone’s brain

to ask someone's advice about a subject the person knows a lot about: Can I pick your brain about how you got rid of those weeds? Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press

Colloquially, we can pump someone (for information), though this normally indicates rather brusque questioning.

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    Great expression. In North America, I've only ever heard the singular "brain." The plural "pick someone's brains" makes me think of zombies... – Rusty Tuba Jan 1 '15 at 20:55
  • 'He hasn't got the brains he was born with' is another example of this perverse usage. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 1 '15 at 20:59
  • @EdwinAshworth In my part of the country it's "He hasn't got the brains God gave a brass billy-goat." We're even more into alliteration. – StoneyB on hiatus Jan 1 '15 at 21:46
  • Perhaps I'd better point out that the 'choose/select' sense of 'pick' is obviously ruled out by the example, 'Can I pick your brain about ...'. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 2 '15 at 0:33
  • Slightly off, but 'can I bend your ear' is useful for asking for the time to then pick the attached brains. – idunno Jan 2 '15 at 2:33

"Can you give me the run down on this...?"

You are politely asking for a description of the basic components of something. i.e. the nuts and bolts, the bare bones, the main components that make something up.

After receiving an answer, if you feel that there is more to the subject that you might be missing out on, you might ask follow-up questions. Such as, "What should I watch out for?" or "Is there something specific I should know about this...?", etc.

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