An examination under oath (also known as an EUO) is a legal procedure held in the presence of a court reporter, under the penalty of perjury. It is usually conducted by an attorney representing the insurance company, who verbally asks questions the insured needs to answer under oath. The procedure is common during the investigation of property loss claims, and typically it lasts a few hours. The insurance company can require an examination under oath at any stage of the investigation until your claim is finalized, but most frequently it’s one of the final steps.
Sometimes, if the insurance company has suspicions regarding your claim, they might ask for additional documents: financial situation, credit reports, tax returns, bank statements and so on. If the insurer notices any red flags in the documentation you submitted, they could request an “examination under oath”. You will receive a court date and detailed letter stating what documents you are to bring with you for the examination.
As many as 25% of property loss claims undergo the EUO process. Some signs that your claim is headed that way include:
Most insurance policies include provisions that allow the insurance company to take sworn testimony. In the typical homeowner’s insurance, the Examination Under Oath is listed as one of the insured’s duties after suffering a loss. As the Examination Under Oath is a contractual provision, failure to comply with the insurer’s demand for an EUO is a material breach of the insurance contract, which renders it null. Thus, your failure to appear for an Examination Under Oath can void your insurance coverage and the insurance company would not have to pay your claim.
Most policyholders are worried when the insurance company requests an Examination Under Oath. If you find yourself in this situation, you probably have a lot of questions. Chances are if the insurance company has requested an EUO, it’s because they have found irregularities with your claim documentation and have additional questions. Your answers during the EUO may significantly impact your chances for a successful claim. As you are allowed counsel for the Examination Under Oath, it’s important to both prepare ahead of time and get counsel during the legal proceeding. During the examination, your answers to questions seemingly unrelated to your loss may be later used to deny your claim or reduce your settlement.
The examination under oath is done for potential purposes of later litigation, and your testimony must be as honest and accurate as you can recall since it can be later raised as an issue and used against you should you contradict yourself.
The insurance’s company attorney has the right to ask you any questions he or she desires, even if they don’t seem to relate in any way with the insurance claim. However, as many policy owners learn the hard way, their statements could be turned around and used to deny their claim. An apparently innocent answer could be used by the insurance company to argue that you didn’t cooperate and that allow them to deny your claim. Every question you are asked serves a purpose (even if you think that the question isn’t relevant). In the end, your answer to those questions makes the difference between a full payment and a denied claim. Thus, getting professional assistance and consultancy before and during the EUO is very important.
We’ll be glad to be on your side through your examination under oath. You should never do it alone. Many homeowners think if they are honest, they have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. On the other side of the aisle, the insurance company has an experienced attorney, whose job is to make your settlement smaller or get evidence for denying your claim. We can advise you on how to handle the examination under oath and how to avoid any conduct that could undermine your chances of a fair settlement.
Ohio Fire Claims will help you through your examination under oath by:
Ohio Fire Claims is here to assist you every step of the way! Contact us today!