Examination under oath, or EUO, is a tactic used by insurance companies to limit fraudulent activity. Every year, insurance companies across America lose billions of dollars to insurance fraud. By examining policyholders under oath, the insurance company may be able to discourage fraud.
What is examination under oath? How does EUO work? How can you prepare to be examined under oath? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about being examined under oath.
What is an Examination Under Oath?
An examination under oath (EUO) may be requested by your insurance company after a certain insurance claim. In some cases, the insurance company is simply performing its due diligence to clear up confusion about any facts before paying out a claim. In other cases, the insurance company requests an examination under oath when it believes the policyholder has committed fraud.
In some cases, an insurance company may be using an examination under oath as a ‘fishing expedition’: looking for any excuse to deny your claim, and trying to intimidate law-abiding policyholders.
Let’s say your house is damaged in a fire. Your home and its possessions have been severely damaged by fire, smoke, heat, and soot. You’re left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. You make a home insurance claim and document all your losses.
Your home insurance company gives you a claim number and begins to process the claim. The insurance company’s adjuster arrives at your home to document and assess the damages. You move out of the house, keeping all your receipts for additional living expenses (ALE) like food and lodging while your home gets repaired.
Everything seems to be going well – until you suddenly receive a letter in the mail ordering you to appear for an examination under oath to answer questions related to your home insurance claim.
What can you expect for your examination under oath? Are you in trouble? Keep reading to find out.
What to Expect During an Examination Under Oath
An examination under oath is a formal proceeding during which an insured policyholder is questioned by a representative of the insurance company, under oath and in the presence of a court reporter. Typically, the representative of the insurance company is a lawyer.
The goal of the examination under oath is to obtain all necessary information for evaluating and processing an insured individual’s claim. When the examination is ‘under oath’, it means you are legally required to tell the truth. You have legally sworn that your answers are truthful.
Does an Examination Under Oath Mean I’m in Trouble?
An examination under oath can be an intimidating process for a policyholder with no history of wrongdoing. Sitting in a room answering questions under oath from a lawyer with a court reporter typing every word is an intimidating process to most people.
However, an examination under oath does not necessarily mean you are in trouble. In most cases, the insurance company is simply doing its due diligence. It may be required before the insurance company pays out a multi-million dollar claim, for example.
In other cases, of course, the insurance company does suspect foul play, and the examination under oath is designed to protect the insurance company from insurance fraud.
Overall, the goal of the examination under oath is simply to collect all the facts of your case. The insurance company wants to collect all relevant information from the insured policyholder, giving the policyholder every opportunity to thoroughly document the claim before the insurance company makes a final decision to accept or deny the claim.
Am I Required to Attend My Examination Under Oath?
The insurance company has a right to request an examination under oath from its customers. Typically, there’s a specific part of your policy that covers examination under oath. It’s often listed in the ‘Duties After Loss’ section.
If you fail to comply with the insurance company’s request for an examination under oath, then you’re not technically breaking the law. However, you are breaching the contract you signed with your insurance company, in which case you’re giving the insurance company an excuse to deny your claim.
Consider Hiring a Public Adjuster to Prepare You for an Examination Under Oath
Some insurance companies are too liberal with their examinations under oath. They use EUOs to intimidate law-abiding policyholders, for example.
Or, some insurance companies use EUOs as a ‘fishing expedition’. The insurance company could be searching for an excuse to deny your insurance claim, and they’re fishing for that excuse during your examination.
For all of these reasons, it may be in your best interest to hire a lawyer or public insurance adjuster to prepare for your examination under oath. A public adjuster or insurance attorney can help you prepare for your examination under oath, explaining what to expect during the meeting and what to reveal.
Some of the services provided by a public adjuster when dealing with an examination under oath include:
- Helping to gather and organize all documentation and facts required by the insurance company, including photos of home damage, bank statements, tax returns, records of previous insurance claims, and other information
- Familiarizing clients with the structure of the EUO, including the questions to expect, how to answer those questions, and how to counter certain claims by the insurance company
- Teaching clients the ‘tricks’ used by insurance companies to weaken a client’s claim, limiting the damages the insurance company has to pay
- Rehearsing testimony to ensure your legitimate insurance claim is covered according to the terms of your policy
If your insurance company has requested an examination under oath, then it may be in your best interest to hire a public adjuster – especially if you have done nothing wrong.
A good public adjuster will push back against the examination under oath, fighting for the policyholder to ensure everything is covered according to the terms of your policy.
Contact a public adjuster from ClaimsMate today to ensure you are prepared for your examination under oath.