If you make a claim for benefits under your own insurance policy, you could be subject to an Examination Under Oath, often referred to as an EUO. An EUO is a sworn statement given by someone who has made a claim due to fire, lightning, hurricane, or a car accident—just to name a few. According to the group, United Policy Holders, insurance companies use this procedure if they suspect a fraudulent claim or if they are considering disputing coverage before going into litigation. The insurance company will hire a lawyer to ask you questions. You will be forced to swear an oath before you answer any question. Your statements are recorded by a court reporter.
What Policyholders Often Do Not Know About EUOs
Unfortunately, what many policyholders do not know is that the insurance company will use your statement against you if it servers the insurance company's purpose. In the insurance policy, your insurance company has given itself the right to question you “under oath” about the details of the loss, the claim, as well very personal matters. Usually, the policy requires the named insured to appear; and sometimes any insured must appear. At the EUO, they can ask you about almost any matter they wish.
They typically interrogate you about: your background; family history; educational history; employment history; claim history (other insurance claims); financial history; criminal arrests; and your credit history. This is all before they ask you one question about your claim. Most EUOs take several hours; some take several days.
What If You Do Not Cooperate?
If you fail to attend an EUO, your claim will be denied. The courts have ruled that the failure to cooperate with your insurance company will defeat your claim for benefits forever. If you refuse to answer a question posed during an EUO, or terminate the EUO because the questions are unfair or overly personal, then the insurance company will likely deny the claim for failure to fully cooperate. The insurance company can also force you to produce documents at an EUO. Some of the documents they may ask you to produce include: tax returns; checking and savings accounts; loan documentation; credit card statements; utility bills; cell phone records; business income and expense records; and invoices and receipts. Again, the insurance company can deny your claim if they feel that you refused to cooperate by not producing the documents they requested.
Should You Be Worried If Your Insurance Company Is Asking You to Sit for an EUO?
Yes, you should worry if your insurance company asks you for an EUO. The insurance company is not going to hire a lawyer to interrogate you because they want to help you substantiate your claim. They suspect fraud or are collecting information, from you, in order to deny your claim. You have the right to have your own lawyer at an EUO. However, you are not required to have your own attorney. In fact, the insurance company will be delighted if you appear without a lawyer. If you do not have an attorney, we recommend you consult with an attorney before attending any EUO. If you or someone you know has received a request from their insurance company to sit for an EUO, contact us immediately for a free consultation to discuss your rights and review your insurance claim.