A common theme found in our most recent blog posts pertains to a property owners’ post-loss obligations under an insurance policy.  Likewise, we have discussed and advised that failure to comply with these policy conditions may prejudice an insured’s claim and even result in a coverage denial.  This week we will be discussing another post-loss obligation imposed on an insured referred to as an Examination Under Oath, or “EUO.”  No, this type of examination does not involve needles, but it does involve some poking and prodding (i.e., questioning) by the insurance company.

An overwhelming majority of residential and commercial insurance policies provide the insurance company with the option to request an insured submit to an EUO.   This may occur at any time during the insurance company’s investigation of a property loss claim and prior to making its coverage determination.  Refusal to attend a requested EUO may prejudice an insured’s right to recovery and may provide the insurance company with the grounds to deny a claim.

The insurance company uses an EUO to obtain more information and details regarding the property loss claim directly from the insured.  Typically, the insurance company’s attorney will conduct an EUO on behalf of the insurance company and may ask questions covering an array of topics that the insurance company has determined relevant to its claim investigation.  At the beginning of an EUO the insured will be sworn in under oath and all answers provided during an EUO are recorded by a court reporter.  It is important to understand that these answers can and will be used by the insurance company in making its coverage determination.

In the event your insurance company requests an Examination Under Oath, it is important to review your policy to ensure that you are obligated to attend.  Similarly, following a property loss you should always review your policy so that you are familiar with this and all other post-loss obligations.  We further recommend that an insured retain an attorney prior to submitting to a requested EUO.  Effective counsel will be able to provide an insured with EUO preparation and attend the EUO with an insured to ensure proper proceedings and questioning.