Examinations Under Oath & Hurricane Insurance Claims
Insurance fraud is a serious problem. Many people make claims that they know are not legitimate and end up costing insurance companies millions of dollars each year. As a result, the premiums for every other insured rise to offset the losses associated with the fraud.
After filing a hurricane insurance claim, you might be contacted by your insurer to undergo an examination under oath, also called an EUO. Just what is an EUO, when might your insurer request one, and how should you respond?
What Is an Examination Under Oath?
An EUO is a lot like a deposition in a civil matter. An insurance representative will ask you questions, which you must answer under oath and with a court reporter present. The purpose of the EUO is to ask you questions regarding:
- How the loss happened
- What property you owned that was damaged
- How you valued the property
- Anything else related to your claim
Because your answers are recorded and given under oath, they might be relevant later if there is a lawsuit. For example, the insurance company can confront you with a prior statement if your testimony at court differs from what you said in the EUO.
Why Is Your Insurer Asking for an EUO?
Most policies explicitly allow an insurer to ask you for an EUO. They do so if they suspect that your claim is fraudulent, often because you are missing adequate documentation. As an example, when you make a claim, you need to prove you possessed items you claimed are damaged. You can do this with photographs, video, or receipts for the purchase of the items. If you have absolutely no proof that you owned expensive electronics, then an insurer might suspect you are lying.
Often, the possibility of an EUO is enough to prevent many claimants from filing a fraudulent claim. If your claim is legitimate, you will need to attend because missing it can result in denial of your claim.
How Should You Respond?
No insured should attend an EUO without a lawyer. Your lawyer can’t participate or ask you questions, but he or she will help prepare you for giving answers. Making misrepresentations under oath can be charged as a crime, so preparation should be detailed and thorough.
In some situations, however, an EUO actually helps the insured. If your answers are substantive and detailed, then your testimony alone could support your claim for compensation. However, you need to be prepared for what to expect.
Your insurer should provide a written notice requesting an EUO. The letter should identify who will question you along with the time and location. If you do not have an attorney for your hurricane insurance claim, you should immediately get one for your EUO.
Bundza & Rodriguez has built a reputation for helping people after natural disasters. If you call 386-252-5170, you can schedule a consultation with a Daytona Beach hurricane insurance claims attorney, who will discuss the details of your claim. Call us or send us a message to speak with a member of our team today.