Almost every insurance policy requires an insured to appear for an Examination Under Oath as one of the duties after loss. When the right is invoked, it is usually near the end of the investigation and is one of the final steps to be completed. The Examination Under Oath is a formal proceeding taken before a court reporter and recorded in a verbatim transcript. Every question which is asked and every answer which is given is made a part of the record. Many insurance companies now videotape the Examination Under Oath, as well. It is usually conducted by an attorney hired by the insurance company for that purpose. The insured has the right to be represented by an attorney and often appears with counsel. Unlike a deposition or court proceeding, however, the attorney for the insured has no right to raise evidentiary objections or ask questions of the client. The attorney is only allowed to offer legal advice to the insured when issues arise during the Examination Under Oath. The scope of the Examination Under Oath is broad. The proceeding typically lasts several hours and may last even longer. The insured will be asked questions in a number of subject areas. Everything about the personal and professional background of the insured will be covered: his legal name and other names used, his date of birth and social security number, marital status and marital history, the identity of children and other relatives, his current place of residence and prior residences, his current employment and prior employment history, his criminal arrest record, his civil litigation involvement, his ownership history of the insured property or business, the insurance history of the insured or the business (especially any prior fire claims), the circumstances of obtaining the specific policy involved in the claim and all related personal information.
For more information on this term, see the interFIRE VR Resource File article: “Understanding the Policy of Insurance” by Guy E. Burnette, Jr.,