Often after a property loss, the insurance company may request a recorded statement of a policyholder in the days following the loss. This differs from a request for an Examination Under Oath, but policyholders must be familiar with both.
What basis does the insurance company have to take your statement? Remember, your policy of insurance is the contract that governs obligations of a policyholder. Some newer policies may have recorded statement policy conditions listed but many residential and commercial policies are silent about a requirement for giving a recorded statement. Here are a few tips you should consider, and be sure to read the Duties after Loss section within the Conditions of your own insurance policy and contact counsel if you have questions about your obligations.
- Many policies are silent and don’t mention any requirement to give a recorded statement.
- Some policies do list a recorded statement requirement. When you have a claim ask for your complete insurance policy to see your requirements
- There is a big difference between giving a recorded statement and an Examination Under Oath.
- Recorded Statements are not sworn or signed testimony but can still be used against you.
- Even when a policy is silent about giving a recorded statement, policyholders usually have a duty to cooperate with their insurance company.
- If you are asked to give a recorded statement and the request is done pursuant to the policy, tell the adjuster you need to know his or her name and whether they are a special investigator before you begin. Check the credentials and consider getting an attorney.
- You always have a right to consult with a property damage lawyer before you give any statement.
- If you agree to give a recorded statement, you can also record it. You need to tell the insurance company you will also be recording the statement on your smart phone, tablet, or laptop. Keep your own copy.
- If the company asks questions that have you concerned, stop the statement and get a lawyer. Confused about the situation? You will want a legal representative because the situation will only get more convoluted. It is ok to ask for help even when you know you have been forthright all along.
- Examinations under oath questions are asked by the insurance company’s highly trained lawyers, you should have your own lawyer too –even if you think it is a very clear cut claim and you have nothing to hide. When one party brings a lawyer, it is critical that the playing field is even.
- Don’t rush. You can reschedule and coordinate any of the statements. Don’t let a company bully you to do things on its absurd schedule.
For more resources on recorded statements and EUO, be sure check out these blog posts: