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Washington State Insurance Law: What is an Examination Under Oath?

November 11, 2020 – Matt Albrecht

Washington State Insurance Law: What is an Examination Under Oath?

Homeowners’ insurance should provide financial protection for people when they need it the most. Ideally, you will submit your property damage claim to the insurance company and you will receive a full and fair settlement check without much hassle or delay. Unfortunately, the reality is not always so simple. In some cases, insurers drag their feet in reviewing and processing claims.

You may even receive a somewhat intimidating notice indicating that the company is seeking an ‘examination under oath’. We want to make sure that you know your rights and responsibilities. In this article, our Spokane insurance attorneys explain the most important things you should know about examinations under oath and property damage claims in Washington.

Examination Under Oath: What to Know

An examination under oath is a formalized proceeding where the insurance provider’s representative (typically their attorney) asks questions to the policyholder in the presence of a court reporter. The answers will then be used to help resolve the underlying insurance claim. Prior to answering questions, the policyholder is sworn-in—meaning the questions will be answered under oath and intentional misrepresentations are subject to penalty of law.

As a general rule, you are required to submit to an examination under oath when a valid request is made by an insurance company. Failure to do so may result in the denial of your claim or the voiding of property insurance policy. If you have questions about an examination under oath request, a Spokane insurance attorney can help you prepare.

Insurance Law: Proof of Loss Required, Examination Under Oath Must be Material

You may be wondering: Will I be required to submit to an examination under oath if I submit a property insurance claim? The answer is most often “no”—though it is possible in some cases. Under Washington law (RCW 48.18.460), insurance companies have a right to demand “proof of loss” from a policyholder. State law permits insurers to seek an examination of under oath as part of their proof of loss.

That being said, there are both practical and legal limitations to be aware of. First, property insurers certainly do not require an examination under oath for every claim. Conducting one can be a cumbersome, time-intensive process for the insurance companies. In addition, Washington courts have found that insurance companies may only demand an examination under oath if it is actually material to the case. Insurers must ask relevant questions and they are prohibited from using the examination under oath process to harass policyholders.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Spokane Insurance Denial Attorney

At‌ ‌Albrecht‌ ‌Law‌ ‌PLLC, our Washington insurance appeals lawyers are skilled and results-motivated advocates for clients. If you have any questions or concerns about examinations under oath and your rights, we are more than ready to help. Contact us now for a free, completely confidential case evaluation. We represent clients in Spokane and all around the region, including in Stevens County, Spokane County, Ferry County, Lincoln County, Grant County, and Franklin County.

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