How long does the insurance company have after they requested an examination under oath to have it done?

Just over 3 months ago, my house was burned. I have renter’s insurance and I have cooperated with my insurer 100%, however I feel that they have been treating me unfairly. I have numerous emails stating all of our conversations. And I also have the fire report which states that it was accidental. I’ve

submitted everything that they have asked for and contents-wise giving them pictures of contents prior to the fire that show I owned them because I don’t have any of the receipts left. I have cooperated as far as they have asked me to be recorded and interviewed over the phone which I have done that 2 times. Now they want me to have an examination under oath for no apparent reason. I have asked for copies of everything in my file and they have denied me of all

contents, except for a few things. I have email stating that they are not going to give me copies of anything else. I just feel that I have been treated unfairly and need an opinion as to what to do next. Do I call the insurance commissioner and file a complaint? There’s just so much that I believe they have done wrong and before it gets completely denied I need to know what I need to do next.

Asked on November 25, 2018 under Insurance Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Your recourse, if you believe the insurer is not paying you when they should, given the terms of your policy and the facts of the situation, would be to sue the insurer for "breach of contract" (an insurance policy is a contract) and also breach of the "implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing"--the obligation, imposed by law, for a party to a contract to act with good faith towards the other party and not deliberately act in such a way as to deny them the benefit of the contract.
Be aware that during that litigation, however, the insurer wils be able to take your examination under oath, whether in a deposition or at trial or both: while you may win your case, if you can show that their actions are violating their obligations, you cannot avoid the examination. You will be able to see copies of most of your file in the lawsuit--just not anything produced by an attorney (including their in-house lawyers), since such would fall under the attorney-client privilege.
The insurer can defend against the lawsuit by trying to show that their actions are appropriate--for example, that there is some question about your claim (either as to the cause of the fire or as to what you are claiming in losses) that they required investigation and an examintion to resolve: insurers are allowed to investigate claims that they deem suspicious in some way.

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