The U.S. Supreme Court’s Explanation of False Swearing at Examination Under Oath that Results in a Policy Being Declared Void

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The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in CLAFLIN and others v. COMMONWEALTH INS. CO. OF BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, et al, 110 U.S. 81, 3 S.Ct. 507, 28 L.Ed. 76 (January 14, 1884) is the premier precedent that establishes that a falsely sworn statement at an insurance examination under oath requires the claim to be denied and the policy voided even if the insured had no intention of deceiving the insurer about the amount of loss.


The object of the provisions in the policies of insurance, requiring the assured to submit himself to an examination under oath, to be reduced to writing, was to enable the company to possess itself of all knowledge, and all information as to other sources and means of knowledge, in regard to the facts, material to their rights, to enable them to decide upon their obligations, and to protect them against false claims.