Insurance & Public Adjusters

A Guide to Understanding What - and who - You're Dealing With


Pasquali Law Litigation

1220 Howard Avenue
Burlingame, CA 94010



Pasquali Interview




Mission Statement





San Mateo Peninsula: (650)579-0100

San Francisco: (415)841-1000



Insurance Claims: Auto accidents; insurance claims; bad faith denial of claims; personal injury; wrongful death.

Employment Law: Discrimination; harassment; TItle VII; wage & hour claims.

Probate Litigation: Elder abuse

Business LitigationBreach of contract

Fire Loss & Public Adjusters

    "Our information is not legal advice." That’s the by-line of one of those “public adjusters” who recently began “pursing” one of my clients “aggressively.” When she first called me, she wanted to know “why” so called public adjusters “weren’t” a good deal. Other than money, they’re fine.

          Public adjusters are not attorneys. Your communications with them are not protected by the Attorney-Client Privilege. Your communications with an attorney are confidential, the privilege is recognized by both California and by federal law. Your letters, e-mails, and conversations with a public adjuster are not covered by this shield. Also, if the fire loss was the responsibility of a third party, you ought to think twice before giving the other's guy's insurance company a statement (this is different from statements which your own insurance company may require of you). In cases involving third parties, an attorney can assist you by either presenting a claim on your behalf or by tendering the matter.

Think Twice

          Insurance companies usually require that you fill out a proof of loss form. That document is typically signed either under penalty of perjury or notarized. Material misstatements, or omissions, even accidental ones, can result in a denial of your entire claim, or worse, allegations of insurance fraud (which the insurance company is legally entitled to not inform you that they are investigating or have reported to the California Department of Insurance). Public adjusters are prohibited by law from giving you any advice as to the legal ramifications of the document you’re signing. They just pass it on, like so many bits of paper to the insurance company. After all, it's just another form. Typically, public adjusters take 15% of the amount of your claim, they’ll “negotiate” their rate if your claim is big enough. Sounds pretty good compared to paying a lawyer doesn’t it? Think again.

          While it is true that a public adjuster can be a convenience, by going through your loss site, documenting and photographing room contents, storing partially damaged articles as further “proof” of the loss, and helping you document your loss (item description/manufacturer/serial number/date purchased/age/replacement or restoration cost/today’s actual cash value) you can do that yourself! Read your policy carefully. Did you have, for example, Replacement Cost Coverage or just an Actual Cash Value (ACV) policy? Either way, your insurance company will write you an ACV check right away for fire destroyed items. But ACV is only what the item would be worth on the used market (a $500 down comforter might be “worth” five bucks at a garage sale.) If you had the more expensive Replacement Cost Coverage, your policy probably requires that you actually replace the item before you can get paid that difference. Also, your policy may provide for other benefits, such as living expenses. The question that you need to ask is: is the convenience of having an independent adjuster find these things for you worth paying a percentage of the entire claim? Yes, I’d like help taking pictures and filling out forms, but 10% of a million bucks should buy more than the use of a smart phone!

Why Are You Paying Him?

          Ask yourself this: Why am I paying a percentage for money which I’m apt to get anyway? Your insurance company, whom public adjusters help you “deal with” owes you a duty of good faith and fair dealing. All that a public adjuster does is place a value on your claim and negotiate with the insurance company. You can place a value on your own claim, or hire someone to do that for you. The point is this, in exercising your choices you can do it yourself, hire a public adjuster, or hire a lawyer. If you don’t want to do it yourself, and you’re willing to pay a premium to have somebody else to do all the running around and documenting, a public adjuster might be for you. But for most people, the real choice is: do it yourself or, if your insurance company is being less than fair, hire a lawyer; he/she is the one to be “aggressive” when the situation calls for it.

          This office proudly invites you to view testimonials from past clients, inspect a work history of hands-on courtroom experience, and read free information written at LawSuite on behalf of clients. Welcome.

Free Consultation - call Pasquali Law (650) 579-0100

A boutique law office where clients matter.


In Burlingame, California and serving the S.F. Bay Area cities of San Francisco, Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Fairfield, Santa Rosa, Sunnyvale, Vallejo, Alameda, Alamo, Albany, American Canyon, Ashland, Bay Point, Belmont, Benicia, Blackhawk-Camino Tassajara, Brentwood, Campbell, Capitola, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Clayton, Cupertino, Danville, Dixon, Dublin, East Palo Alto, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Foster City, Gilroy, Half Moon Bay, Healdsburg, Hercules, Hillsborough, Hollister, Lafayette, Larkspur, Live Oak, Livermore, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Martinez, Menlo Park, Mill Valley, Milpitas, Moraga, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Napa, Newark, North Bay, Novato, Oakley, Orinda, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Peninsula, Petaluma, Piedmont, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, Rohnert Park, San Anselmo, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, San Mateo, San Pablo, San Rafael, San Ramon, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, Scotts Valley, South Bay,, Stanford, Suisun City, Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, Union City, Vacaville, Walnut Creek, Watsonville, Windsor, and Marin County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Monterey County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Solano County, and Napa County.