How To Become an Insurance Adjuster

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: November 4, 2021  •  8 min read  •  Financial
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When you decide to become an insurance adjuster, you will be taking on an important position. While the public may not notice you, your job will be rather important. Some consider the career of an insurance adjuster to be one of the “hidden gems” in the insurance industry.

With insurance claims made daily, you will have a busy job. Learning how to become an insurance adjuster is a great way to enter a high-demand career. Let’s look at the job duties and the steps to become an insurance adjuster.

How To Become an Insurance Adjuster

Job Duties of an Insurance Adjuster

When you become an insurance claims adjuster, you will have plenty of job duties. Your main job is investigating claims to determine liability for the insurance company and the accident. You will also work to ensure the claim is legitimate.

Along with these main job duties, you will do all of the following:

It’s common for insurance adjusters to work with individuals on auto, property, life, or health insurance claims. You may specialize in one of these areas and help decide if a claim should be denied or approved.

How To Become an Insurance Adjuster in 4 Steps

Step #1 – Get Your High School Diploma or GED

If you want to become an insurance claims adjuster, you need a high school diploma or GED. If you don’t get this basic education, you cannot work as an adjuster. In addition, most employers won’t hire you without at least a high school education.

Step #2 – Choose the Type of Adjuster You Want to Be

After you finish high school, you will need to choose the type of insurance adjuster you want to be. This could be a staff, public, or independent adjuster. Of course, you can also specialize in a specific type of accident or claim.

Step #3 – Pass the Insurance License Exam

Most states require insurance adjusters to pass the insurance licensing exam. You will need to qualify to take the exam by completing the pre-licensing course in some states. After completing this course, online or in a classroom, you can take the exam.

If you plan to work outside of your state, you may also need to get a reciprocal license in any state you plan to work in. Each state is different. Make sure to check the requirements.

Step #4 – Maintain Your License

After getting your insurance license, you will need to maintain it. This requires you to get the right amount of continuing education credits. The requirements may be different from one state to another.

Different Types of Insurance Adjusters

When you decide to become an insurance adjuster, there are many different types. This career can go in a few different directions. Here are the types of insurance adjuster careers you can consider.

Public Adjuster

As a public insurance adjuster, you will be a professional working with customers and policyholders. You will likely work with those that don’t believe their insurance settlement is fair. For example, if someone was in a car accident and the insurance company doesn’t want to provide a fair settlement, your job will be to assess the claim. You might also fight on behalf of your clients.

Independent Adjuster

Another common type of insurance adjuster is an independent adjuster. This type of insurance adjuster will work on a contract basis for more than one insurance company. They may also work for third-party organizations. As an independent adjuster, you will be hired to investigate claims by insurance companies.

Independent insurance adjusters usually handle catastrophe-related claims. This may include natural disasters, fires, and hurricanes that tend to impact larger groups of people. If you choose to be an independent adjuster, you will likely travel for your job.

Staff Adjuster

If you become a staff insurance adjuster, you will work for a single insurance company. You will be in the claims management department. This is commonly a full-time job with a salary and benefits. It’s also the most common type of insurance adjuster. You will likely work with car accident cases if you become a staff adjuster.

Catastrophe Adjuster

Usually, a catastrophe adjuster is simply another type of independent adjuster. You will work in areas impacted by a natural disaster or another type of catastrophe.

Necessary Skills for Insurance Adjusters

While becoming an insurance adjuster doesn’t require a college degree, you should have specific skills. Some of the common skills you should have include:

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an Insurance Adjuster

How much will I make as an insurance adjuster?

An insurance adjuster’s average salary will likely be around $68K per year. However, this can vary, depending on your location, your experience, and your actual job.

Independent claims adjusters tend to make more. It’s common for these workers to be at the top of the PayScale. As an insurance adjuster, you can earn closer to $100K per year, with some experience.

Your salary will also depend on the type of claims you handle. For example, auto insurance adjusters tend to make around $68K per year, on average. This type of position is one of the most common within the industry.

California and New York tend to be the top paying states for insurance adjusters. Maryland and Colorado are not far behind, either.

Is the career of insurance adjuster growing?

No, this is not known as a growing career. However, it’s projected that the job of an insurance adjuster will decrease by about 4% over the next ten years. This may be due to the growth in technology and the ability to process claims much easier than before.

Do I need a degree to work as an insurance adjuster?

No. You do not have to get a college degree to work as an insurance adjuster. However, most companies do prefer to hire adjusters with a degree. You can get an associate or bachelor’s degree in insurance and risk management. This can help you land more and better jobs.

Do I have to get a license to work as an insurance adjuster?

Currently, 34 states require independent claims adjusters to get a license. You will need to take a pre-licensing course and pass the exam. In some states, you may also need to provide character references and get a surety bond.

Each state is a bit different. The exam maybe a total of 100 questions, like in California. There could be fewer or more questions, too. The exam will likely cover fair claim settlement practices, the Adjuster’s Act, and adjusting losses.

In some states, you will also need to pass a background check. It will depend on your state and your employer what type of things you will need to do.

What type of experience do I need to work as an insurance adjuster?

Most insurance companies only require one to five years of experience. Therefore, it’s common for insurance adjusters to work in an entry-level position with an insurance company first. However, if you become an independent claims adjuster, you can likely work without much experience.

Who will I work for as an insurance adjuster?

Most insurance adjusters work for insurance companies. However, it’s also possible to work for yourself and take on insurance companies as clients. Other employers may hire you, as well. Some adjusters work directly with people making claims, too.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.