How to Become an Insurance Adjuster

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Insurance adjusters make about $65,000 per year on average and you don't need a college degree to become one. In addition to helping people get their lives back to normal following an accident, a career as an insurance adjuster can give you stability and flexibility rarely seen in other jobs open to high school graduates. Here's a closer look at what insurance adjusters do and how to become one.

If you want to become an insurance adjuster, start your job search on ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter is free for job seekers and you can apply for jobs with a single click!

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What Is An Insurance Adjuster?

An insurance adjuster, also known as a claims adjuster, investigates insurance claims and helps the insurance company decide how much to pay for the damages. They can work for auto, health, life, and property insurance companies and some even work on a freelance basis.

What Does An Insurance Adjuster Do?

Insurance adjusters usually do the following:

  • Interviewing the person who made the insurance claim and any other witnesses to the damages
  • Gathering police reports, medical reports, and other relevant documentation
  • Personally inspect damages
  • Determining if the damage is covered under the insurance policy
  • Estimating the total cost of the damages
  • Compiling a report and notifying all parties of the results

Types Of Insurance Adjusters

There are three main types of insurance adjusters. They are:

Staff Adjusters

These are insurance adjusters that work for a specific insurance company. They're paid a salary and typically receive benefits from their employer.

Independent Adjusters

Independent adjusters work as independent contractors, often for multiple insurance companies. Insurers may call upon independent adjusters when they don't have a staff adjuster living in the area or during a disaster situation when they require extra help.

Public Adjusters

Public adjusters work for individuals rather than insurance companies. If a person isn't happy with the way their insurance company handled a claim, they may hire a public adjuster to give them a second opinion.

Steps To Become An Insurance Adjuster

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No matter what type of insurance adjuster you hope to become, the steps are pretty much the same. Here's what you need to do:

1. Obtain a high school diploma or GED

You'll need a high school diploma or a GED in order to work as an insurance adjuster. Most insurance companies don't require a postsecondary degree.

2. Pass a licensing exam

Many states, though not all, require their insurance adjusters to pass a licensing exam before they can work. Many insurance companies also require this of their adjusters, even if they live in a state that doesn't mandate it.

Check with your state licensing board to find out its requirements. Then, look into prep courses or other resources to help you prepare.

3. Apply to become an insurance adjuster

Once you've passed your exam, you can apply to become a licensed insurance adjuster. This usually involves filling out an application and paying a fee.

4. Apply for reciprocal licenses if necessary

If you believe you'll work on claims in other states -- for example, if you want to help with insurance claims in disaster areas -- you'll need to apply for a reciprocal license in another state. You usually don't need to take a licensing exam to do this unless you don't have a license.

5. Decide what type of insurance adjuster you want to be

Think about the types of claims you'd like to work with and whether you'd like to work for a company or as an independent contractor. Keeping your answers in mind will help you find the jobs that are right for you.

6. Update your resume

Before applying to new jobs, be sure to update your resume to reflect your new credentials and any experience you have working in the field. If you've never worked in insurance before, highlight any skills, like working with people, that will help you in your career as an insurance adjuster. And if you aren't confident in your resume writing skills, you can always employ a resume writing service.

7. Apply for jobs

The last step is to apply for insurance adjuster jobs that fit your criteria. ZipRecruiter is a great place to start. It's free to use and has powerful filters to help you quickly find the positions that best suit you.

Related: How To Become An Insurance Agent

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about working as an insurance adjuster:

What does an insurance adjuster do?

Insurance adjusters investigate claims for insurance companies and help them estimate the cost of the damages.

How much do top insurance adjusters make?

The median pay for insurance adjusters was about $65,000 in 2021. Some make much more than this, especially if they process a high number of claims following natural disasters.

How do I succeed as an insurance adjuster?

Aspiring insurance adjusters first need to make sure they're properly licensed. Then, they need to think about which type of claims they need to work on. And, of course, practice will improve your skills.

Is being an insurance adjuster hard?

Being an insurance adjuster can be a busy job, particularly for those who work in disaster areas. But there are plenty of online resources to help you learn about the job before you take your licensing exam, so you should feel prepared by the time you begin work.

The Bottom Line

Becoming an insurance adjuster can be a rewarding career and it doesn't take too long to get your credentials either. Once you're licensed, head on over to ZipRecruiter to see what insurance adjuster positions are available in your area.