How to Become an Insurance Claims Adjuster
If you like investigative work, crunching numbers, and negotiating settlements, you could have a bright future as an insurance claims adjuster. Regardless of whether you are interested in a steady 9 to 5 job, or would prefer to choose when and how much you work, there’s an insurance claims career path that is right for you.
- Required Skills
- Education Requirements
- Career Paths
- Salary Ranges
- Job Outlook
- Steps to Become an Insurance Claims Adjuster
What is an Insurance Claims Adjuster?
Claims adjusters evaluate insurance claims to determine the liability of insurance companies. Adjusters can assess claims involving:
- Construction defects
- Equipment losses
- Mechanical and electrical failures
- Natural disasters
- Personal injuries
- Third-person property damage
Required Skills to Be an Insurance Adjuster
The skills required to become an insurance adjuster can seem straightforward but put in practice can be difficult. Adjusters will need customer service skills such as: patience, empathy, and communication.
For example, when talking with an individual who just lost their house in a natural disaster, the adjuster should be respectful while working through the claims process with the insured.
Insurance adjusters should also be able to drive a vehicle and learn a claims management system. Claims software such as Xactimate can make the process go smoothly but each environment will have its own set of operating procedures that new adjusters will need to learn.
Insurance Claims Adjuster Education Requirements
To become a claims adjuster, applicants should have a high school diploma or GED. Depending on the employer or specific job requirements, applicants may need an associate's or bachelor's degree.
Licenses For Insurance Adjusters
The state you reside in determines if a license is required to function as an insurance adjuster.
If you live in a state that requires a license, you will need to pass an exam to earn the license and renew the license with continuing education credits throughout your career. Each state has its own licensing exam and some state licenses will allow you to adjust in multiple states.
Career Paths for Insurance Claim Adjusters
Becoming a claims adjuster will immerse you into the insurance industry and give you the ability to move into management or analyst positions. Some claims adjusters decide to transition to sales or business development positions with forensic engineering firms or equipment restoration companies.
Salaries can vary from state to state however the median base salary for a claims adjuster in the United States is around $65,000. The more experience an individual has, the more money they can expect to earn as a claims adjuster.
Currently, over 349,000 claims adjusters are employed in the United States. From 2020 - 2030, over 25,000 jobs are expected to become open each year. This should provide interested individuals with ample opportunities to gain employment as a claims adjuster, especially adjusters with multiple state licenses.
How Long Does it Take to Become an Insurance Adjuster?
For individuals who have no work experience or high school diploma, it may take 2-4 years to meet all the requirements. If an individual has a high school diploma and some relevant work experience, and all they need to do is earn an adjuster's license, it can only take a few weeks to become a claims adjuster.
Why Become an Insurance Adjuster?
Becoming a claims adjuster can give you the ability to:
- Earn a salary higher than the average salary in the United States
- Work from home
- Be flexible with which claims get worked on
- Have health insurance and a retirement plan
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Steps To Becoming an Insurance Adjuster
Below are steps to follow if you are considering becoming an insurance adjuster.
Step 1: Pick an Insurance Adjuster Career Path
There are a few different routes available to claims adjusters. Each path offers different benefits and should be investigated closely to determine which makes the most sense for you.
Step 2: Complete an Insurance Licensing Course and Exam
Start becoming familiar with the insurance licensing requirements for the states you expect to work claims in. If you live in a state that requires adjusters to be licensed, you should get your home state license first. Typically, that license will have reciprocity with many other states, allowing you to apply for a non-resident adjuster license without needing to take that state’s adjuster licensing exam.
If you live in a state that does not require an adjuster’s license, you can legally adjust claims without becoming licensed. Since insurance adjusters often deal with natural disasters, however, being licensed in multiple states will help you become a successful claims adjuster. Some state licenses allow you to work in multiple states. If you would like to adjust claims in multiple states while living in a state that does not require an adjuster’s license, you can get a Designated Home State (DHS) license.
The DHS adjuster license is available to an individual who is a resident of a state that does not license adjusters, or to an individual that is a company or staff adjuster and resides in a state that only licenses independent adjusters and wants to designate a non-resident state as their home state. By obtaining a license in another state under the Designated Home State exemption, adjusters can adjust claims in the designated state and any states that have reciprocity with the designated state.
For example, a Florida 70-20 Non-Resident Designated Home State Adjuster license provides non-Florida residents a chance to designate Florida as their “home state” and work claims in Florida along with many other states.
Expert Tip: Adjusters with no state licenses may have trouble finding employment as a company or staff adjuster because they usually work for large firms that cover multiple states.
Step 3: Maintain Licensure (Continuing Education)
States that require licenses likely also require continuing education credits for adjuster license renewal. Continuing education (CE) credits can be earned from live or online courses. Occasionally, CE can also be earned from employer-provided training sessions, or by publishing articles or giving lectures related to the insurance claims industry.
Check your state’s licensing requirements to find out what CE is required and how you can fulfill those requirements to keep your license active.
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