Should you become an insurance adjuster?
June 21, 2021
Becoming an insurance adjuster is a good career choice for many people. The business will never go away and adjusters are always in need! Just about everything can be insured, from homes to cars to pets and more. Keep reading to discover some of the best reasons to become an insurance adjuster:
No College Required
You do not need a college degree to become an insurance adjuster. Adjusting is actually a great direction for a young person who can’t decide what they want to go to college for in the first place. The training is also affordable compared to getting a 4-year degree. Keep in mind though that just because you don’t have to have a college degree doesn’t mean there’s not a ton to learn as you get started!
For the most part, states require you to be at least 18 years of age, hold a valid driver’s license, obtain a license to adjust claims, and pass a background test. Costs will vary from state to state and according to what kind of adjusting you choose, as you will not only have to pay for licensing and training, you’ll need to build in the cost of equipment such as a ladder, camera, laptop, etc. Once you build rapport with firms and begin to be deployed, adjusters can make six figures in this line of work, and normally by working a flexible schedule too!
Everyone wants to know, how much does an adjuster make? Unfortunately, there’s no single answer here, as it really depends on factors like how often you’re deployed, what licenses you hold, what types of claims you handle (flood, wind, auto, etc), how much you prefer to work, whether you work inside desk or outside field, etc. Many adjusters do not work a full year and take off months at a time.
The average adjuster's salary sits at around $52,000 a year (Indeed.com). As of May 2019, it was reported that about 10% of adjusters make more than $100,000 in a year. Another 10% of adjusters make about $40,000 in a year (Adjuster Pro). That is a significant difference that shows the range in compensation.
Staff adjusters are salaried employees of the company they work for and independent claims adjusters are independent contractors who work for adjusting firms. This difference also plays a role in the range of pay.
Staff adjusters are usually on the lower end of the salary range. At entry-level, they make about $40,000 a year, but the salary ranges from $30,000 to $70,000 per year (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Independent adjusters typically make more than the average, especially for a catastrophe event. These adjusters can make upwards or more than $100,000 a year. They can work when they choose which is why it’s hard to pinpoint a salary range for insurance adjusters. Their salary will fluctuate depending on the year.
Challenging Career Path
This career can be challenging for a few reasons, which is great because it will always keep you on your toes. Insurance adjusters are the first people to respond when a catastrophe strikes. Oftentimes when there is a catastrophe, you’re arriving before the roads are clear and getting ready to help put the city back together. Adjusters are dealing with policyholders who are distraught and may have lost property or even family members or neighbors.
If you like independence, then adjusting might be for you. Build your reputation to become known as a reliable and high-quality adjuster, and you’ll gain more trust (and claims!) from the IA firms. You can work for a few months out of the year and then take it easy during the holidays. You can pick and choose if you want to travel and which assignments to take. If you choose, you can even hire an assistant that can help you with your paperwork and consulting.
Some adjusters prefer to stick to their hometown but many choose to take deployments all around the country, staying on the road for months. Forest fires, floods, hail storms, ice storms, earthquakes, and tornadoes are only some of the disasters that occur all over the country each year. This means that you could potentially travel from coast to coast. Many adjusters travel to their destination and book hotel rooms or Airbnbs during their assignments. Couples can travel in an RV and rent out a campsite to set up a temporary home.
No matter the season, there will always be work for an insurance adjuster in different parts of the country. Many assignments will last longer than a month and you could be there for years if you choose. So if you like to travel, but also like to settle in for a while, you get the best of both worlds.
One of the best things about being an insurance adjuster is the flexibility that comes with this role. Independent adjusters get to pick and choose the claims and firms they work with and handle claims from many insurance carriers.
What matters most is getting your claims done in a timely manner. You must be able to meet strict deadlines when you accept a deployment. So although your schedule is somewhat up to you, you must make it a priority to contact the insured within 24 hours, do an inspection of the damaged property within 3 days, and an estimate of damage written up within 2 days after that. Fair warning: adjusters typically work long hours and during a catastrophe, you’ll find yourself working 12–16 hour days, 7 days a week.
Insurance adjusting is such a rewarding career, which is why we recommend you do your research and decide if it’s the right path for you! Email our Recruiting, Deployment, and Licensing (RDL) team at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask any questions you might have, and how you can get started. We’ll do our best to set you up for success!