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Become An Auto Claims Adjuster

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Working As An Auto Claims Adjuster

  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Processing Information
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $58,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Auto Claims Adjuster Do

Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators evaluate insurance claims. They decide whether an insurance company must pay a claim and, if so, how much.

Duties  

Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators typically do the following:

  • Investigate, evaluate, and settle insurance claims
  • Determine whether the insurance policy covers the loss claimed
  • Decide the appropriate amount the insurance company should pay
  • Ensure that claims are not fraudulent
  • Contact claimants’ doctors or employers to get additional information on questionable claims
  • Confer with legal counsel on claims when needed
  • Negotiate settlements
  • Authorize payments

Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators have varying duties, depending on the type of insurance company they work for. They must know a lot about what their company insures. For example, workers in property and casualty insurance must know housing and construction costs to properly evaluate damage from floods or fires. Workers in health insurance must be able to determine which types of treatments are medically necessary and which are questionable. 

Adjusters inspect property damage to determine how much the insurance company should pay for the loss. They might inspect a home, a business, or an automobile.

Adjusters interview the claimant and witnesses, inspect the property, and do additional research, such as look at police reports. They may consult with other workers, such as accountants, architects, construction workers, engineers, lawyers, and physicians, who can offer a more expert evaluation of a claim.

Adjusters gather information—including photographs and statements, either written or recorded on audio or video—and put together a report for claims examiners to evaluate. When the examiner approves the claim, the adjuster negotiates with the policyholder and settles the claim.

If the claimant contests the outcome of the claim or the settlement, adjusters work with attorneys and expert witnesses to defend the insurer’s position.

Some claims adjusters work as self-employed public adjusters. Often, they are hired by claimants who prefer not to rely on the insurance company’s adjuster. The goal of adjusters working for insurance companies is to save as much money for the company as possible. The goal of a public adjuster working for a claimant is to get the highest possible amount paid to the claimant. They are paid a percentage of the settled claim.

Sometimes, self-employed adjusters are hired by insurance companies in place of hiring adjusters as regular employees. In this case, the self-employed adjusters work in the interest of the insurance company.

Appraisers estimate the cost or value of an insured item. Most appraisers who work for insurance companies and independent adjusting firms are auto damage appraisers. They inspect damaged vehicles after an accident and estimate the cost of repairs. This information then goes to the adjuster, who puts the estimated cost of repairs into the settlement.

Claims examiners review claims after they are submitted to ensure claimants and adjusters followed proper guidelines. They may assist adjusters with complicated claims or when, for example, a natural disaster occurs and the volume of claims increases.

Most claims examiners work for life or health insurance companies. Examiners who work for health insurance companies review health-related claims to see whether the costs are reasonable, given the diagnosis. After they review the claim, they authorize appropriate payment, deny the claim, or refer the claim to an investigator.

Examiners who work for life insurance companies review the causes of death and pay particular attention to accidents, because most life insurance companies pay additional benefits if a death is accidental. Examiners also may review new applications for life insurance policies, to make sure that the applicants have no serious illnesses that would make them a high risk to insure.

Insurance investigators handle claims in which the company suspects fraudulent or criminal activity such as arson, staged accidents, or unnecessary medical treatments. The severity of insurance fraud cases varies, from overstated claims of damage to vehicles to complicated fraud rings. Investigators often do surveillance work. For example, in the case of a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim, an investigator may covertly watch the claimant to see if he or she does anything that would be ruled out by injuries stated in the claim.

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How To Become An Auto Claims Adjuster

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for a person to work as an entry-level claims adjuster, examiner, or investigator. Higher level positions may require a bachelor’s degree or some insurance-related work experience. Auto damage appraisers typically have either a postsecondary nondegree award or work experience in identifying and estimating the cost of automotive repair.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for a person to work as an entry-level claims adjuster, examiner, or investigator. However, employers sometimes prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor’s degree or some insurance-related work experience or vocational training. Auto damage appraisers typically have either a postsecondary nondegree award or experience working in an auto repair shop, identifying and estimating the cost of automotive repair.

The varying types of work in these occupations can require different backgrounds or different college coursework. For example, a business or an accounting background might be best for someone who wishes to specialize in claims of financial loss due to strikes, equipment breakdowns, or merchandise damage. College training in architecture or engineering is helpful for adjusting industrial claims, such as those involving damage from fires or other accidents. A legal background is beneficial to someone handling workers’ compensation and product liability cases. A medical background is useful for examiners working on medical and life insurance claims.

Although auto damage appraisers are not required to have a college education, most companies prefer to hire people who have the formal training, experience, or knowledge and technical skills to identify and estimate the cost of automotive repair. Many vocational schools and some community colleges offer programs in auto body repair and teach students how to estimate the cost of repairing damaged vehicles.

For investigator jobs, a high school diploma or equivalent is the typical education requirement. Most insurance companies prefer to hire people trained as law enforcement officers, private investigators, claims adjusters, or examiners, because these workers have good interviewing and interrogation skills.

Training

At the beginning of their careers, claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators work on small claims, under the supervision of an experienced worker. As they learn more about claims investigation and settlement, they are assigned larger, more complex claims.

Auto damage appraisers typically get on-the-job training, which may last several months. This training usually involves working under the supervision of a more experienced appraiser while estimating damage costs, until the employer decides that the trainee is ready to do estimates on his or her own.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensing requirements for claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators vary by state. Some states have few requirements; others require either completing prelicensing education or receiving a satisfactory score on a licensing exam (or both).

In some states, claims adjusters employed by insurance companies do not have to become licensed themselves because they can work under the company license.

Public adjusters may need to meet separate or additional requirements.

Some states that require licensing also require a certain number of continuing education credits per year to renew the license. Federal and state laws and court decisions affect how claims must be handled and what insurance policies can and must cover. Examiners working on life and health claims must stay up to date on new medical procedures and the latest prescription drugs. Examiners working on auto claims must be familiar with new car models and the most recent repair techniques. In order to fulfill their continuing education requirements, workers can attend classes or workshops, write articles for claims publications, or give lectures and presentations.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Adjusters and examiners must both evaluate whether the insurance company is obligated to pay a claim and determine the amount to pay. Adjusters must carefully consider various pieces of information to reach a decision.

Communication skills. Claims adjusters and investigators must get information from a wide range of people, including claimants, witnesses, and medical experts. They must know the right questions to ask in order to gather the information they need.

Detail oriented. Adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators must carefully review documents and damaged property, because small details can have large financial consequences.

Interpersonal skills. Adjusters, examiners, and investigators often meet with claimants and others who may be upset by the situation that requires a claim or by the settlement the company is offering. These workers must be understanding, yet firm with their company’s policies.

Math skills. Appraisers must be able to calculate property damage.

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Auto Claims Adjuster Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
General Adjuster 5.0 years
Field Adjuster 4.8 years
Insurance Adjuster 3.8 years
Claims Adjuster 3.8 years
Property Adjuster 3.6 years
Adjuster 3.4 years
Top Careers Before Auto Claims Adjuster
Adjuster 8.8%
Cashier 4.2%
Internship 4.1%
Manager 3.4%
Supervisor 2.3%
Top Careers After Auto Claims Adjuster
Adjuster 12.7%
Estimator 3.7%
Manager 2.1%
Appraiser 2.1%

Do you work as an Auto Claims Adjuster?

Average Yearly Salary
$58,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$34,000
Min 10%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$99,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Farmers Insurance
Highest Paying City
Baltimore, MD
Highest Paying State
Virginia
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does an Auto Claims Adjuster make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Auto Claims Adjuster in the United States is $58,422 per year or $28 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $34,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $99,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of an Auto Claims Adjuster?

Have you worked as an Auto Claims Adjuster? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as an Auto Claims Adjuster.

Top Skills for An Auto Claims Adjuster

  1. Liability Decisions
  2. Total Loss Claims
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Served as a resource to peers by reviewing finalized liability decisions to ensure accuracy.
  • Settled approximately 80 total loss claims monthly * Utilized company specialized software to input and process claims information and make payments.
  • Inspect damaged property and manage claims process in accordance with company policy while providing excellent customer service.
  • Completed recorded statements and reviewed documentation to assist with negotiations with attorneys and other insurance companies.
  • Face to face and call center assistance of existing and potential customers as it relates to auto claims.

Auto Claims Adjuster Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 3,429 Auto Claims Adjuster resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Auto Claims Adjuster Resume

View Resume Examples

Auto Claims Adjuster Demographics

Gender

Male

45.2%

Female

43.4%

Unknown

11.4%
Ethnicity

White

60.6%

Hispanic or Latino

17.5%

Black or African American

12.8%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

73.3%

Portuguese

4.7%

French

4.7%

Carrier

3.5%

Polish

3.5%

German

2.3%

Chinese

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Japanese

1.2%

Urdu

1.2%

Armenian

1.2%

Hmong

1.2%

Arabic

1.2%
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Auto Claims Adjuster Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

23.1%

University of Texas at San Antonio

10.5%

University of South Florida

7.9%

Arizona State University

6.5%

University of North Texas

4.9%

Michigan State University

3.7%

Middle Tennessee State University

3.7%

Texas A&M University

3.7%

Community College of the Air Force

3.5%

University of the Incarnate Word

3.5%

Ashford University

3.3%

Grand Canyon University

3.3%

Hillsborough Community College

3.3%

Strayer University

3.0%

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

2.8%

Florida State University

2.8%

Kaplan University

2.8%

Illinois State University

2.6%

Texas Tech University

2.6%

Webster University

2.6%
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Majors

Business

34.7%

Criminal Justice

9.0%

Communication

6.2%

Psychology

5.4%

Management

4.6%

Finance

4.3%

Insurance

3.9%

Political Science

3.5%

Marketing

3.5%

Human Resources Management

3.3%

Accounting

3.2%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

English

2.3%

Education

2.3%

Sociology

2.2%

Health Care Administration

2.1%

General Studies

2.0%

Economics

1.8%

History

1.6%

Computer Information Systems

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

56.3%

Other

16.6%

Masters

12.6%

Associate

9.1%

Certificate

2.7%

License

1.1%

Diploma

0.8%

Doctorate

0.8%
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