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Claims Adjuster Career Guide

What is a claims adjuster?

A claims adjuster is like a detective in the insurance world. They handle insurance claims by figuring out how much money the insurance company should pay. When someone files a claim because something bad happened, like a car crash or a house fire, the claims adjuster is the person they talk to first. They check if the claim is valid and fight against any fake claims.

Duties and responsibilities

Claims adjusters have a lot on their plate. They start by reviewing claims to ensure everything’s filled out correctly and the necessary documents are present. Then, they dive into investigating—this could mean visiting where the incident happened, talking to people who saw it, or chatting with experts.

After gathering all the info, they decide if the claim is legit and how much money to give. Sometimes, they need to negotiate with the people who made the claim to agree on a fair amount. They also write reports about their findings and help answer any questions during the process.

Work environment

Claims adjusters work in different places. Sometimes, they’re in an office, but they don’t just sit at a desk all day. They often go out to see damaged places or meet people related to the claim.

Typical work hours

Usually, claims adjusters work regular business hours, like a typical 9-to-5 job. They often have to change their schedule, maybe going to an accident site after hours or meeting people when they’re free. They need to be flexible; if they work extra hours or on weekends, they often get paid more.

How to become a claims adjuster

Becoming a claims adjuster involves education, experience, and getting the right certifications. Here’s a quick guide on what you need to do:

Step 1: Complete high school

First things first, you need at least a high school diploma. Focus on classes that build your skills in analyzing stuff, talking to people, and negotiating – all super important for this job.

Step 2: Consider a bachelor’s degree

It’s not a must, but having a degree, especially in something like business, finance, or law, can really help you stand out.

Step 3: Gain some experience

Try to work in areas related to insurance or customer service. This experience is gold as it teaches you how to handle customer issues, something you’ll do a lot as an adjuster.

Step 4: Obtain a license

In many places, you’ll need a license to be a claims adjuster. This usually means passing an exam or taking a special course. Check out what your area requires.

Step 5: Get certified

While it’s not always needed, being certified can boost your career. It shows you know your stuff and are serious about the job. You’ll need to pass an exam and maybe meet some experience requirements.

Step 6: Apply for jobs

Now, with education, experience, and maybe a certification in hand, start applying. Make sure your resume shines and your cover letter is on point, showing why you’re a great fit for the job.

Step 7: Keep learning

The learning doesn’t stop once you get the job. The insurance world is always changing, so keep up with new trends and laws. Join groups, attend workshops, or take extra classes to stay sharp.

How much do claims adjusters make?

The amount of money claims adjusters make can vary based on a few things. You’ll likely earn more if you’ve been doing the job for a while or are really good at handling complicated claims. Having a bachelor’s degree can sometimes mean a bigger paycheck as well.

Where you work matters too, with adjusters in the insurance and government sectors getting higher salaries. It also depends on where you live; some states pay more than others.

Highest paying industries

  • Direct Insurance Carriers: $67,540
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises: $65,870
  • Insurance Agencies and Brokerages: $62,870
  • Federal Government: $61,930
  • State Government: $59,600

Highest paying states

  • Connecticut: $71,790
  • Washington: $71,300
  • New Jersey: $70,520
  • Alaska: $70,300
  • Massachusetts: $70,090

Browse claims adjuster salary data by market

Types of claims adjusters

Claims adjusters can specialize in different areas. Here’s a quick look at some of them:

  • Auto claims adjuster: These are the go-to people when there’s a car accident. They figure out how badly the car is damaged, talk to anyone who saw the accident, and decide how much the insurance should pay.
  • Property claims adjuster: If something happens to a house or a business building, like a fire or a flood, these adjusters step in. They work out how much the damage is worth and help settle the claim.
  • Workers’ compensation claims adjuster: When an employee gets hurt or sick at work, these adjusters take charge. They check if the claim is valid, help sort out medical care, and handle any disagreements about the compensation.
  • Catastrophe claims adjuster: These adjusters deal with the big stuff – like damage from hurricanes or wildfires. They often travel to where the disaster happened and work long hours to assess all the damage.
  • Medical claims adjuster: These folks handle claims related to health and medical services. They need to know a lot about medical stuff and health insurance to figure out what the insurance company needs to pay for.

Top skills for claims adjusters

  • Technical knowledge and interpretation skills: Claims adjusters must really know their stuff. They should understand insurance policies inside and out and keep up with any new rules.
  • Negotiation and communication abilities: Being a good talker and listener is vital. These adjusters need to discuss things clearly and effectively with all sorts of people.
  • Analytical skills and attention to detail: This job is a lot about digging into details. Whether it’s looking over documents, figuring out losses, checking if a claim is legit, or spotting fraud, being sharp and thorough is a must.
  • Flexibility and stress management: The workload can change a lot, especially after big events. Adjusters need to be able to handle the pressure, juggle tasks, and not get overwhelmed.
  • Customer service and empathy: They often deal with people going through tough times. It’s super important to understand and help them and make the whole insurance process smoother and kinder.

Claims adjuster career path

Starting out

At first, claims adjusters usually handle easier cases to get the hang of things. They learn about insurance policies and how to work out the value of claims.

Moving up

As they get better and know more, they start dealing with bigger, more complicated cases. It’s like leveling up in a game – the challenges get steeper, but so do the skills.

Aiming for senior adjuster

Many adjusters work toward becoming senior adjusters. In this role, they handle really complex cases and also help teach and guide the newer adjusters.

Becoming a supervisor or manager

The next step could be overseeing a whole team of adjusters. This means making big decisions about how to manage claims and leading others in the process.


Some choose to focus on a particular type of insurance, like car, health, or home insurance. This makes them experts in that specific area.

Branching out

There are other directions too, like becoming a claims analyst, risk manager, or consultant. These jobs are about looking at risks and giving advice on how to handle them.

Going solo

With lots of experience, some adjusters might even start their own insurance agency or consultancy.

  • Tech takeover: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are being used more and more, which means a lot of the routine stuff is getting automated. Adjusters now need to be good with tech and ready to focus more on analyzing data than doing manual tasks.
  • Startup scene: With lots of new tech startups in the picture, the job is becoming faster-paced and more innovative. These companies are shaking up the traditional way of handling claims, so adjusters need to keep learning and adapt quickly to new methods.
  • Remote work rise: Working from home is getting popular in this field, so being able to manage your tasks well while not in an office is super important.
  • Natural disasters demand: There has been an increase in claims from severe weather and natural disasters. It’s not just about the numbers—understanding and caring for people who’ve gone through tough times is a big part of it.

Employment projections for claims adjusters

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, claims adjuster jobs might be 6% fewer through 2031. This is because technology is starting to take over many of their tasks. Despite this, adjusters will still be needed, especially for dealing with car accidents, natural disasters, and health-related claims.

Claims adjuster career tips

Master communication

Being a top-notch communicator means not only understanding insurance policies well but also explaining them clearly and with empathy to people making claims. Your way with words can really make a difference.

Stay up-to-date

The insurance world is always changing, so keep up! Whether it’s new rules, types of claims, or tech updates, being in the know is crucial. You can do this by attending courses, reading industry news, or joining online groups.

Build your network

Knowing the right people can be a game-changer. Connect with other insurance pros, legal experts, and peers in the field. Join groups like the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance or the National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters to expand your circle.

Form good relationships

You’re often the face of the insurance company. Building good, respectful relationships with everyone involved can make the claims process smoother and faster.

Be analytic

A big part of your job is to look at a lot of information and make smart decisions. Sharpening your analytical skills is important for figuring out what’s a valid claim and how much should be paid.

Never stop learning

The insurance industry keeps evolving. Stay ahead by learning continuously. You can get certifications like the Associate in Claims (AIC) or attend industry workshops and events.

Where the claims adjuster jobs are

Top employers

  • Progressive
  • Allstate
  • State Farm
  • Liberty Mutual

Top states

  • New York
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Pennsylvania

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster
  • CareerBuilder


What skills are necessary for a claims adjuster?

They need excellent analytical, communication, and negotiation skills. Being adaptable and able to handle pressure is also essential.

What is a typical day like for a claims adjuster?

A typical day might include reviewing insurance claims, evaluating the extent of the insurance company’s liability, communicating with the claimants and other relevant parties, negotiating settlements, and processing the final claims paperwork. They might also perform site inspections and have to travel depending on the nature of the claim.

What educational background is required for becoming a claims adjuster?

Most positions require a bachelor’s degree. Relevant fields may include business, finance, legal studies, or another related field. Additionally, licensing is often required, typically involving completing pre-licensing coursework and passing the state’s licensing examination.

How important is experience for a claims adjuster?

Experience is highly recommended as it gives them firsthand insight into the insurance industry, the negotiation process, and the claims management workflow. This experience can be gained through internships or entry-level roles in insurance companies.

What is the difference between a claims adjuster, appraiser, examiner, and investigator?

While these roles often overlap, there are differences. Adjusters evaluate insurance claims and negotiate settlements. Appraisers evaluate the cost of damages to property and vehicles. Examiners review claims to ensure compliance with policies and regulations. Investigators look into suspicious or potentially fraudulent claims.

Are there any certification programs for claims adjusters?

Yes, several certification programs are available. Some popular ones include the CPCU and AIC. These programs may require passing exams and completing continuing education courses to maintain the certification.

What software tools does a claims adjuster typically utilize?

They often use specialized software tools that help manage claims, such as claim processing and estimating software. They might also use database software to track claims, spreadsheet software for calculations, and email programs for communicating with claimants and other relevant parties.

Is there a demand for claims adjusters in the market?

The demand may fluctuate depending on the economy and the insurance industry’s overall health. According to the BLS, employment of claims adjusters is projected to decline slightly over the next decade. However, the need to replace retiring workers will still produce opportunities.

What is the career progression for a claims adjuster?

The progression usually involves starting as a junior or associate adjuster, gaining experience, and moving up into senior or specialist roles, which handle more complex claims. Eventually, they may progress to supervisory or managerial roles. Some might also choose to specialize further or move into risk management or underwriting roles.

Is being a claims adjuster stressful?

Claims adjusting can be challenging and sometimes stressful due to the nature of the work. Nevertheless, how an individual manages stress varies, and many find the problem-solving elements and variability of the job quite rewarding.