How to become an insurance claims adjuster

Becoming an insurance claims adjuster can be a rewarding career choice, offering a blend of investigative work, customer service, and financial analysis. Claims adjusters play a critical role in the insurance industry by evaluating insurance claims to determine the extent of the insuring company’s liability.

This article outlines the steps to becoming an insurance claims adjuster, the skills required, and the potential career paths available in this field.

Understanding the Role of an Insurance Claims Adjuster

Insurance claims adjusters are responsible for investigating insurance claims to ascertain the validity of the claim, determining the amount of coverage, and negotiating settlements. They work across various types of insurance, including auto, property, health, and workers’ compensation. Their duties include inspecting damaged properties or vehicles, interviewing claimants and witnesses, reviewing police reports and medical records, and writing detailed reports on their findings.

Steps to Become an Insurance Claims Adjuster

Education Requirements

High School Diploma or Equivalent: The minimum educational requirement for becoming a claims adjuster is typically a high school diploma or equivalent. However, many employers prefer candidates with some college education.

College Degree (Optional but Beneficial): While not always mandatory, obtaining a bachelor’s degree can enhance your job prospects and provide a solid foundation in relevant fields such as finance, business, or law.

Develop Relevant Skills

Analytical Skills: Adjusters need to analyze various documents and evidence to make informed decisions.

Attention to Detail: Precision is crucial when assessing damage and reviewing claims.

Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential for interviewing claimants and writing reports.

Negotiation Skills: Adjusters often negotiate settlements, requiring strong negotiation abilities.

Gain Experience

Entry-Level Positions: Consider starting in entry-level positions within the insurance industry, such as a claims assistant or customer service representative. This experience can provide valuable insights into the claims process and help you develop relevant skills.

Internships: Participating in internships during college can also provide hands-on experience and make you a more competitive candidate.

Obtain a License

Licensing Requirements: Licensing requirements for claims adjusters vary by state. Some states require adjusters to be licensed, while others do not. Check with your state’s insurance department for specific requirements.

Pre-Licensing Courses: Many states require completion of pre-licensing courses. These courses cover essential topics such as insurance law, ethics, and the claims process.

Pass the Licensing Exam: After completing the required coursework, you must pass a state licensing exam. The exam typically covers state insurance regulations, adjusting practices, and the specific type of insurance you plan to work in.

Continuing Education

Ongoing Training: Insurance regulations and practices are continually evolving. To stay current, many states require licensed adjusters to complete continuing education courses periodically.

Professional Development: Pursuing additional certifications, such as the Associate in Claims (AIC) designation, can enhance your expertise and career prospects. These certifications demonstrate your commitment to the profession and provide advanced knowledge in specific areas of claims adjusting.

Career Paths and Advancement

Types of Claims Adjusters

Staff Adjusters: These adjusters are employed directly by insurance companies. They handle claims for the company’s policyholders and typically receive a salary and benefits.

Independent Adjusters: Independent adjusters work on a contract basis for multiple insurance companies. They are often hired to handle claims after natural disasters or other large-scale events.

Public Adjusters: Public adjusters are hired by policyholders to represent their interests during the claims process. They negotiate with the insurance company on behalf of the policyholder to ensure a fair settlement.


Auto Claims Adjuster: Specializes in evaluating vehicle damage and determining settlements for auto insurance claims.

Property Claims Adjuster: Focuses on assessing damage to homes, businesses, and other properties.

Workers’ Compensation Adjuster: Handles claims related to workplace injuries and illnesses.

Health Insurance Claims Adjuster: Reviews and processes claims for medical expenses.

Advancement Opportunities

Senior Adjuster: With experience, adjusters can move into senior roles, managing more complex claims and mentoring junior adjusters.

Claims Manager: Claims managers oversee a team of adjusters, ensuring efficient claims processing and adherence to company policies.

Special Investigator: Some adjusters specialize in investigating suspicious or fraudulent claims, using their expertise to identify potential fraud.

Consultant or Trainer: Experienced adjusters may transition into consultancy roles, providing expert advice to insurance companies, or become trainers, educating new adjusters.

Challenges and Rewards


High Stress: The role can be stressful, especially when dealing with large volumes of claims or contentious negotiations.

Travel Requirements: Some adjusters, particularly those handling property or catastrophe claims, may need to travel frequently.

Emotional Demands: Adjusters often deal with individuals who are experiencing significant distress due to their losses.


Job Security: Insurance is a stable industry with a constant demand for claims adjusters.

Diverse Work: The job offers a variety of tasks and cases, ensuring that no two days are the same.

Helping People: Adjusters play a crucial role in helping people recover from losses and get their lives back on track.


Becoming an insurance claims adjuster is a structured yet flexible career path that offers a blend of investigative work, customer interaction, and problem-solving. By fulfilling the educational requirements, gaining relevant experience, obtaining necessary licenses, and pursuing ongoing education, you can build a successful career in this essential field. With opportunities for specialization and advancement, being an insurance claims adjuster can be both challenging and rewarding, providing a vital service to individuals and businesses in times of need.

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