Are you interested in becoming a damage insurance appraiser? Do you want to figure out how to become a claims adjuster without spending a lot of time or money? Here is the right source. All your questions will be answered in this article.
You want to become an auto insurance appraiser or an insurance adjuster and you’re thinking; what are the perks? Do I stand a chance in the market? Well, yes you do. The steps below are comprehensible, practicable and achievable. You will go step by step from how to get educational qualification, how to get your license as well as licensing requirements, how to choose where to work, what the hiring company, or the company needing your independent service will expect you to have and know. At the end of this article, you should be set to become an auto insurance appraiser.
Who Is an Auto Insurance Appraiser?
An auto insurance appraiser is one who is hired by insurance companies to examine vehicles damaged after an auto crash. An insurance appraiser does the following:
- Takes a look at the vehicle,
- Take pictures of visible damage,
- Interview drivers, passengers, and accident witnesses,
- Make a comprehensive assessment of the amount the insurance company should pay for repair costs.
Auto insurance appraisers spend long hours in auto repair shops negotiating repair costs and replacement parts with shops and equipment suppliers, as well as making payment to claimants.
Although auto insurance appraisers must have a college education, most insurance companies prefer to hire appraisers with formal training, experience, or knowledge and technical skills to figure out and estimate the cost of automotive repair.
Independent or Staff Auto Insurance Appraiser? Highlights and Pitfalls
Independent Auto Insurance Appraiser
If you wish to become an independent appraiser, it is important to know the highlights and the pitfalls.
- You will set your schedule as you please
- You get paid per claim
- There is a good potential of earning higher
- You can work for different insurance companies without being bound by one company.
- You can decide how many insurance claims you want to inspect in a day
- Typically, Independent claims appraisers earn better remuneration than insurance company appraiser
- A degree from college is not needed to become an independent appraiser
- It may be challenging to find work since you have to source for clients on your own.
- You will have to handle all your expenses, including money to set up and run the business, travel costs, and all you need to become an independent auto appraiser.
- Taking full responsibility for your business
- Jobs may not be frequent as expected
- It would be best if you organized your business, get all your contacts and accounts.
- Consistency and self-discipline matter a lot.
Staff Auto Insurance Appraiser
- The company or firm has already provided work
- You are entitled to all the benefit packages of being a corporate employee
- There is consistent work, and earnings are consistent
- You have no issue looking for clients
- Your schedule has been pre-set for you
- Earnings are capped
- You can only work for one company
- Your activities are supervised and monitored
- You cannot make independent decisions
- Getting hired is a tedious process
- Most firms require a college degree to pick employees
Once you make up your mind on the type of auto damage appraiser you’d like to become; You must put in A LOT OF EFFORT because obviously, it is not a walk in the park either way.
7 Steps on How Become an Auto Insurance Appraiser
Let’s examine some of the steps on how to become an auto insurance appraiser.
These steps aim to put you through the process of how to become an auto insurance appraiser, with a complete business legally ready to function. In the end, you would be fully prepared by having the proper education you need, the right insurance license, and your bank account before you start seeking clients. The goal is so that you can confidently write an auto damage estimate using the following steps:
Step 1: Acquire a Degree or Certification
This is a major step on how to become an auto insurance appraiser. Considering the nature of the job, including inspecting damaged vehicles and assessing repair costs, people who will employ you would be more confident if you have at least a high school diploma and a good knowledge of auto body repairs. Intending auto insurance appraisers could get a college degree or attend a vocational school to earn a certificate/certification.
The practical learning techniques used by many learning institutions develop students and equip them with experiential know-how of auto body repair utilizing contemporary methods and practices. These learning institutions train students to recognize and diagnose automotive problems.
Auto damage appraisers need to understand the automobile designs, metal configuration, glass equipment, paintwork, frame, and body arrangement used in automotive construction. Schools and colleges often stick to industry-standard training and certification classes, for example, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, I-CAR, and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
Acquire a necessary computer skill: Auto damage appraisers should be skilled with computers and necessary software that the job may require, such as record keeping and proper communication. Since it is in the nature of insurance appraisers to regularly travel to clients’ sites, computers should be handy for more accessible mobile work. Essential computer skills include Microsoft Office programs, especially Ms Word and Excel, and dexterity in auto insurance appraisal software.
Step 2 – Start Your Auto Training
Having talked about learning a skill, let us look at what auto damage appraisers do, how the jobs come, and ways to achieve these training.
Most of your jobs will likely come from independent auto appraisal companies. These companies serve as appurtenant agencies that source for independent appraisers to take care of claims for different insurance companies. As earlier mentioned, these companies are looking for Skillful appraisers with experience. However, there may be hope for you as there are still ways to break into the industry.
Means of Getting Experience
There are a few varieties of ways you can acquire the experience and skill on how to become an auto insurance appraiser so you can be eligible for work asides having years of experience working as an appraiser.
- Working in Auto Body Shops: You may have to start as a voluntary worker or clean the stores and work your way up the ladder in a repair shop. You can learn to estimate auto body damage and the auto damage repair process.
- Attending certain Classes: Taking classes while learning how to become an auto insurance appraiser helps as well. Such classes are called boot camps (the aim is to put you up to speed in a short period quickly). These classes usually last three to four days to get first-hand job training on inspecting a vehicle and preparing an auto damage estimate report.
- Virtual Training: With the constant development of technology, this option is becoming a trend not just in the insurance industry but in the world. These virtual classes may make it easier to become an independent auto adjuster and auto insurance appraiser. This option is ideal for people who are still working other jobs, have tight schedules, or cannot afford to make a trip to a distant place for training.
Regardless of how you acquired your job training, there are four salient things you need to learn. These are the principal means to your future career as an auto insurance appraiser and the entire reason for taking a training course.
- Apt knowledge of the parts of a vehicle
- Taking appropriate images
- Pinpointing damage
- Writing or reporting an estimate
Hence you have made up your mind about acquiring knowledge on how to become an auto insurance appraiser, the next step will be to obtain a license.
Step 3: Become Professionally Licensed
Different states have different licensing requirements for how to become an auto insurance appraiser. Some states may ask for pre-licensing skills or education while other states request the individual to write and pass a licensing exam. This process is a major step in your new career. You may make payment when the license is first issued, as well as when you want to renew. States with licensing requirements to work as an auto insurance appraiser may also require additional educational credits towards license renewal. Check if you need appraisers or adjuster’s license to do auto damage inspections in your state.
You can start by reaching your state’s insurance commission office and asking if a license is required for auto damage inspection, calculating the value of a vehicle, and writing an estimate. You may be required to take a test in some states, while other states are just applications and a fee.
Maintain an impeccable driving record: Having a driver’s license and maintaining a good driving record are frequently required as a precondition for employment. This is very important for your career on how to become an auto insurance appraiser. Since many auto insurance appraisers must travel to the automobile accident site or automotive body shops, some insurance agencies also provide company vehicles for auto appraisers to use during work hours to travel to client sites. These insurance companies would not want their car to be messed up.
Step 4: Choosing Your Career Path: Independent or Staff Appraiser
An auto insurance appraiser may decide to work exclusively with one insurance company or independently as an independent contractor. Those who choose to work as independent insurance claims appraisers may work with multiple insurance agencies.
Auto insurance appraisers are expected to acquire a degree or be certified, be licensed, and must choose between staying independent or joining an existing insurance firm.
Be familiar with changing laws and policies: After getting a license (if required), auto insurance appraisers must stay informed on new and dynamic state and federal laws. While learning how to become an auto insurance appraiser, it is also imperative to know how courts treat insurance claims. Many insurance companies organize seminars ensuring their workers’ familiarity with new regulations and laws. Appraisers may also procure continuing education through certain specified programs.
Step 5: Obtaining Employment
Contact the HR department of insurance companies to equip yourself with the information necessary to apply for a job as an auto insurance appraiser. Prepare your resume and include relevant trainings, certification, qualification, and license. Once you get your resume and cover letter ready, source for your insurance company of interest, check out their requirements, and apply.
Step 6 – Create Your Business Entity
You will follow this step if you have made up your mind to work as an independent appraiser. If you want to get straight to work without going through the hassles of looking for a job, setting up a Limited Liability Company is the best way to get you started. Many online companies can assist you in processing your LLC quickly. You can Google it by typing in “file an LLC in [a province of your choice]” (For example, “file an LLC in Alberta.”).
While working on how to become an auto insurance appraiser independently, you will need to establish your Limited Liability Company, you will need your EIN (Employer Identification Number), business name, and some details about your business.
You may also seek the option of incorporating as a corporation. It would be best if you speak with an accountant.
Step 7 – Set up a Business Bank Account
At this point in your journey on how to become an auto insurance appraiser, you have already obtained your EIN and your LLC. You can now legally open up a bank account for your business. You can open your account in the bank in your vicinity.
This process is imperative because you need to set-out your business earnings from your personal finances for tax payment purposes.
IMPORTANT NOTE; At the beginning of the process on how to become an auto insurance appraiser, do not make the mistake of receiving business earnings directly into your personal bank account! Your business account must be distinct from the account you already use for family and personal spendings. You are a distinct entity from your company. Without a particular account being used strictly for your business, you will encounter many financial mixups.
Step 8 – Obtaining Adequate Insurance
Inform your insurance company that you will be using your vehicle for doing some subcontracting jobs, so you need to increase your limits. Find out what is standard and raise your limits.
Also, obtaining Errors and Omissions insurance is highly advised because it covers you if you commit an error, and someone sues you for that error. This is vital if you are undergoing the process on how to become an auto insurance appraiser.
Errors and Omissions cover professional advice, service providers, and companies from handling the full cost of defending against a negligence claim made by a client and damages(if any) awarded in such a lawsuit. Contact your insurance agent to know more about errors and omissions insurance.
Step 9: Milestone – Ready for Business!
Bravo! You are now ready for your business on ! You’re done with most of the processes you need on how to become an auto insurance appraiser to be fully established. Now that you are now officially set for business, you may not have clients running to you for jobs. That is why you will need to promote your business in the following steps:
Get Software Training: If you are going on a journey on how to become an auto insurance appraiser, you may want to equip yourself with virtual training so as to be up to speed with trends instead of operating offline alone.
Set Up Your LinkedIn Profile: Even though this is not compulsory, you may want to try it out since linked in is a social media for professionals. The application is already a resume tool and a perfect means of business networking. Ensure you set up your profile using the right standards to avoid having a bad profile.
Create Your Resumé: If you have done it accurately through LinkedIn, this step would be easier for you in your journey on how to become an auto insurance appraiser. Most companies still want the regular resume so ensure you have it handy.
Purchase Software necessary for your job. As mentioned earlier, if you are working on how to become an auto insurance appraiser, you don’t want to stay out of jobs because you do not have necessary online presence.
Milestone: Get Your First Claim!
Are You Interested in Becoming an Auto Insurance Adjuster?
An auto insurance adjuster is a necessary connection between an insurance company and a policyholder who has suffered an auto crash. An auto insurance adjuster would investigate and analyze evidence to determine how much the company ought to pay. An insurance adjuster uses analyses, communications, maths, and interpersonal skills to assist others during a devastating period. Delving into this career path requires experience, licensing, and decisions about which type of employment you want.
Perks of the Job
In general, adjusters:
- examine the causes and origin of an insurance claim
- ascertain whether the incident that resulted in the claim is covered on the insured person’s policy
- acquire evidence that there has been a loss covered by the insurance company.
When insurance claims are submitted, adjusters:
- decide whether the insured person’s claim is valid by ascertaining, for instance, who is liable for the accident
- secure proof that the amount being claimed is adequate
- advise the persons involved
- negotiate claims settlements.
Deciding and documenting the validity of a claim often involves interviewing or corresponding with policyholders, claimants or witnesses. It also involves obtaining statements and copies of documents from police officers, medical personnel and others with specialized expertise.
Equip Yourself with Knowledge about Vehicle and Damage Costs
Knowing about the laws regulating the use of the road and the anatomy of a vehicle is imperative to assess the damage. Taking courses in auto body evaluation and auto mechanic training is a sure way to make sure your judgement is precise when settling damages with a tremendous amount of money.
If you have a skill as an automobile technician, you could be eligible for an auto insurance adjuster job. The better your proficiency in the field of automotive, the better shot you have at being hired. It is also important to have good communication skills and diplomacy when it comes to resolving conflicts. Insurance claims are not always easily settled, but your job as claims adjuster is to assist a client in receiving an adequate amount of claim for their damage.
Steps on Becoming an Insurance Adjuster
The steps here are similar to that of an insurance appraiser with slight differences.
Insurance adjusters require a blend of similar education and experience. A high school diploma GED is the minimum that is expected for one to be hired. Also, gain lots of experience by partaking in some vocational schools and community colleges that offer courses to learn more about auto body repair.
People in the insurance sector usually receive training provided by the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC courses). The IIC offers two designation programs: Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) and Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP). IIC courses are available in person, online and through distance education by assigned post-secondary schools.
This advanced training can give you an edge over other candidates for entry-level occupation as a high school graduate.
Choose Whether to Become a Staff Adjuster or an Independent Adjuster.
You can decide if you want to be a Staff adjuster where you will be employed full-time at insurance companies. On the other hand, you can choose to be an independent adjuster who works for one or various insurance companies. Your decision about your future employment will determine your daily schedule and flexibility as an auto insurance adjuster.
Find a Coach.
Find an experienced auto insurance adjuster and work under them as an apprentice to learn the business. Under their tutorship, you can start with minor claims and progress to complex claims as you acquire experience and prepare to work independently.
Getting a License
Find Out Licensing Requirements for the Province Where You Want to Work.
Every province has its requirements for licensing. You can check out the information that applies to your province here. This information will include the following info:
- residency requirements
- minimum age
- states with reciprocal licensing agreements
- experience requirements
- education requirement
Take the Licensing Exam.
Not every state requires an exam for a license. The states that do provide study materials on their insurance website and the necessary information needed to prepare for the exam. You may be required to pay a fee to sit for the exam. The exam will cover questions on such topics as:
- fair claims settlement practices
- state laws relevant to working as an adjuster
- personal automobile insurance coverage
- adjusting losses
After succeeding in your exams, you may need to follow some steps to complete the adjusters license application process. You can do some research to find out what precisely applies to your province.
Contact Insurance Companies For Employment
Contact the websites and HR departments of adjusting companies to provide information about available staff and independent contractor adjuster positions.
Write Your Resume and Cover Letter to the Adjusting Companies
Write your resume and cover letter, including information about your relevant education, experience, training, and licensing. Etc.
Apply for Staff Adjusters Occupation.
Hence you find your occupation of interest with a company you would want to work for, find out their requirements to ensure you fulfill them, and then put in your resume and cover letter.
Brand Yourself If You Have Chosen to Be an Independent Insurance Adjuster.
You will need to display your experience and skills as you present your services to multiple insurance companies.
You could plan to:
- Set up a website that will showcase your skill, license and experience. Include every detail that will put you out as a professional independent auto insurance adjuster.
- Design a logo and symbol that makes you and your services notable and striking among other independent adjusters.
- Provide marketing materials like business cards, books and stationery.
- Establish a brand vision and mission, and then work on delivering your promise. This will build your reputation and attract more clients and insurance companies.
FAQs on How to Become an Auto Insurance Appraiser
You Are Ready!
You are set to start your career journey on how to become an auto insurance appraiser! Do not overwhelm yourself, rather take it one step at a time, do not forget the basic steps;
- Acquire your entry level qualification/ high school diploma
- Get trained on necessary courses
- Choose a career path
- Apply in insurance companies if that is your choice
- Establish your business
- Promote your business
- Have online presence
How to become an auto insurance appraiser may not be a walk in the park but it is feasible. Best of luck in your journey!
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You can as well check out our article on how much auto insurance coverage is enough.