In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. In particular, the ACS data is reported for the larger career group claims adjusters and insurance appraisers, which combines the data for 2 careers, including claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.
The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?
Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.
With 60% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 76% of careers.
As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%, and the difference for claims adjusters and insurance appraisers tops that, with the median salary for men 25% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.
Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Claims adjusters and insurance appraisers have one of the higher percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job even higher than that for 71% of other jobs.
The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority claims adjusters and insurance appraisers than for 68% of other careers. While this career employs many minorities, it employs a relatively small number of foreign-born people.
For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as claims adjusters and insurance appraisers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for claims adjusters and insurance appraisers.
A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for a person to work as an entry-level claims adjuster or examiner. However, employers sometimes prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor’s degree or some insurance-related work experience.
For investigator jobs, a high school diploma or equivalent is the typical education requirement. Some insurance companies prefer to hire people trained as law enforcement officers or private investigators, because these workers have good interviewing and interrogation skills.
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. 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.
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.
What level of education is truly needed for claims adjusters and insurance appraisers? Below we see the distribution of claims adjusters and insurance appraisers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as claims adjusters and insurance appraisers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.
This table shows the college majors held by people working as claims adjusters and insurance appraisers. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.
If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!
With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as claims adjusters and insurance appraisers, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by claims adjusters and insurance appraisers given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.
What jobs will most claims adjusters and insurance appraisers hold next year?
The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.
Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of claims adjusters and insurance appraisers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?
A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 5 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as claims adjusters and insurance appraisers as well as 1% of respondents after working as claims adjusters and insurance appraisers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.
What do people typically do before and after they work as claims adjusters and insurance appraisers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of claims adjusters and insurance appraisers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators typically do the following:
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 in order 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 or personal injury claims 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 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.
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.
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 suspicious based on injuries stated in the claim.
Can you see yourself in the ranks of claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
In 2018, the median (middle) salary for claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators was higher than 74% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.
Currently, jobs for claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators are anticipated to shrink by 1%. over the next decade; 80% of jobs are projected to grow more.
The projected employment for claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Which states hire the most claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.
One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all claims adjusters and insurance appraisers, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all claims adjusters and insurance appraisers, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.
If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Claims adjusters and insurance appraisers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)
There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide: